When Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 “I will build my church and She will be found at the gates Hell making a difference” a little of my interpretation in that statement, but I do think it is right. A few things are clear about that statement. Jesus said He would be the builder, not church planters or men of the cloth or Clergy. He also gave us the location of the church; gates of Hell. Not brick and mortar on some street address. Since then men have been redefining that word church to mean other things than He meant. We have had a long love affair with buildings. It is so ingrained that if a group of believers began to meet together, their first thoughts are towards securing a building.

Strikingly, nowhere in the New Testament do we find the term church or Ekklesia used to refer to a building. The first recorded use of the word Ekklesia to refer to a Christian meeting was penned around AD190 by Clement of Alexandria which was foreign thought to the first century believers. You cannot go to something you are. The early church believed that Jesus was the very presence of God. They believed that the body of Christ; the church made up the temple. Christianity is the only religion on the planet that had no sacred objects, no sacred persons and had no sacred spaces although surrounded by synagogue and pagan temples. The early Christians were the only religious people on the earth who did not erect sacred building for their worship. The Christian faith was born in homes, out in courtyards and along roadsides for the first three centuries the Christians did not have special buildings. One scholar put it like this. The Christianity that conquered the Roman Empire was essentially a home centered movement.

How different It is today with our cities landscaped filled with building, steeples pointing upwards. What made the early church so potent without buildings? What was the essence of their power? How did they do such a great job penetrating society like salt and light? These are questions that are worth revisiting and reflecting especially as we have seen the institutional church get caught flatfooted with covid 19. Either the church is going to assess and change the way things have been done or they will double down to maintain the status quo. The way things were before.

Ekklesia church is on a journey to discover these questions. We cannot just keep doing the same things and expect different results. The journey is exciting as Jesus shows us the beauty of His Church expressed once again in all domains of life. He promised that if we gather in His name, He will show up no matter where. We must take the church to the world instead of bringing people to church.  

Leave a Reply