It is said that the only constant in today’s world is change. And that certainly rings very true! The world is changing ever so rapidly. To keep up with it, the devices we use, the places we go and the activities we engage in have all evolved accordingly.
I can still remember my very first humongous mobile device that felt like a brick in my hand (and weighed as much too)! Compare that with the sleek, light and gorgeous iPhone 6 that I use today. Oh what a difference!
That is the reality today – where everything is constantly adapting, evolving, and re-forming. In other words, it is either you evolve or you become extinct!
That said, in the same essence, I dare to ask “can the church of Jesus Christ that was commissioned to reach the world remain effective and relevant today without adapting and evolving herself?”
We see a Church impacting the world around them with their unique, bold and creative lifestyle with unpretentious and unstoppable faith.
We are not talking about compromising the message of the cross to stay current. Absolutely not! Brothers and sisters, the message is sacred but the methods are not! It is high time we set out to reimagine the church and mold it into the timeless dynamic and effective organism that it was to be when first imagined by the Holy Spirit! So, who and what is the Church?
The Webster Merriam dictionary defines the church as ‘a building that is used for worship by Christians’ or ‘religious service’ or ‘a Christian denomination / institution’. However, the word ‘Church’ in the bible refers to something very different.
The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia, which is defined as “assembly” or “called-out ones”. Therefore, the root meaning of the word “church” itself does not refer to a building, but rather it refers to the people. The Church is the congregation of God’s people, the Assembly of God’s chosen people for the purpose of worship and conducting the affairs of the Kingdom of God.
Now, take note that the secular usage of the word ekklesia often exclusively refers to the public assembly of a group of people or citizens specifically in the political or security business. The secular ekklesia assembled for the purpose of addressing the needs of the community and directing the actions needed to bring change or to resolve the situation(s). Therefore, the ekklesia is a body that stays relevant through its role of constantly engaging and evolving with the changes of situations and community needs.
Based on the above, we can conclude that the church definitely is not an inanimate structure of bricks and stones, nor is it a religious institution!
The church in the words of Apostle Peter, is ‘a spiritual house made up of living stones’! (1 Peter 2:4,5) The church is a congregation of the redeemed, the chosen and the blessed of the Lord. It is within this context, that the church is conveyed to the world as ‘the Light and Salt of the earth’. (Matthew 5:13)
When we view life in the church of the 1st century, we see a church that is not so much into religion and religious rituals. Rather we see a Church impacting the world around them with their unique, bold and creative lifestyle with unpretentious and unstoppable faith. Their Christianity was a lifestyle, not just a profession!
Characteristics of the Church in the Book of Acts
- They did not just organize services but were focused on community transformation through active engagement
- They saw themselves as a heavenly body with an earthly function and purpose extending across borders and cultures
- They were a family of believers living in partnership with each other and not just church members
- They saw their weekly gathering not as a religious meeting but a meaningful family reunion for fellowship and mutual edification
- They believed and lived in the total power and provision of the completed work of Christ on the cross
Re-imagine what the local church could be like today:
The Re-imagined Church puts back the Wow and Life factor into the Message of Gospel and the Life of the church. Church life was never meant to be boring and uneventful. The Church at its birth was powerful, exciting and impactful; because it was a re-imagined body of believers compared to the existing religious order!
Let’s get back to our roots, and be what the Lord has imagined us to become in His plan – the Blessed Church!