Conversion is more directly related to relational influences on an individual than any other factor.

This entry is part 45 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

Human societies are actually living social networks of relationships where each person is linked by diverse forms of kinship. A gospel that spreads along human kinship networks will eventually unite people across all ethnic and socioeconomic barriers. Jesus, John Wesley and third world cell churches evangelize along these existing human networks. Win Arn and Ralph Neighbor call this an oikos approach, using the New Testament Greek word (οικος) referring to a person’s “sphere of influence, his/her social system composed of those related to each other through common kinship ties, tasks, and territory.”[1] Conversion is more directly related to relational influences on an individual  than any other factor.[2]





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Ralph W. Neighbor, Jr., as quoted in Win Arn, Master’s Plan for Making Disciples, 37. The oikos approach is the theme of the entire book. Cf. Neighbor, Where Do We Go, 133-140.

[2]Rodney Stark, Cities of God: The Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban Movement and Conquered Rome (New York: HarperCollins, 2006), 7-13. Cf. Rodney Stark and Roger Finke, Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 114-138.

Series Navigation<< the smaller the target group in a diverse society, the fewer the barriers to kinshipFourth Systemic Problem: Stranger Evangelism >>
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