Relationships are built on trust (eco-friendly). In the animal world you don’t see lions playing with lambs or snakes playing with rats. There are no friendly relations between predators and prey. It’s a dog eat dog world for the animal kingdom. The same goes for our human relationships. If a person feels threatened, they will retreat and not associate with those certain individuals. Trust is hard to come by these days. The older we get it seems the less we trust. Yes, it’s a dog eat dog world for humans as well.
Churches are built on relationships. As mentioned in last week’s post on relationships, there are four types. You see these four types in the church. Acquaintances, casual friend, close friend and best friend. The size of the church and its “eco-system” (or oikos-system) will greatly impact relationships. Mega churches are filled with acquaintances. That’s why they try to incorporate small groups for people to get to know one another. I once visited a mega church in California. The church had a corporate worship in a huge auditorium then they broke into small groups, or should I say, “smaller” groups. Their small groups were made up of 10 groups of 300 people each (yes, they had 10 huge classrooms and more on their campus). Within that group of 300 they had 30 round tables that sat 10 people each. The “round table” was the small group setting where people could get to know one another. Small groups are the typical design for building relationships within the church. That’s a great structure the problem is you need 100 acres, a $100M facility and a $5M budget to host this style of gatherings. That’s a lot of work and money to create oikos.
That’s where house churches come in. For one, we have built-in relationships when we create church in the home. Then add surrounding neighbors, friends and family and you have an instant oikos. These are people who know each other, are around each other and associate with one another quite regularly. Secondly, there is no overhead cost. Thirdly, you can start one today. You don’t need a massive facility, acreage or budget. All you need to start a gathering is the Holy Spirit. And you have that right? There you go. I’m just trying to throw out the vision here. How did Jesus start His church? He called 12 guys, taught them then sent them out. It grew to 72 then He sent them out. At the beginning of Acts, they had 120 then at Peter’s first message on the day of Pentecost 3000. By Acts 5, they had 5000+. The church was persecuted from day one and started as a grass roots, underground, organic movement and it worked! Fast forward to 300 AD when the Roman emperor Constantine was saved, and Christianity became the main religion. All of a sudden Christians were given buildings, privileges and prestige. Everyone wanted to be a Christian. But now the oikos (relational connections) was lost. We have followed this pattern of “church” ever since.
Let’s remember, church has nothing to do with buildings, budgets or butts. Its all about relationship. How have you been connecting with your church group and those in your sphere of influence? God has given everyone a unique oikos. Are you eco-friendly?