Last updated: Sept 2022
Lili and I have considered ourselves part of a ministry called Oikos for most of the last decade. The name comes from the New Testament Greek word which basically means ‘extended family’ or ‘household’ of the people of God (see Rom 16:3-5 & 1 Cor 16:19 for examples of its use).
No, we did not name ourselves after our appreciation for Greek yogurt.
Our passion is in pouring ourselves into disciples and teaching them to do the same (please visit my post Information, Imitation, and Innovation in Discipleship for way more detail), and create and foster a disciple-making culture where our disciples can also make disciples, and multiply the Kingdom of God because it’s naturally a part of their own DNA from being a part of our community.
For the last few years Lili has been discipling and mentoring a small group of ladies we’ve met through me taking our oldest daughter to a park every day and meeting other parents, as well as the other moms in her nursery and then her school. At the time of writing (or updating this page in a post-pandemic lockdown culture), Lili has led several of these women to Christ and discipled them and we’ve seen them become involved in the ministry here as well.
Discipleship is not something only pastors do, but people can be a huge impact on their friends, family, and neighbors. This is the approach we’re taking: inviting our neighbors into our lives, whether they already know Jesus or not.
Note: since the word “missional” can mean all sorts of things to different people who hear that word, please check out this podcast discussion with our leader Mark Burgess from late 2012 called “What is Missional Community?” [Or download it for later. Don’t let it’s old date sway you, much of it is still relevant to the ministry now.]
Discipleship & Ministry Training
Separate but interconnected to this, my main focus for most of our time has been as one of the teachers in the Oikos Escuela de Ministracion (Oikos School of Ministry). In our first year we started with 6 students, three of whom came from the jungle of Pucallpa, where Oikos also has a network of fellowships who share our DNA. By 2019 we saw our first church planted by a couple who were in that pioneer class, who’ve since been spreading their ministry like wildfire there.
With our two years of ministry school, we averaged about ten students each year until discontinuing it when the pandemic essentially forced us to (Zoom calls were not an option for most of our disciples and students, anyway).
Working closely alongside Mark and another Peruvian leader, I was heavily involved in teaching many of the classes in both first and second years.
Since much of our sustenance comes from tentmaking, allow me to detour for a moment to explain online business plays a part of our ministry.
Unforeseen circumstances in late 2017 and an unanticipated personal crisis caused Lili and me to prayerfully re-evaluate our priorities with regard to ministry and our finances, particularly the blending of fund-raising and tentmaking (freelance working) that I had already been doing for years prior. We had come head-first with the realization that our work and the pace we were attempting to fund it was just not sustainable, and simply put, neither one of us felt like returning (or moving) to North America for an extended period to attempt to raise significantly more support. The idea of taking a year off and itinerating to finance our vision for our part of Peru would have been soul-sucking.
When praying about it and discussing it with our leaders, both back in North America and with Mark and Anna Burgess here in Peru, it emerged as an obvious ‘given’ that I was better off transitioning to working more online and generating income. At this time, we still “raised more support”, but to invest in a coaching program in order to help me launch and structure my own business offering my high-ticket service as an author coach and ghostwriter, helping Christian entrepreneurs write and launch their book, and where applicable, finish writing it.
I’ve since been offering my writing services helping coaches, entrepreneurs, consultants, other itinerant speakers and Christian experts who wants to use their own book as a business card that helps open other doors for them, such as credibility, expert status, and speaking engagements.
The purpose of this business is to finance our vision and work on the ground here in Peru, so that from now on I’ll never have to say “no” to anything the Lord mandates for us to do because we lack the finances. But we also still receive direct support for ministry related purposes.
Lili has a gift and a passion for teaching children and ministering to them. She oversaw the Iglesia Oikos Sunday school and children’s ministry and has come up with a lot of the lessons and plans that others have used in that and other children’s meetings during the week, as well as translating from English to Spanish many of the lessons other team members have used.
In 2022, Lili started overseeing English tutoring in Casa de Paz, which is a drop-in center in a Shantytown called Pacifico, nearby where we live and our church is based. Then in 2023 she became the director of our branch in Los Cedros, based out of our church headquarters. Every afternoon from Tuesday to Friday, she helps middle school students from the area with their English homework, games and a time of Bible stories and lessons.
Hopefully, this gives you at least an idea of what we are doing down here for the time being!
While I am “tentmaking” and writing, we still believe in the value of partnership and the accountability that comes from being a part of a team that prays for us and our ministry. If you’d like to know more about how you can partner with us directly with finances to be used in ministry, please visit this link or view the appropriate tabs at the top of this site.