Ekklesia Series // What Is The Ekklesia?

We must realign ourselves with the original mandate to get true Kingdom results. We must uncover Christ’s original intent regarding the Ekklesia. We need to rediscover what “Ekklesia” is and shift our priorities accordingly. When we do this, we will truly have a “Kingdom mindset.”

Our Drift from Apostolic to Pastoral Ministry

Because we changed both the name and meaning of our Lord’s words in Matthew 16:18, our churches have ceased being apostolic and have become largely pastoral. Our primary concern shifted from spreading the gospel and reaching cities to pastoral care.

We measure “church ministry” success largely by attendance and not influence. Pastors and church leaders feel compelled to keep the church plates spinning to fulfill what’s been determined as a successful ministry. This drives pastors and leaders to the brink of godless competition, joyless exhaustion, and career-ending depression.

Jesus never commissioned us to sit within the walls of buildings and “do” church but to engage with culture as the Ekklesia. The Ekklesia was created to take the revelation of Jesus Christ through the Gates of Hades and into the darkest places on Earth.

The Temple, the Synagogue, and the Ekklesia

In the days of Jesus, there were three main institutions in Israel: the temple, the synagogue, and the Ekklesia. Now, most are familiar with the temple and the synagogue but know very little about the Ekklesia. The temple and the synagogue were religious institutions organized to worship and instruct God’s people.

The Ekklesia was not religious but governmental. It was first developed by the Greeks hundreds of years before Christ and expanded by the Romans when they took power. Every city had an Ekklesia.

The Ekklesia

The Ekklesia had expansive authority in determining the affairs of cities and territories. It functioned as the legal ruling assembly of a city, meeting 40-50 times a year to lead and govern. Ekklesias were regularly summoned to actively participate in legislation, declare war, make peace, negotiate treaties, make alliances, elect officials, and more.

In legal co-operation with the Senate, the Ekklesia had the final decisions in all matters affecting the supreme interests of the state, as war, peace, alliances, treaties, the regulation of army and navy, finances, loans, tributes, duties, prohibition of exports or imports, the introduction of new religious rites and festivals, the awarding of honors and rewards, and the conferring of the citizenship. 1

In other words, the secular Ekklesia had expansive authority in determining the affairs of their cities and territories. To adequately manage these affairs, the ruling council typically met three to four times a month. 2

Since every Ekklesia governs through Roman rule, its role is to activate and enforce Roman customs and laws ensuring each city looked and acted like Rome itself. Ekklesia’s colonized regions. They were the local ruling expression of Rome, apostolic in nature.

Christ’s Ekklesia

It’s no coincidence that Jesus released the name and function of His divine agency, the Ekklesia, at the Gates of Hades.

He said in Matt. 16:18, “I will build MY Ekklesia.”

What does this mean? Jesus chose the Ekklesia to be and function as His spiritual government, legislating heaven on earth.

The will of our King is to access every dark, demonic gate, freeing people from the kingdom of darkness and ushering them into the kingdom of light.

The Bible says that when Jesus died, He first went through the Gates of Hades himself and plundered it, leaving it powerless. He took the keys of Hades and death gave it to His Ekklesia (Revelation 1:18; Ephesians 4:9-10; Colossians 2:15; Matthew 6:19).

This means the church (Christ’s Ekklesia) has the keys, and the devil does not. The Ekklesia is commissioned to use the keys to access locked gates and reclaim that which is lost (Luke 19:10) again, legislating heaven to earth.

Final Word

In the next post, I will explore in greater detail what Christ’s Ekklesia is called to do. Let’s just say, for now, that Jesus is passionate about the Ekklesia and has zeal for what He is building. More to come!

1 A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, Mythology, Religion, Literature and Art By Oskar Seyffer; pg. 203

2 Ekklesia Rising: The Authority of Christ in Communities of Contending Prayer by Dean Briggs pg. 111

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Greg Simas
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Oscar Gomez
4 years ago

Pastor Greg,
In Spanish, the word Iglesia is almost always used to describe the building where the faithful meet to worship, pray and study God’s word. So the Spanish speaking cultures have also lost the true perspective on the meaning and purpose of Ekklesia.


4 years ago

Great thoughts, Greg. I recently wrote a book about ekklesia. Check it out @ http://amzn.to/2wp4GrB

3 years ago

Hey Greg, your article is on point. I started doing a teaching series on Prayer in my congregation, and this topic of the Ekklesia is coming up for me to teach on. I have gotten the revelation, but wanted to find materials to support the teaching. I believe Jesus came for the purpose of returning us to a position of rulership. I am so excited to see that everything you said in this article is a confirmation of what God has shown me in the spirit, I just did not have the words to express it. Thank you for sharing,… Read more »

3 years ago

Hi Greg, I’ve been disconnected from the series … but plan on catching up! I appreciate it. Did a podcast recording just yesterday afternoon with a minister and conference speaker who focuses on the prayer movement and the ekklesia influencing culture and government. He’s on the same frequencies! It has struck me this week that Jesus said, “My church/ekklesia” in Matt. 16. Obviously to be understood against the backdrop meaning of the secular ekklesia. I’m believing that in a real sense the Protestant Reformation has never ended. Truths and activity have been restored all along since the Reformers into our… Read more »

Matthew Barron
2 years ago

Hi Greg,
I’m curious about the ekklēsia’s Roman connection. I agree and can confirm all you’ve said about the Greek context, and that we should read its political (governmental) nature into our understanding of the church. What strikes me is how you’ve addressed the ekklēsia in a Roman context. I’m just not finding much information about the Roman ekklēsia (Latin, ecclesia). What terms should I be looking for when searching Roman contexts? (Should I look for uses of the word ‘comitia’ instead?)

Jose A. Vea, Jr.
2 years ago

Hi Greg,
I was one of the few who are privileged to attend the Seminar in Baguio, Phil.
I am currently an Ass. D.S. in our district an AoG. and i was ask ti prepare a series lesson concerning our local churches and i presented your note and everyone is excited when i toldd about the seminar … if i MAY REQUEST A WORD FORMAT COPY OF THE Ekklesia emerging.

James Waters
10 months ago

Thank you for your teaching on this. However, I kept waiting for you to actually plug the correct word into Matthew 16:18. Would that be: “Upon this rock, I will build my ekklesia. Would this be the accurate English translation, or should it be translated :”Upon this rock, I will build my congregation (or assembly, etc…).”

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