What do you think of when you hear the word “church?”
Do you think of a building — unmovable and solid?
Or do you think of people or a gathering — fluid and active?
This second idea is likely more the meaning the authors of the New Testament meant when they used the word “church” or “ekklesia.”
Ekklesia – Called Out to Gather
The word “ekklesia” appears in the New Testament about 111 times.
This word is derived from two different Greek words — “ek” (from out of) and “kaleo” (to call).
So ekklesia translates to:
“a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly”
Greek government may have used the word as any public gathering, but we know that the New Testament authors used the word to connate gathering of believers for some purpose within the faith – to worship, to serve, to act.
Let’s look at those words closer: worship, serve, act.
All of those are active words on their own.
So ekklesia isn’t and can’t be static. We are called out by God (which is active by origin) to gather together to then actively spread God’s love to others.
What Active Ekklesia Can Look Like
So if ekklesia isn’t just meeting in a building once a week, what can it look like?
Here is just a sampling of what the New Testament says about ekklesia:
- In Acts 12:5, the church fervently prays.
- In Acts 14:27, the church reports good done via the faith amongst each other for encouragement.
- In Acts 20:28, the church shepherds each other to stay on the path.
- In 1 Corinthians 12, we see that each member of the church has God-given gifts to serve others.
- In Ephesians 1:20-23, we see Christ as the head of the gathering of believers.
- In 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, the members of the church love each other and persevere together for the purpose of spreading God’s love.
- In James 5:14, the church serves and prays over the sick.
So when we gather, let’s remember that we are called out to gather together to strengthen each other in our walks with God. And we are called out to gather together to serve Him and serve others. We are called out to act and do and love.
*Stay tuned for a post at the end of the month with study cards on all the Greek words discussed this month!
What are some ways the church (ekklesia) has actively served you with God’s love? What ways have you seen fellow believers be an active gathering for God?