This post will discuss the role of the Ekklesia
The role of the Ekklesia is often misunderstood. The word “Ekklesia” comes from two greek words: Ek and Kaleo. Ek means “out,” and kaleo means “to call.” So, the literal translation of Ekklesia is “the ones who are called out.”
This is significant because it shows that the church isn’t something we create or control; it’s something God has called us to be.
In this post, I will explore the role of the Ekklesia in-depth and see how it applies to our lives today. I also have a thought-provoking case study of the Ekklesia in Kenya and their transformative and relentless pursuit…I’ve included it at the end of the post.
Ready? Let’s begin…
Why I’m passionate about the Ekklesia
Around 2018-2019, God started to speak to me about birthing and the season of the remnant. I then wrote a blog post titled “A Message for Today’s Remnant- 2020 & Beyond.” In that blog post, I wrote about Zerubabbel and emphasized that this will be the period where the remnant will be called out. I also mentioned key learnings that I believed would encourage the remnant in this season. Later that year, I also wrote about “remnant rising.“
So I’m passionate about the Ekklesia because I believe they are indeed the remnant. They are bold and fierce and have been positioned in all different places worldwide. This is the body of Christ that believes and acts on the infallible word of God.
If you feel you are part of this mission, this blog post is dedicated to you.
What Is the Meaning of Ekklesia?
The Ekklesia was an assembly of citizens in Greece that played a significant role in the city-state’s legislative process.
For you to better understand this topic, I need to explore Ekklesia’s origins and history and discuss this institution’s effects on Greek society.
Let’s journey a bit into Greece…fasten your seatbelts, LOL…
Ekklesia in Athens, Greece
The Ekklesia assembly in Athens was the primary legislative body of the city-state, with members chosen by lot. Its meetings were open to all citizens of Athens who had reached a certain age, and any citizen could make proposals and debate them. The decisions made at the Ekklesia would become law unless overturned by a higher court. This form of direct democracy played an important role in the development of Athenian society, as it allowed for greater public participation in decision-making and political life.
However, this concept of Ekklesia is not limited to ancient Greece. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus states that he will build his own “Ekklesia.” Here, the term refers to a spiritual body rather than a physical building. This suggests that the biblical Ekklesia is not necessarily modeled after the Greek one but rather is a new concept altogether – one that serves to unify believers and bring them closer to God.
The Greek Ekklesia and Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:18 provide two distinct understandings of what an Ekklesia can be. While the first offers insight into ancient Athenian civic life, the second points to a more profound spiritual reality. It illuminates how believers should see themselves as members of this greater spiritual body. Ultimately, understanding these two concepts of Ekklesia allows us to gain deeper insight into history and theology.
Ekklesia is more than “just” church
Per my overview of the early Ekklesia in Athens, I want to stress that the Ekklesia is more than “just” church. Yep! The purpose of the Ekklesia is far-reaching. We are called to be lights in a dark world (Matthew 5:14), to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15), and to care for our brothers and sisters in love (1 Corinthians 12:25). We are also responsible for sharing the truth of scripture with those around us (2 Timothy 3:16) and for being faithful stewards of what God has given us (Luke 16:10-12).
At its core, the mandate of the Ekklesia is to be a shining example of what it means to follow Jesus. We are called to share his love and grace with those around us and to bring glory to God in all that we do. When we embrace the role of the Ekklesia, we become part of something much bigger than ourselves and are able to play an active role in bringing God’s kingdom into this world. This role is not just crucial for our own lives but also for the Kingdom of God as a whole.
The mission of the Ekklesia is one full of responsibility and meaning. As members of the Ekklesia, we must take our role in being witnesses for Christ in this world seriously. We must be willing to go out and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ while also caring for our brothers and sisters in love. We are called to be a light in a dark world, and by embracing this role, we can bring glory to God and be part of something much bigger than ourselves.
Bottomline- Do not take the Ekklesia lightly! We have been given an incredible opportunity to serve God and witness his amazing grace in this world. By understanding what it means to be part of the Ekklesia, we can more fully embrace the role that has been given to us and strive to carry out the mission that God has set before us. It is only through living out our role as members of the Ekklesia that we can truly bring glory to God in this world.
What does it take to become an Ekklesia?
Here are seven requirements that came to me regarding this topic:
To become an Ekklesia, you must first accept Jesus into your heart and receive salvation through Him. It is only by receiving salvation through Jesus that we can participate fully in the work of God’s Kingdom.
As stated in Romans 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
If you are interested in giving your life to Jesus, please read my blog post, “How to Accept Jesus into your Heart (How to be Saved).”
2. Understand it isn’t a physical location but the bride of Christ
The Ekklesia is not simply a gathering of people in a physical location, such as a church building; it is much more than that. It is an eternal family comprised of all believers in Jesus, who are united together under Him as part of His bride.
As stated in Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
3. Christ is the firm foundation
The foundation of the Ekklesia must be rooted in Jesus and His teachings. He is the cornerstone on which all believers are built, and without Him, there can be no true Ekklesia.
As stated in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
4. Ministry of the Holy Spirit
Every believer has access to the ministry of the Holy Spirit and should be actively seeking to grow in the Spirit. We must all understand that we are powerless without the power of God and can only do His work through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
As stated in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
5. Not relying on your flesh but fully surrendered to God
To become an Ekklesia, it is essential that each believer does not rely on their own human strength or intellect but puts complete trust in God for guidance and instruction.
As stated in Romans 8:12-14 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”
6. Using your gifts and purpose to the glory of God
Each believer has been given a unique set of talents and abilities from God that should be used for His glory. We must use our gifts and passions to serve Him rather than ourselves or others.
As stated in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
7. Commitment to Kingdom work
Becoming an Ekklesia requires a commitment to serving God and His kingdom in obedience. We must not just be hearers of the Word but doers as well.
As stated in James 1:22-25 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
12 Roles of the Ekklesia
To understand what Ekklesia means today, we must first look at how it was used during Jesus’ time on earth. During that period, the role and responsibilities of the Ekklesia were many.
Don’t worry…I’ve already done some research that I’m going to present them to you:
1. Promote and Teach God’s commands
The first role and importance of the Ekklesia is to promote and teach God’s commands (Matthew 28:19-20). This includes teaching about Jesus’ life and purpose as well as how to be a good witness for Him in following his teachings. It also entails keeping in line with what the Bible says is right and wrong while helping others do the same.
2. Providing spiritual leadership within a community
This includes providing pastoral guidance to its members, offering encouragement for spiritual growth, leading by example in living out Christ’s teachings, discipleship training, ministering to the sick and needy, and preaching/teaching God’s Word.
3. Be a beacon of light in a dark world
This could be accomplished by sharing the love of Jesus with everyone they encounter (Matthew 5:14). It also includes being prepared to answer tough questions about their faith and helping others grow in their understanding of it.
4. Unifying its members
Another role for the Ekklesia is that of unifying its members as one body in Christ (Romans 12:4-5). Unity among its members is not only beneficial spiritually but serves as a powerful witness to those who were outside looking into Christianity. It means being an example of what it looks like to follow Jesus faithfully.
5. Teaching and training
The Ekklesia also equips its members with knowledge and insight that would help them live out Christ’s teachings (Ephesians 4:11-12). This includes providing biblical studies for a deeper understanding of God’s Word as well as classes on practical topics such as developing strong relationships, financial stewardship, and building a solid foundation in one’s faith.
Another role is to welcome newcomers into their church body, offering friendship and fellowship while building relationships (Romans 12:13). It could mean organizing social activities or weekly meals that encouraged fellowship and community.
I believe hospitality could fall under also hosting and partnering with ministers. I am always reminded by Lydia and how she hosted travelling missionaries in the early church!
This includes evangelism, reaching out with love to those who do not know Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). It also includes being involved in different ministries and mission trips to spread the gospel both near and far.
8. Prayer and worship
Prayer entails coming together to communicate with God as a body through prayer and intercession (Ephesians 6:18). This could include praying corporately during weekly meetings or having a designated time for individuals to come before Him in private prayer.
Worship means providing avenues where members can come together to give praise and honor to God (Romans 12:1-2). It also includes learning how to communicate with God through prayer and spending time studying His Word together.
9. Justice and mercy
It is paramount to be an advocate for those who were oppressed and poor (Proverbs 31:8-9). This includes helping those in dire need by providing food, clothing, shelter, etc., while also standing up against injustice whenever necessary.
This role entails good stewardship of finances, resources, and time (Ephesians 4:28). It means being wise with the money that is given to support the ministries of the Ekklesia, as well as teaching its members how to do likewise.
Another role is to provide a conducive place where believers could come together in unity and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). This could include special events, retreats, or even just weekly meetings where friendships are nurtured, and God’s love is shared among all those present.
12. Acts of service
This role entails being a role model for others by helping and serving those in need (John 13:34-35). This could include volunteering at local homeless shelters or working with the elderly in nursing homes. It means setting an example of humility and selflessness to those around them.
