Church attendance has been in decline for decades. Some describe it as being in freefall. If talking people into joining us for a weekend experience is our primary goal, then we suck at it.

Millennials take the rap for a lot of things. Some perhaps fairly, while other criticism is probably more reputation than reality. But one thing they’re really good at is recognizing authenticity. And when it comes to what weekends have become for many churches, they’ve collectively said, “That’s not my church.” So, it might be helpful to ask the next question. Is it even what Jesus had in mind for His Church?

Here’s some good news. Jesus didn’t challenge the world to come into our network of church buildings. He challenged His Church to go into a really lost world. And therein lies the good news. We’re already there!

You might wonder how can you make a difference in the world, especially when you feel like your reach isn’t big enough…but you’re asking the wrong question. Forget trying to reach a million people. If you start with that approach, to try to reach everyone, you’ll actually reach no one — at least not effectively.

We’ve overcomplicated the mission of the church. We’ve strayed from the purpose of the church by putting our focus on outward success metrics. You know, “Go big or go home!”

We’ve been taught to go big. But Jesus told us to go home!

Here’s the truth: There will always be churches with more famous leaders, bigger budgets, and attendees. So why are we trying to compare our success to that? We’re not them. Why are we trying to compete at all? God’s purpose isn’t something meant to be won.

Maybe it’s time to refocus.

So how do we make a difference? By resetting our focus on the oikos principle, the same principle Jesus himself designed and proved, time and time again.


oikos, n, extended household (Gr.)

    • The most natural environment for Church growth to occur. In fact, 95% of all believers come to Christ primarily because of the influence of someone in their oikos.


    • A group of 8 to 15 people with whom you share life most closely, your sphere of greatest influence.


    • The people for whom God wants to prepare you to become an ideal instrument of His grace.


Every believer’s primary responsibility is to effect change on the people you can most likely reach — your oikos.  No one else can fulfill His purpose in your world better than you can.


It’s a leader’s responsibility to equip those we lead to leverage this incredibly powerful principle, empower them to get into the game of world change themselves.

Need proof? Just take a closer look at the original example. Jesus poured his life and purpose into his 12 disciples. He prepared people to change their worlds by engaging their oikos. Or, as He put it, by going “home to their own people.”


The strategy Jesus chose to build His Church was never even remotely kept secret. He gave us the key to church growth before anyone ever wrote a book on evangelism or discipleship. The reason that Jesus modeled, taught and commissioned the oikos principle is simple. He built us for it.


When you focus on the people God has already placed right in front of you? That’s when real-world transformation happens — and the results are staggering!


Most Christians don’t realize they’re built to change the world, and most churches aren’t structured to help them figure that out.


Challenge your church, your world, and your oikos to let His mission become their mission.

Challenge your church, your world, and your oikos to let His mission become their mission.

“The oikos approach to congregational mission didn’t just change the vocabulary of our churches. It reawakened their mission heart and revitalized their mission practice.”

– Bert Downs, Former President, Western Seminary

“Tom has always been a huge encouragement and example for me in ministry, and I love seeing my calling through his lens of oikos. God’s plan to reach the world is the church, the church’s plan to accomplish that mission is the oikos principle.”

– Chris Brown, Teaching Pastor, North Coast Church, Vista, California

“Tom has once again written something that is biblical, practical, clear, and tremendously helpful, without ever coming across like a know-it-all. He shows us how effective ministry is actually simple and doable for every devoted believer. I just hope that a lot of people read this book and the gospel advances with greater impact because of it.”

– Erik Thoennes, Professor and Chair of Theology, Biola University

Tom has been in pastoral ministry for over 45 years. He received his formal education at Biola University and Talbot Seminary. For the past 35 years he has been the Senior Pastor and primary teacher at the High Desert Church in Southern California. During that time, the church has grown from 125 to over 14,000 regular attenders, from one campus to four. He is the author of the books, 8 to 15—The World is Smaller Than You Think and now Not My Church. Tom and his wife, Sheryl, have been married for 39 years. They have three married children and ten grandchildren.

As a faith leader, do you sometimes feel like you’re not reaching enough people? Do you worry that the size of your church is an indication of your ability to impact the culture?
You don’t need to, because creating real and effective change doesn’t mean you need the big stage to be successful. Real worldchange starts with the impact you have on your oikos, the people who are part of your world.
Read Not My Church with your leadership team, your influencers, even your entire church! Learn the strategy that can revolutionize your life, revitalize your church and reach your world for Jesus.