Kago de soi lego, Hoti sy ei Petros kai epi tute te petra oikodomeso mou ecclesia…
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…
The substitution of church for ecclesia has created an unusual division in the body of Christ and its mission on earth. While the meaning of church is often interchangeable with an inanimate structure the term ecclesia always means an assemble of people.
At the core lies whether the church (kuriakos) or alternatively the assemble (ecclesia) is operating at the full potential and authority provided to us by the Risen Lord?
No one alive today had anything to do with the word church replacing ecclesia, which was done originally to appease the monarchy and the Church of England. In the same manner no church pastor had a hand at writing the intrusive and First Amendment restrictive IRS rules for holding a 501 (C) (3) tax exempt status.
So, the question remains, while working within the structure that all of us have inherited, from events from long ago, how do we work together to rebuild the spirit of inter-cooperation clearly described for all believers in the New Testament?
Here are some ideas offered for consideration:
Equality: Jesus settled the dispute among His disciples about “who is the greatest” in Luke Chapter 9 by taking the weakest member of society and telling the disciples that the greatest is he who is the servant of all. This marks that equality and servanthood is the attributes of true leadership.
This fact is further clarified in Acts Chapter 6 when these same disciples ask the ecclesia (assemble) to choose seven men from among them to assure the unbiased distribution of resources. Not because they were unwilling to do it themselves, but that they correctly identified the importance of justice for the overlooked widows and at the same time the need to maintain their dedication to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
Mission: One of the main callings of the church is to build up the believers to express their giftings for the benefit of all. The spiritual gifts described in the early church and the natural talents and abilities God has given each of His children are all meant to benefit others.
Authority: All authority as Jesus declares in Mathew 28:16 has been give unto Him. A Christ centered ecclesia has both the spiritual power and direct command to bring this fact into all areas of human endeavor.
Equality, mission and authority is why it so important for pastors to trust God and help empower their fellowship to do the work of Christian citizenship (Do justly: Micah 6:8) while they dedicate themselves to prayer and ministry.
To restrict the ecclesia to only that which the leadership is comfortable with, while muffling the call of Christ on the church universal to engage the forces of darkness in the world, has had a disastrous effect on our nation.
Every Christian citizen is gifted with the power to vote for Godly leaders and some are gifted to represent Judeo-Christian values in the cultural/political arena.
The Pastor Alliance and Citizenship as Ministry represent a closer alignment with the New Testament ideals in form of fellowship and interaction.
Pastors meeting as fellow servants are a blessing both to other pastors and their congregation.
Citizenship as Ministry working within each ecclesia seeks to edify the believers to utilize their combined gifting which include the blessing of enfranchisement (the right to choose their own leaders) in our Constitutional Republic.
For a few who heed the calling, there is engaging in leadership in the community, in campaigning, lobbing, serving and intercession representing hope to those within the church and throughout the state and nation.
The New Testament model of an ecclesia under authority and being directed by Godly servant-leaders to build up the full potential of its members is a church of enormous impact.
When the body of Christ begin to express more fully the gifting from God to be salt and light in their state and communities the outcome which the bible predicts is a Christ honoring state of shared rejoicing.