Parish Evangelisation Cells follow the 'Oikos' model of evangelisation.
WHAT DOES 'OIKOS' MEAN?
'Oikos' is a Greek word that means household or house of people. It has roots in the New Testament scripture, in particular the Acts of the Apsotles (Chapters 10 and 11) when Peter encounters Cornelius and his household (his Oikos).
HOW DOES OIKOS RELATE TO EVANGELISATION?
Our Oikos is the group of people we interact with on a regular basis and it includes our immediate family, friends, neighbours, co-workers. Our existing relationships with these people mean that we will be listened to more readily than we would by complete strangers when talking about life and faith matters.
The way that we live our lives and the witness to our faith that we demonstrate would be most closely observed by those whom we encounter regularly. Each of us as Christians has a unique mission to bring the light of Christ into these relationships with our oikos.
THE OIKOS IN A CELL CONTEXT
The primary agent of all evangelisation efforts is the Holy Spirit. Prayer for one's oikos is therefore of paramount importance. Cell members pray for their oikos daily, they pray for their various intentions and needs and for the opportunity to offer some kind of service or to speak a few words about Jesus that might spark the flame of faith in that person. Further acts of service or words of faith consolidated with regular prayer may help to "fan the flames" in those whose hearts are seeking or perhaps returning to a relationship with God. Your oikos may be quite large so sometimes it is helpful to focus your prayer on two or three specific people you think are open to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Each time the cell meets its members share briefly how they have tried to evangelise their oikos since the last meeting. This keeps the cell focused on its primary aim of missionary outreach and helps to encourage newer members who may lack confidence. Each meeting has a time of prayer for the members' oikos and intercessory prayers may be offered for the specific intentions of a member of one's oikos. The ultimate aim is to eventually invite someone from our oikos to attend a cell meeting and in this way the cells can grow and multiply over time and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
SEVEN STAGES OF OIKOS EVANGELISATION
We can summarise the process of cell-based oikos evangelisation in seven steps: