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Is The Church a Building or a Marketplace Ministry?

The first conversion which are comprised of 3,000 people, were harvested in an open-air meeting rather than inside a religious building. This departure from what was expected gave birth to a movement.

Since God did not want to be confined to the temple, much less to the synagogue, a mystery was revealed — the Church or Ecclesia, a concept for which no existing paradigm existed, but soon spread all over the city. (Acts 5: 28)

The Church and the Church Building

Unfortunately, even after 2,000 years, while we have gained much knowledge about “Church” — how to establish and grow one — our understanding of the kingdom of God remains limited.

The Church has replaced the kingdom of God in our dispensational thinking. Worse yet, our focus is on bringing people into the church building instead of taking the kingdom of God to where the people are.

This has resulted in a church that is confined to a building. The Church that began as a movement has become a monument.

Is church a building or people?

Taking the Church Outside the Walls

As long as we believe that the Church was born within four walls, we will always associate having a church with the need for physical space, blurring the distinction between the church building and the ecclesia.

This misconception becomes deeply ingrained in the minds of parishioners as they are encouraged to attend Church, further legitimizing the confusion when we equate the church building with the Church (ecclesia) itself.

Instead of experiencing Church (ecclesia) spread throughout the city as described in Acts 2:42, most of our energy and resources end up being devoted to acquiring and maintaining a venue where believers gather a few times a week.

This reduces Church to a couple of hours on Sunday inside a building, leaving the other 165 or so hours in the week to be lived outside of it.

Taking Church Outside the Walls

Not an Enemy

When the Church is identified primarily within a building, it soon turns centripetal in its focus, and everything on the outside becomes adversarial, turning the city and the marketplace place into enemies that have to be subdued, destroyed, or avoided.

This leads to a state of hate, if not all-out war, against the city and its central components: business, education, and government.

This attitude has produced a spiritual ghetto mentality that isolates us from the people to whom we are called to bring the salvation message.

Ghetto dwellers possess specific common characteristics:

  1. They believe they are so unique that they must remain separated from others.
  2. They are convinced they are superior,.
  3. They are highly insecure about interacting with anyone they consider inferior.

These traits are also found in churches that have developed Ghetto mentalities.

Ghetto Mentality

An Agency of Heaven

When Jesus introduced the notion of the Church or Ecclesia, he linked it to the Kingdom of Heaven, presenting the Kingdom and the Church as two sides of the same coin.

He said to Peter,

“You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you lose on Earth, shall have been loosed in Heaven”. (Matthew 16:18-19)

Matthew 16:18-19

Jesus clearly stated that his Church (Ecclesia) would overcome the Kingdom of Darkness. Jesus explicitly spoke to one person, Peter, and told him spiritual keys would be given to him to change things on Earth. The Lord said that Peter would get the keys, obviously as a forerunner of every future church member.

The Church (ecclesia) exists to bring the kingdom of God to Earth. Our Lord Jesus never put the kingdom of God and the Church (ecclesia) in separate dispensations or locations.

There are two kingdoms at war with each other, and the Church (ecclesia) is God’s agency to advance his kingdom on Earth. For this purpose, it has been entrusted with authority.

The Conventus: A Fascinating Caveat

The Greek word for Church is Ecclesia, which was widely used in the Roman Empire and it is used three times in a secular context in the Book of Acts. (Acts 19:30-42)

The purpose of this gathering Ecclesia was to obtain legal action against Paul. According to Sir William Ramsay, a group of Roman citizens, as small as two or three, gathered anywhere in the world constituted the conventus as a local expression of Rome.

Even though geography separated them from the capital of the Roman Empire and the emperor, their coming together as fellow Roman citizens automatically brought the power and presence of Rome into their midst.

This indeed was indeed the Roman Ecclesia in a microcosm. (“Ekklesia,” by Ed Silvoso, pages 25-26)

Ekklesia by Ed Silvoso

Jesus and His Ecclesia

Jesus presented the Church as an assembly or governing body of his followers that had the power to advocate the will of God on Earth, and the Church was empowered and commissioned by the Lord to storm the gates of hell.

In fact, in the first sermon of the church age, Peter stated that the gospel must be preached and all things are placed under the feet of Jesus. (Acts 2:34-35). At that moment, the will of God will indeed be entirely done on Earth as it is done in Heaven.

However, we tend to overlook the progressive dimension that indicates that the will of God will be done on Earth in increments and till it is fully achieved.

This misunderstanding leads to believe that the fullness will happen at the very end of time on Earth, when the Lord returns, and that, in the meantime, this world is bound to remain under the control of the evil one and unaffected by the Church (Ecclesia).

This passivity on our part has no biblical foundation.

This article is an extract from the book “Anointed for Business” by Ed Silvoso, pages 97-100.

It is a must-read book for those looking for a meaningful relationship with those in the marketplace and traditional institutional thinking.

Anointed for Business
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