Oikos: Household

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.-1 Peter 2:5 (NIV)


Your house, my house, the house of God.  We say, "in the house", to mean dwell.  Before the church, the Bible's writers referred to the temple as God's house (Isaiah 2:3).  Even Jesus used that language, referring to the temple (Matt. 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46).

After Jesus rose from the dead and the day of Pentecost,  when the church was born, a shift took place.  The house of God, or the dwelling place of God was no longer the temple in Jerusalem, but was now the people who are in Christ.

Rather than being a fixed place, location, or house; the dwelling place of God was and is now super-portable.  The people of God are now the house or temple of God.  We no longer go to a place where God dwells, but God dwells with each one of us, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When the church gathers or comes together or congregates, all these mini-dwelling places come together.  Instead of being like concrete or hard walls, Christians are a building that is continually changing shape, to fit together with each other and God: living stones.

A household is not a business.  A household is a dwelling, a dwelling place; a refuge, a sanctuary.  You are that and you all together are that.  The church is a portable dwelling place.  We know that the church is also a family and a body.

We are brothers and sisters, in the household of God.  We have elders, people who are older and wiser.  We have mamas and papas, but we are all children of God.

Bodies need healing and houses need repairs

Bodies and families and houses can also have problems or get broken.  The body is repaired organically.  Families may need talk therapy.  Therapy does not mean psychology, but healing.  Houses may need repairs.

The help for all the problems that the household of God might have, comes from the Holy Spirit.  That is the living stones part.  The church is the family of God, the body of Christ, and the household of God.  It's not just a club that serves, like the Rotary club or Kiwanis.  Nor is it only a group of people that gathers like congress to debate, legislate, and decree.  It is that, but a lot more.

The church, the household of God, is all these things, and works like a family, like a body.  But the church is not a business.  God could easily have said that the church is like a factory or a franchise or a store or a payroll; but he did not.  We added that and changed everything.

The church is not a business, as a body and family is not a business

When we see the church as a business, rather than a body or a family, we've walked away from the blueprint.  Staff, bosses, firing, and political maneuvering; to give a few examples, are not things that happen naturally, organically, functionally, and healthily in a family or body.

This is what Dave Black wrote in response to a post called ransom note ecclesiology, wherein Alan Knox posited that the church cuts and pastes pieces of scripture together to get things that are not there, such as ideas like 'the church is a business':
We are going to have to give up one of the greatest myths of Christendom -- that the church is a business. If we want true restoration, we must be willing to give up all professional ministries. The church would again become an oikos, the household of God, a family in which everyone had a job and was a real minister of the Gospel. The New Testament is clear that ordained professionals did not exist in the early church. I take seriously the awful drain on the church's energy because of all the institutional baggage we carry around with us. We must learn to mobilize lay elders in every church. As long as we have salaried professionals some faction of the congregation will always find the pastor's (i.e., their employee's) theology, personality, social views, family, wife, etc. unacceptable. The minister is no longer a brother or even a person. I talk to more and more clergymen for whom the professional ministry is becoming an impossible burden. The reason for this is that our Lord never entrusted leadership to one man, let alone to a "professional." What can we do, then, to hasten the demise of clericalism? (Notice I did not say hasten the demise of elders or pastors or overseers!) Return to the lay-based church of the New Testament. Remove our clerical robes. Stop trying to be the people's burden-bearer and priest. Divest ourselves of our professional illusions. Rediscover what it means to witness to our Servant Lord in the midst of the world. Let our seminaries move beyond the theoretical study of the church and put into practice the training of the laos ("laity") for ministry. These may be but first steps in the search for the biblical church, but the search can and must begin.
The oikos, is where everyone has a job and is a real minister.  In a family, we have face time and work out differences.  We don't fire people and we only ask people to leave if, unless their behavior is destructive.  When people want to move out or move on in their journey, we bless them as they leave.