“Our English word church is translated from the
Greek word ekklesia. When we hear the word church, one of the following images usually pops into our heads: a building with a steeple on it; a Sunday morning service; a denomination; a pastor; a pulpit; pews; a worship team (or choir); and a sermon. Or we think of all the Christians in the entire world
Like ‘nice’ and ‘pagan,’ the word ekklesia has morphed since the first century. Back then, it did not mean “called out ones” as is sometimes taught. Consistently, the word meant a local community of people who assemble together regularly.
The word was used for the Greek assembly whereby those in the community were “called forth” from their private lives to meet (assemble) in the town forum to make decisions for their city. Consequently, the word also carries the flavor of every-member participation in decision-making. According to the New Testament, the church of Jesus Christ is not a place where one buries the dead and marries the living. It’s a community of people who gather together and who possess a shared life in Christ. As such, the ekklesia is visible, touchable, locatable, and tangible. You can visit it. You can observe it. And you can live in it.” -Frank Viola, “From Eternity to Here”, pp. 280-281