AUGUST 11, 2012 BY JIM WRIGHT
Several weeks ago, I was asked how to find “ekklesia” (the Greek word in the New Testament often translated as “church”).
Many today are frustrated because they can’t seem to find authentic fellowship, or feel stuck in the “wilderness” after leaving the institutional church.
As I’ve thought about this, it’s been hard for me to know how to respond. The last thing anyone needs is another “program”, “method” or “three easy steps” to find something that God designed to be authentically birthed, and sustained, organically.
You see, God intends that life reproduce life. That principle is built into the very fabric of creation. Like all things that impart life, real ekklesia is organic, through and through.
And by “organic”, I mean simply this: The authentic and diverse life of Christ in me, which is then expressed among us and through us as we become the wonderful, dynamic, multi-gifted and participatory Body of Christ.
The key to finding this, I think, is found in those two words: authentic and diverse.
So here’s my response on how to find ekklesia, rooted in my own experience of finding, and then helping others find, real life and real fellowship – not as one who’s arrived, but simply as one who has been on the path maybe a little longer.
The Authentic Life of Christ
I think the greatest challenge facing Christians today is the prevailing tendency to create Jesus in our own image – based on our own hurts, sensibilities or whatever.
Without an authentic Jesus, you will not find authentic fellowship.
That’s because the foundation for true “ekklesia” must be this, and this alone: i the authentic life Christ in us, which is then authentically expressed among us and through us; ii as confirmed by the internal witness of the Holy Spirit which is concurrently subject at all times His authoritative external witness of Scripture.
That’s just my complicated way of saying what Jesus said much more simply: If two or three of us gather in His name i.e., in the authenticity of who He really is and has authoritatively revealed Himself to be, He is there, alive among us. Matt. 18:20
Apart from the authentic life of Jesus – where we continually are being created in His image through a dynamic, transforming relationship with the Living Word which conforms to the authority of His written word – entering into true Christian community simply is not possible.
Otherwise, you are reduced to seeking “fellowship” around the need to affirm your own hurts, biases, attitudes, ideals, aspirations or even your own “better selves” – and that simply doesn’t work.
Oh, it will feel validating, comforting and even liberating at first, but eventually, at best, you will end up being just another anemic, insular “meet up” of cookie-cutter look-alikes trapped in your own shared sensibilities.
I have heard from too many Christians who can’t seem to ever find healthy fellowship. Unless they are in legitimate transition and I’m not talking ten years, folks, more often than not they share the same characteristic – they only want or know a Jesus of their own creation.
I also have visited too many “organic” or similarly-described fellowships that are anemic and insular. More often than not, they too share the same characteristic – they only want or know a Jesus of their own creation.
So you want life and real fellowship? Good. Let the dynamic, authentic life of Christ be birthed in you – and then seek out…… read more via Finding Ekklesia | Crossroad Junction.