Every weekend in 2023, the cross hanging from Skyline Wesleyan Church’s auditorium ceiling shined brightly. The Skyline congregation knows that when the cross is lit, another person had come to know Jesus through the church’s ministry or its people that week. Over 4,000 salvations — approximately 3,000 first time and 1,000 recommitments to Christ — and 660 baptisms were celebrated in 2023!

The number of salvations reflects Skyline’s very intentional approach of equipping everyone in the congregation to share Jesus with their friends and neighbors.

Reverend Dr. Jeremy McGarity, lead pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California, describes their hyper-focus on salvations: “We emphasize what Jesus emphasized, which was seeking the lost.” At Skyline, the “oikos” strategy has been implemented. Dr. McGarity and his team encourage and equip their congregation to seek out and bring new people into their oikos — personal relational network.

Instructed to develop a list of 8-15 people in their relational network who do not yet know Jesus, the Skyline congregation invests in those people, developing authentic relationships and praying regularly for them. In time, these nurtured relationships result in more effective invitations to attend church and more people exposed to the gospel message.

The oikos concept is lived out very personally by Dr. McGarity. Realizing he was getting stuck in a rut of only knowing Christians, he determined to expand his oikos by joining an adult men’s baseball league. Over the last year, he has developed relationships with his team, who have begun to open up about their lives. “If I’m not modeling it, and being intentional with lost people, how can I expect our people to do it?” said Dr. McGarity.

Beyond the oikos strategy, Skyline continually stresses the value of inviting people to church. They believe “an invite can change a life.” This conviction is reinforced and affirmed through video testimonies and stories shared in services and on social media. With each compelling testimony, the relational network connection that led to the personal invitation to Skyline is celebrated. Dr. McGarity states, “Just by inviting someone, it shows that you care, even if they say no. It shows that you don’t care about their past but that you care about them.”

In every service, the ABCs of salvation are given, modeling for the congregation how to have that conversation with someone in their oikos. This also helps alleviate the pressure many people face when evangelizing, which is to have answers to all the hard and difficult faith questions.

The consistency that the Skyline team has maintained in their church experience also gives people confidence in inviting their oikos connections — knowing what to expect and into what they are inviting their friends. Skyline accomplishes this consistent church experience through their membership process, intentionally training people to be warm and inviting, and to smile and welcome people.

In 2020, Dr. McGarity was led by the Lord to find a God-sized goal.  Through prayer and collaboration with his team, Skyline developed an Acts 1:8 vision which they call their 10/10/10 vision: 10 new church plants or satellites with 10,000 people attending those churches and all occurring within a 10-year timeframe. Once the 10/10/10 goal was set, campuses and church plants immediately started coming together and Skyline has already accomplished their goal of 10 new locations and are likely to eclipse their 10,000 people mark as soon as they can provide the space.

As they discussed how to best accomplish their 10/10/10 vision, Dr. McGarity always keeps at the forefront the mindset of starting right in their own Jerusalem: “We cannot say that we will go serve people across the world when we are not willing to serve and pray for the people next to us.”  The work they do in the here and near — their oikos — is then expanded to the hard and far.

The large, lighted cross is a visible reminder every weekend of the goal — developing oikos relationships, inviting them to church and multiplying the kingdom through the vision God has given us. Dr. McGarity estimates approximately 95% of their salvations were oikos people and disputes the notion that people do not want to come to Jesus or to church anymore. “When you offer the truth in a way that is given with grace, people realize and understand what Jesus has to truly offer.”

Reflecting on the harvest, Dr. McGarity confesses that Skyline desperately wants to reach their community for Jesus. “There is no Skyline credit, only kingdom credit. … We are about numbers because every number has a name, every name has a story and every story matters to God.”

For more on Skyline’s church planting vision, visit skylinechurch.org/church-plants or skylinechurch.org/about/10-10-10-vision.

Rev. Jacob Gibson is the senior pastor at LifeSpring Wesleyan Church, Richmond, Indiana, and graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and Wesley Seminary, Marion, Indiana.