Oikos System of African-American Small Groups

Oikos System of African-American Small Groups

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In his book, The Bridges of God, Donald McGavran, the father of the church growth movement, discusses his experiences as a Christian missionary to India where he observed how churches grow. McGavran developed his methodology for church growth and established a home base for church growth on the campus of Fuller Theological Seminary. McGavran, through his research, took an extended approach to church growth beyond theology and applied sociology in his church growth models; his research results and theories have now spread throughout the world.  The basis of church growth is Kingdom discipleship, and there is no better approach to accomplishing calculated and manageable growth than through small groups – groups that are designed to connect with people where they are and take them to where God is calling them.  

The Oikos System of African-American Small Groups is based upon the Messianic model of Jesus and the early church. Jesus, who knew the entire mind and will of God, primarily invested His life and teachings into the 12, who would then continue the cycle. The early church grew exponentially through small groups, from house-to-house. The term oikos is the Greek word for “house” and represents small group ministry for house-to-house. Research clearly demonstrates, along with culture, that African-Americans are a very communal people who operate from the extended family model, which positions the African-American community for effective small groups. However, while small groups were effective in the life of Jesus, the early church and the foundation of John Wesley and his class meetings through the Methodist Church Movement, the African-American community has not capitalized from this sound biblical model of church growth and discipleship. Yet, the Asian Christian, South American Christian, and the European Christian cultures have benefited tremendously from small groups or cell group ministries.  

The Oikos System of African-American Small Groups is a relevant and cultural approach to small groups from an African-American perspective. Historically, small groups have not worked for African-Americans in the past. Why? Small groups did work in slavery in the bush meetings, but they were more organic due to the times rather than intentional structures of growth. However, in our contemporary society, it could be that housing for African-Americans was not really conducive for the meetings, and subconsciously, there was negativity associated with small gatherings. And then of course, one of the biggest reasons could have been that the research and formation of the groups, while being built upon sociological principles, were from a white middle class perspective that did not connect to African-Americans.  


The Oikos System of African-American Small Groups will provide:

  • A small group study guide
  • A systems manual to the Oikos System of African-American Small Groups
  • A step-by-step process of formulating and implementing the Oikos System of African-American Small Groups
  • Seven (7) approaches to developing disciples in a small group setting
  • Instructions on how to create a new culture of small groups in your church that will prove to increase your church growth and discipleship
  • Tools to structure and manage a growing small group system
  • An understanding of the three-phase rabbinic process of Jesus’ discipleship-making through small groups
  • Biblical support in order to encourage your ministry to embrace this approach to church growth
  • A three-tiered management system of church growth to ensure the effectiveness and proper functionality of your small groups that guards against church splits
  • And much, much more!

Small groups are the biblical model for church growth, and churches have been growing exponentially all over the world through using small groups/cell groups.  African-American churches have benefited least from this biblical model due to a multiplicity of reasons, but now it’s your time to understand how to use this cutting-edge technology as a tool and resource for the growth of your members and discipleship building.


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