Church is commonly defined as a building for the public worship of a God, a place where religious activities take place that a community can interact and identify with. But what is the Church really? The word comes from the old English ‘cirice’, from the Greek ‘kuriakon’. This word doesn’t even resemble the Greek word ‘ecclesia’ (assembly) which we usually find in the scriptures as being translated as ‘church’. The meaning of ‘kuriakon’ is understood by its root: ‘kurios’, which means ‘lord’. Thus, we can understand ‘kuriakon’ as ‘house belonging to the lord’. And as we are the ‘temple of the Lord’, then we can accept that You-manity is the ‘church’, the dwelling of God.
The local assembly, or ‘ekklesia’, of believers is the point of recognition in the local neighbourhood which can and should be a point of contact for help and spiritual support for anyone and everyone. As the scriptures state, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling (ecclesia) of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25), and more specifically in Ephesians 4:11-16, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love”. So the local members of the Body are to assemble so that they can encourage, teach, support and care for, each other and others. This is so that we can grow into our full measure in Christ.
So what activities should an assembly display? From the scriptures we can ‘walk out our faith’ by acting justly, and showing mercy and forgiveness (Micah 6:8), and “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16b) even if you have to use words, and as a ‘House of Prayer’ we are exhorted “first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1). The ‘church’ should also be a receiver and distributor of wealth and goods for those in need (Malachi 3:10a).
There is also the use of the term church to refer to the building that the ecclesia uses, though it is really about the people. Remember that the church is everybody, for ALL belong to the Lord, even those not in the ‘ecclesia’! There can be no ‘us and them’ mentality, for in the kuriacon/church, we ALL belong to God. There can be more than one ecclesia/assembly, but there is only one Church (kuriacon), because ALL ecclesia belong to God.
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