Monday 9 May 2011

Intentions of an Ecclesia

Full Dutch article / Uitvoerig Nederlands artikel: Intenties van de ecclesia

The Greek word for “church” is “ekklesia” which simply refers to those who were "called out" for an assembly or meeting. It was a non-religious word. It just referred to a group of people. In this case, the group of people who were followers of Jesus.

In several of our articles you shall be able to find that Church is not an organization, building, or meeting of any kind. In the real sense of the word it should be simply a group of people who follow Christ.
When Jesus said "I will build my church." it simply meant that he was going to form a called out group, or crowd, or fellowship, or assembly.

Language is something which changes in time, so naturally we do have tot follow it and take the word 'church' in the meanings how people look at it today. But we also have to show them that it means more then just one meaning they want to select.
It’s very helpful to define “church” clearly. We do have to make it clear it does not mean only the sort of building specially made for worship. We can also use the word fellowship, or gathering, or brethren, or saints, or disciples.

At the beginning of our Contemporary Time table (or Common Era = CE) Jesus gathered with his followers in the open nature and in synagogues. In the first century CE ther was no formal membership, just a love-commitment to God and each other that brought people gathering together.
The purpose of those who wanted to follow Jesus and became believers was to find same-minded people and to go with the message of the Hope which was given to them by Jesus Christ the Saviour. Sometimes apostles were present, many times not. Sometimes elders were present, many times not.
The church really is the followers of Jesus who engaged in gathering and going.

The disciples of Christ and their followers came together to experience God in their midst and that is what we still have to do today. They sit not back and wait for a pastor to preach them a sermon or for a music leader to sing them a song, or just for elders to pray. they came together to enjoy the presence of each other and to participate in an assembly to praise the Lord. they knew how Jesus went everywhere proclaiming and demonstrating the reality, love, and power of the Kingdom (healing the broken-hearted, setting captives free, proclaiming God’s acceptance, etc.) and were aware what sort of task their Master Teacher had given them.

Jesus took the Gospel to the streets and told everybody to go out in the world and to spread the Good News.

To be able to spread that news we do not stay 'binnenkamers' (or) inside the room. We have to bring the word outside. This means that church, first of all, needs to transition from being a “come and see” place to a “go and be with the lost” movement. We need to go where people are already hanging out and be prepared to have conversations with them about the great love of our lives.

A meeting for brothers and sisters in Christ can take place everywhere other people are. so you can come together in pubs, shopping malls, restaurants, parks. You could say we need church where people are already hanging out. We need a church in every mall, every Carrefour, Bijkorf, Sainsbury or Tesco. Churches can go where the people are, churches can start quickly anywhere and reproduce rapidly. In this way, the church becomes what it is meant to be: a “going” movement.

The homosapiens is created not to be on his own. People were designed to need each other and rely on each other. People were designed to learn and grow from loving interaction with other people.

That should also be the intention of gathering: being together under the wings of Christ Jesus. Coming with like-minded people together to find ourselves in a loving relationship with other believers enabling each other to begin to live life in a new way, a more freeing way.

Having small groups of people coming together in formations at public or private places you could call them house-churches but we would prefer them to call ecclesiae (the plural form of ecclesia/ekklesia). Coming together they all should have the same intention, showing each other their love for God and their believe in the son who was willing to die for us. Gathering they should share the love for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Ecclesia then can become the place where we have people to encourage us when we need it and  have people to build us up. It should be the place where we have the awesome gift of having a support structure to rely on when things get tough.

The one ecclesia does not have to be an exact copy of the other ecclesia. Everybody is different so every ecclesia may be different as well. Every situation is different so every service may be different.
We do not need a set of Common Prayers or a missal to follow a strict order of service.
Creating community that is safe and that reflects God’s own love does not just happen. Someone has to risk being vulnerable and saying, “This is who I really am.” We are spiritual and human, both.
As a family we should feel life around us and be aware of what is going on in the world but also in the brotherhood. We should recognise the differences of character and the differences of situations. Our humanness should be shared in common with all. Sharing our humanness does not make us weak—it makes us close to other humans. It allows us to fulfil the biblical command to “accept one another as Christ has accepted you.” Someone has to be deliberate about taking the risk to take the masks off. In this environment of acceptance, others will do the same and true community will develop.

We should be making room for people to share. And by creating a nice atmosphere we can help each other to come loose.
There needs to be times during meals, gatherings, get-togethers where people have space to share their lives. Daring to share your live with other is one aspect of accepting the others as your brother or sister.
Good relationships are built on the inevitability of conflicts that are faced and resolved to the point where the relationship is even stronger. Relationships are made to grow us. We must deal with the real issues of hurt, pride, anger, communication, and forgiveness.

Making an ecclesia is opening yourself up to other whatever their position in life or what their interests are. Being interested in what they do, read, watch on television, etc. makes part of the togetherness. In it we do have to accept that we can be close to someone or closer to somebody else. But we also should be aware that not all relationships are going to continue to be close, even when they are good. Being part of a transformational family should be at the heart and soul of what it means to “be” the church.

It are the gatherings of believers who “are” the church and reach out to bless their neighbours and restore neighbourhoods. Each ecclesia should be a little heart of a community. the blood cells of the Parish which supports the oxygen.

Together we do have to try to work together so that we get clean fresh blood every day of the week a whole year through.

Which food, the quality and quantity depends on choices, but in every community the most precious food and main dish should be the Word of God. Everything should be centred around the Bible.

We can encounter many different ecclesiae but for all of them the highest priority should be the Love for the One and Only Elohim God Almighty Jehovah/Yahweh and His Word, plus the spreading of the Gospel, the Good News of the Saviour Jesus/Yeshua, the Messiah, his return and the Kingdom of God.

How and what 'you can eat' to get the best intentions you can read in:
An Organic Church in the line of what God wants
What to expect from a Christadelphian meeting?

Please do find more about the Ecclesia in:


In Dutch you can find / In het Nederlands:

Lees meer over Ecclesia in de artikelen van de Christadelphian Ecclesia.

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