I’ve suggested on this blog (many, many times) that the Greek term ekklesia (which has been translated “church”) refers to a gathering of people (or “assembly”). This means that God’s ekklesia (God’s church) is an assembly of people who belong to him – that is, a gathering of people who are disciples of Jesus Christ.
I’m not suggesting anything that hasn’t been written countless times in books, articles, and posts at other blogs: “ekklesia” refers to an assembly of people. Therefore, “God’s ekklesia” refers to an assembly of God’s people.
(By the way, I’ll use “ekklesia (church) of God” and “ekklesia (church) of Christ” interchangeably, because both phrases are used in Scripture. I use those phrases to designate God’s people gathered together from other assemblies of people. I do not use them to refer to any particular denomination or organization, even if some denomination/organization might use the same phrase to refer to itself.)
What would happen – what difference would it make – if we truly lived and acted as if God’s people gathered together was ekklesia (church)?
… a group of Jesus’ disciples gathered in a home or cafe would be ekklesia, but so would a group gathered in a designate building with a steeple.
… a group of God’s children who do not have recognized leadership would be church, but so would a group that has a hierarchy of leadership.
… a group of believers who meet irregularly would be ekklesia, but so would a group that had regularly scheduled meetings.
… a group of disciples who meet without any activities planned or scheduled would be church, but so would a group that followed a set plan – even a lectionary.
… a group of Jesus’ followers who are eating together would be ekklesia, but so would a group that was singing hymns and listening to a sermon.
Of course, I could go on and on. And, I purposely began with the descriptions that are often used among those who prefer to gather in ways that are more organic/simple/relational/etc. But, I could have swapped the left and right side of the statements above.
We are ekklesia (church) when we are gathered together with other brothers and sisters in Christ.
(Of course, this does NOT mean that every way of living, leading, gathering, etc. together are as beneficial as others. However, THAT is a different point.)
So, I ask again… What would happen – what difference would it make – if we truly lived and acted as if God’s people gathered together was ekklesia (church)?