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6 Principles for building an Extended Family

December 12, 2011

In my last two posts I’ve tried to make the case why I think extended family (oikos in Greek) is crucial to understanding how God created the church to exist and function and began to explore what might need to start happening in our staff teams and laity if that’s to happen. We’ll do more posts like that in the near future.

Today, I want to pause in that discussion and give some practical handles on how to begin doing this in your context. I promise, this will be short and sweet.

It should also be noted that I didn’t come up with these 6 principles, my good friend Kheld Dahlmann is entirely responsible for these. So here are some principles for creating an oikos:

  1. Shared vision (What do we exist for? In other words, in what way is this community going to bring heaven to earth?)
  2. Shared resources
  3. Extended family (= more than a nuclear family, we’d say a minimum of 15-20 people, max of 50)
  4. Mom/Dad (leaders in “fathering” mode)
  5. Prayer
  6. Common meal

We show this video a fair amount at the Learning Communities that we do, but this is a window into the hunger that our culture has for these kinds of family expressions. It’s a short advert done by Walmart and Coke that one of the current team members in Pawleys led out two years ago with the advertising agency she was with.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2011 3:18 pm

    Mike. Another winner. Wow! This is so helpful & practical. God help HIS Church get there!

  2. Vicki permalink
    December 13, 2011 5:31 pm

    Love your post and thoughts on this. Yet I’m not quite sure I get what you mean by “leaders in fathering mode”. As a woman and leader, I feel that I am uniquely called to bring myself as a woman to leadership. To feel that as a woman I needed to lead in a fathering way is disconcerting? Can you explain more of what you mean?

    • December 13, 2011 5:56 pm

      It’s not really meant to be a gender-specific comment. More of a comment that each extended family needs a parent-figure who’s leading and nurturing and discipling by giving their own life as something worth imitating as they are following Jesus.

      • Vicki permalink
        December 13, 2011 6:01 pm

        Hmmm…what you describe sounds more like “pastoring” to me. Less gender specific. More rich with meaning. We seem to shy away from that term but it’s becoming more appealing to me as a leader. I think it’s what we all long for.

        Thanks for your response.

  3. December 16, 2011 7:11 pm

    Mike, your last few posts on creating the gathering of the extended family as the primary vehicle for missional engagement have been spot on helpful. At Seacoast there is a traction taking place that is massive and these informing yet practical posts will only help move us along. Thanks.

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