The Greeks used an everyday word to describe when they gathered together as Christians. We use a religious word to describe the same thing. And that fact has a tremendous impact upon how each of us understands the concept.
The funny thing is is that it is the same word: “Church.”
I spend a lot of my time trying to define this word for leaders in the Christian movement. We look at how it is used in the Bible; we look at what it meant in the original Greek; we study how it has been used through the ages since the 1st century; and so on and so forth. And when we come to a conclusion we proclaim it from the hilltops: I know what “church” means! (Of course, there is the corollary that if I know what it means then you probably don’t. So you need me to tell you. Good on me!)
But what if we couldn’t use that word? What if it was not available in my heart language? What if my culture had no concept of that word? What would I do then? How could I describe the body of Christ without the word “church”?
Is it possible?
Want to take a shot?
How would you describe the concept of church without using the word “church”?
Would you be willing to give up the word in favour of your new one?