Almost all of the Christian schools which already exist in Togo require students to live in the city where the school is located for a period of 2-4 years. Not only is this nearly impossible for subsistence farmers living in a village, but it also leads to many students desiring to remain in the city after their studies to find work or to pastor a large church, leaving a void in their home village where they once wanted to plant a church.
There are still 100s of unreached villages in northern Togo as well as many cities in need of Christ-centered churches. In order to reach these places, God has been raising up workers from within this harvest, but they lack training and opportunities to be equipped for this work.
The Solution: A Balance of Theory and Practice
It is the vision of the Oikos School to identify these laborers, then train and equip them to spread the gospel message within their local harvest. In following the pattern set by Jesus and the apostles, at the Oikos School we seek to educate through hands-on ministry experiences mixed with times of teaching and mentoring. Courses are taught in four-day intensive sessions each month for one year, allowing students to return to their city or village and immediately apply what they learn in the classroom. This schedule also allows opportunities for the teacher/mentors to visit the students in their own villages on a regular basis to provide coaching, advice, encouragement, and discipleship as the student seeks to lead Bible studies, make disciples, and plant churches.
The school is located in the city of Kara in northern Togo, West Africa. The school was started in 2015 among the Lamba people, but has grown to reach many other people groups of northern Togo.
The Oikos School was founded by two expat missionary couples and two Togolese missionaries: Andrew and Julia Stoff from Brisbane, Australia; Jesse and Tiffany Shanks from Vancouver, WA, USA; Tchéou Essodom from Kanté, Togo; and Daré Ayindo from Siou, Togo. The Shanks and Stoffs have lived in Togo since 2009 and 2010 respectively, and have been working together among the Lamba and neighboring people groups since 2012.
Jesus has given his church the mission of making disciples who follow after him, walk in obedience to his teachings, bear God's image in the world, and reproduce other disciples. The church in Togo has done some of these things well while neglecting others. The Oikos School for Church Planting was born out of a desire to see the church in Togo expand into unreached areas while developing and maintaining a biblical model of discipleship.