Any Ideas out There for a Better Word than “CHURCH”?

Posted: May 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Imposing Church Door XSmall

Can we come up with a better word than “church?”

It’s so misleading. Ask the average person on the street to describe a church, and they’ll likely talk about a building.

To me, “church” sounds so institutional and formidable. It’s supposed to be the extreme opposite. The Architect and Builder of our faith set out to create a Body of Messiah-followers — a living organism with a warm heart that beats and lungs that breathe. His original design was a Body that grows, gets constantly renewed and is on the move.

“Church” is an English translation of the Greek word, “ekkesia.” It refers to “a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly….” (Thayers Greek-English Lexicon).

The church is we the people. Not the places where we meet.

I like “community” better

Several years ago we decided to call ourselves, King of Kings Community.  It’s not perfect, but I think it’s an improvement over “church.”  And it’s closer to the original meaning of ekklesia.

You may say, “but  ‘community’ doesn’t convey any spiritual meaning.” True. But “ekklesia” was not an inherently spiritual term either, when Jesus and the writers of the New Testament chose to use it.

Communities share their gifts

What do we know about the origin of the word “community?” It’s from the Latin, munus, which means “a gift” —  and cum, which means, “together, among each other.” Essentially, it’s a group of people who share their gifts with one another.” I really like that, don’t you?

That’s what characterized those first Jerusalem believers. They shared their gifts — both spiritual and material.

“And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met. They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful…” (Acts 2:44-46. THE MESSAGE)

And their community was not an exclusive club that became ingrown and institutional. The opposite occurred. “People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.” (Acts 2:47. THE MESSAGE)

Maybe you’ve got an even better word to describe who WE are in the MESSIAH. I’m all ears. Send your suggestions. 

Comments
  1. david ripley says:

    Gathering, assembly, centre , place, mission, house, etc and so on to infinuim and beyond

  2. Karen says:

    Why not use “ekklesia,” just as the Holy Scriptures do? I know LOTS of people will be asking exactly what is an ekklesia, and that will give lots of opportunities to witness about Yeshua and His first-century followers, and also about those of us who follow Him today. We’re part of the body of our Great Jewish Messiah. It’s all about God, and not at all about a building.

    • There’s merit in what you’re saying. But I think we need to be as accessible as possible to those on the “outside.” I would not want to add another layer of “insider” terminology that needs to be explained to the uninitiated.

  3. I just like the thought that ‘there is something better’. Although many of us understand the difference between a building and a body, common thought prevails, and ‘the world’ will always consider ‘church’ a building. Jews will always consider ‘church’ as those brutal ‘crusaders’, As believers, we are ‘the bride’. We are also the body of Messiah.
    Thinking in Hebrew doesn’t come natural to me, but I have to believe that the early believers considered themselves chavurah. Why not get back to the root of the matter?

  4. Susan C Manson says:

    I like the word Gathering, but communitity is maybe more descriptive of the church.. my church is called the House because they started in a house.

  5. I choose “Ecclesia”

  6. The early church was called “the Way”.

  7. John Irving says:

    Hi Wayne – We were lead to call our church – the Gathering Place here in Aurora Canada – i agree ‘church’ has a wrong connotation for many people today. Love your church blessings to you and Ann!! Hope to visit Israel again soon!!??

  8. Philippe Seguin says:

    Here, Kehila can’t be used anymore. I realized few weeks ago, that it was taken by the gay community and when you speak with non believers of going to Kehila, or about your Kehila you are right away associated! We have to find another word in Hebrew too.

  9. Wayne: What about “Temple” in place of Church? We are the body and temple of the Holy Ghost.

  10. I think that the best word for church is BethShalom

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