Ecclesia: Cliché or Reality?
Ecclesia (or Ekklesia) is a Greek word translated in the New Testament as “Church.” It takes its origin from two words: ek and kaleo. Ek, meaning “Out from and to” and Kaleo, meaning “to call”and it has to do with a group of people called out from one place and to another. The ecclesia in the New Testament is a group of people who have been called out of the world to God.
Taking the conversation a step further, let’s consider the leadership styles of the Babylonians and the Romans. There was a difference with the way the Babylonians and the Romans rule. If the former conquers a territory, they take their spoils of war and their people into slavery. By so doing, the land becomes desolate WHILE the latter, their strategy is completely different: they don’t bring the conquered territory into their empire, rather they send an ecclesia to their land. The ecclesia introduces their government, military might and education into the conquered territory so that they can deculturize the people while working towards altering their identity. By implication, the one that is conquered takes on the identity of its captor. They – the Romans – sometimes go as far as changing their names, ideologies as well as their gods. This is to ensure that there is conformity to their ways.
Friends, did it occur to you that the same terminology that was used for the army deployed by the Romans is the same used by Jesus when the reality of the church was revealed by Jesus to his disciples that we are the ecclesia?
If the meaning of ecclesia is the same, then the realities should be mutual. It means if we (the church) go into a territory, we should be able to re-shape that community and implant into the heart of such men the goal of existing to serve the will of the King. We have been mandated to deculturize people and make them kingdom functionaries for Jehovah.
Unfortunately, looking at the current terrain, can we that we are successful in this assignment? We have left the project assigned to us and shifted our gaze to the mundane things of the world we were created to conquer in the first place! Turning men by the Spirit of God into emissaries for the kingdom is our primary assignment. We are not called to buildings because the ecclesia is not a building but a government.
When someone goes to Medical school for a 6-year course in other to become a doctor, it is expected that after six years, the said individual should be able to carry out duties expected of a doctor. This is so because the six years spent as a student of Medicine and Surgery is expected to have been used for training and the outcome of that training should produce the needed skillset to function as a licensed doctor. The question now is, what becomes of the Kingdom, a community, a territory when we are part of a church for six years?
How was John the Baptist able to pipe a different sound from heaven that was different from what existed during his time and through him many were brought to the Lord? What did Paul encounter on his way to Damascus that changed him forever? Most of us have the word and knowledge to disciple and colonize other people, but we will rather play Church than be an ecclesia in its true and purest form.
You must have a disciple to present to Jesus, a community you have won for God, and a territory that you have willed to Yahweh; only then are we profitable servants living as the Bride that the Lamb died to save.
May we all rise to become the true definition of who an ecclesia is. For this is the believer’s reality and not a cliché.