Ekklesia in Kenya (A Case Study)
The church has always played an essential role in governance. This is evident from the early days of Christianity when the church was a major force in society. In more recent times, the church’s role in governance has somewhat diminished.
However, in Kenya, the Ekklesia plays an integral part in what I would term a twofold role:
- Firstly, the church acts as an intermediary between the state and its citizens. It provides a platform for citizens to express their views and can mediate disputes between governments and their citizens.
- Secondly, the church has an important role to play in ensuring that voting and elections are carried out fairly and peacefully. In Kenya, the Ekklesia was instrumental in helping facilitate peaceful elections through intercession.
Ekklesia in Kenya on elections and democracy
Through prayer and mediation with political leaders, clergy members have been able to ensure that political campaigns focus on the issues rather than personal attacks or violence. Clergy members have also been known to use religious ceremonies and events to encourage voters to cast their ballots peacefully and with respect for their opponents. Additionally, the church can act as a watchdog to ensure that elections are conducted in accordance with the law and do not involve any kind of fraud or manipulation.
This year’s peaceful elections in Kenya serve as a testament to the power of Ekklesia in governance, voting, and elections. By providing an intermediary between citizens and governments, ensuring fair ballot casting, monitoring election campaigns for potential wrongdoings, praying for peace during elections, and encouraging peaceful behavior amongst voters – the Church has helped bring about an equitable governance system beneficial to all Kenyans. The work of Ekklesia is essential in promoting democratic processes worldwide – their efforts should be applauded and supported.
By leveraging its unique position in society to provide a voice for people who might otherwise go unheard, the church can help create more equitable governance systems across other parts of Africa and beyond.
Ekklesia in Kenyan on social issues
In Kenya, Church members from Protestant and Catholic backgrounds have voiced their concerns on various issues. For instance, Kenyan churches recently displayed a joint effort to raise awareness about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food production and distribution. With discussions outside government offices and public meetings held around the country, pastors and religious leaders spoke out against GMOs as an affront to God’s creation. This collective action allowed for an organized platform where church members could share their views with policymakers, hopefully positively influencing upcoming policy decisions.
Overall, the Church in Kenya has played a crucial role in raising awareness on specific issues and promoting peaceful dialogue between citizens and governments. Through prayer and organized action, members of the church have been able to send a powerful message about what is right or wrong with society – something that can be invaluable in creating a better future for all Kenyans. With its unique position in Kenyan society, the Ekklesia can continue its important work of fostering peace, justice, and democracy for the nation.
Ekklesia in Intersession during Kenyan elections (testimony)
I’m a firm believer in intercession for one’s country. Last year, I was invited to join an intercessors group for Kenyan Americans who were interceding for Kenya. For those unaware, Kenya has had a history of post-election violence, and I’ve written about this in the past when my family and I narrowly escaped death when I was five years old.
When I joined the group, I noticed that the leaders were not only praying for Kenya as a whole but went granular to also pray for their counties. Friends- everything was covered! Each member prayed for their county of birth because of spiritual jurisdiction. There was no time for games! We had seen the devastating effects of post-election strife, and the Church was awake.
I found it extraordinary and knew I was part of something great. When we started praying, I was later invited to more local intercession groups based in Kenya. They advised me that they had been praying for years (since the last election concluded in 2017!). I was truly humbled, and I kept asking myself, “What have I been doing all this while?”
Later, intercessors from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and all over Africa joined. It was a wildfire that had just spread. They all wanted to see the hand of God. They said that if Kenya can have a peaceful election, it will be a beacon of hope for them. Friends, the Ekklesia was on the move. Due to the number of prayers and prayer points we were engaged in, I wrote a blog post titled “11 Powerful Prayer Points: Intercessory Prayers for Nations.”
So when the church pressed on, the newly elected President stated during his acceptance speech, “I was prayed into victory.” I cried as I watched that. He, indeed, was prayed into victory. Then during the swearing-in, it was surreal to see some Israeli Rabbis blowing the shofars in a declaration of victory. A similar gesture was shown during the official inauguration as shofars were also blown.
This was historic. This was the Ekklesia in action.
I’m thankful for the grace of God that I was able to witness this full-circle moment.
And that’s it, folks, the role of the Ekklesia
In conclusion, the role of the Ekklesia is one of great importance. We are called to be shining examples of what it means to serve and follow Christ while also being a witness to him in this world.
It is only by embracing our role as members of the Ekklesia that we can truly bring glory to God and help spread his kingdom on earth. It is time for us to take our role as members of the church seriously and strive to live out our role with faithfulness and love.
May God bless us as we seek to carry out his work in this world through our role in the Ekklesia.