Why Ekklesia?

I called this blog the ekklesia blog and my podcast the ekklesia podcast. But why “ekklesia”? That seems like a weird name. My intent was (and is) to take a close and honest look at how we “do church” in our modern evangelical settings and ask the questions I think need to be asked.

Ekklesia (pronounced ek-lay-SEE-a) is a transliteration of the New Testament Greek word meaning “assembly.”  It is the word used in the New Testament that is translated “church” in most modern English versions of the Bible. But does church convey the meaning and intent of ekklesia?

Church comes to us from an old English word meaning “a lord’s house” and carries with it the concept of a location where an important person lived. It still conveys that concept at its center. When we think of church, we think of a building or location where God is present and where he requires us to be regularly in order to encounter him. The fact that we think this way is revealed by how we talk about church. We say things like “see you at church,” “it’s time to go to church,” “look at that beautiful church,” “where do you go to church?” or “ we attend pastor John’s church” without giving it a second thought. Over two thousand years of religious tradition has handed this to us – many of us from an early age – and it’s so engrained in our thinking and such a part of what’s been instilled in us and assumed to be right, that we don’t stop to question its validity.

But is what we’ve been told about church an accurate reflection of the ekklesia? Is the ekklesia a weekly destination we attend where we stand on queue, sit on queue, sing on queue, give on queue, pray on queue, say hi to strangers on queue, listen to a lecture on queue, all the while staring at the back of someone’s head, calling it community, or feeling we’ve done our religious duty for the week and God likes us more because of our attendance and participation in the event? I don’t think so.

Join me on this journey from church to ekklesia and let’s ask the honest questions that need asked, challenge empty traditions and false assumptions, and see if we can’t gain a better understanding of what Jesus meant when he said, “I will build my ekklesia.”

Welcome to The Ekklesia Blog. Welcome to The Ekklesia Podcast.

-Mike

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