What is “oikos”? Oikos is a Greek word that means “household” and includes all members of a household whether they were related or not. Anyone who lived under the same roof in biblical times was considered a part of the household, slave or free. Even today, many members of a family live under the same roof; cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and immediate family all live together as one family.
The Bible speaks of whole households being saved at one time, or just after a member came to Christ and spread the joy he felt to those of his family. The Apostle Peter was led by the Holy Spirit to go to the household of Cornelius, a gentile, and tell Cornelius’ family about the coming of the Messiah, and the family was saved in their entirety. In biblical times, many came to Christ not only by way of family, but by way of strangers and friends, as well. What about today? Is it still the same today as it was during and after the time of Christ?
After conducting a survey among members of my church, I found out that people are told about Jesus from many avenues. Not everyone I spoke to was brought to Jesus by way of a family member, though most of them were. Forty percent of those asked were brought to Christ through a member of their family, some after many years of hearing and seeing the Gospel through a particular family member. All the other responses included a youth really, a little league baseball player, a stranger, a friend, Sunday school teachings, and from reading the Bible in 8th grade and asking kids at church about the four spiritual laws.
These survey results I gathered do concur with the Arn’s results in that a good portion of those I surveyed found salvation after speaking with a family member or relative. The joy they saw in their family member helped them to see that Jesus was real, and through the telling of the Gospel, Jesus became real enough to desire a relationship with Him. In my case, it took a couple of years after salvation for my son to come to Christ in our car sitting at the mall one day. My daughter came to Christ through my telling her the Gospel over time and her coming to Christ was finalized through a friend at work. My deceased younger sister accepted Jesus at an Alpha dinner ten years after I began telling her about Jesus Christ.
I would think that the best person to evangelize a family member is another member of the family. Your family has seen you every day in every way – your attitudes, your temper, how you handle yourself in difficult circumstance, and how you respond to life in general. If you are someone who gets angry at every little thing, then suddenly nothing seems to bother you, and if you had just given your life to Jesus, your family will see the change in you and want to know how you did it. Even if you never say a word, your family will see a difference in you that they had never seen before and will be amazed that you have changed. Our families know us best and can see any subtle change in our behavior and, prayerfully, may want to know the One who changed you.
Making disciples can happen in many ways, as shown above from the results of the survey conducted at my church. Today, the ways to spread the Gospel to as many people as possible is as infinite as the websites on the Internet. No longer must salvation always come through a family member or household, though it is still the best way to evangelize. Now it can come through just about anyone you meet who knows Jesus, whether online or off. Still, face to face is the best way to show Jesus to others. Family members may be the toughest audience to preach to, but time has shown that it is still the best way to being your family to Christ.
Arn, W., Arn, C. (1982, 1998). The master’s plan for making disciples (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids,Mi: Baker Books.