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Ecclesia Assemblies

God instructs His people to assemble together:

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Heb. 10:23-25)

What sort of assemblies, though, are these? We are told to consider one another and to provoke unto love and good works. (Provoke: to incite or stimulate to action). We are told to exhort one another. (Exhort: to urge, advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently.) We are not told here to sit quietly and listen to a sermon that is being preached.

The picture is one of vigorous, active communication between believers. These words show us something of the importance of communication. God says that we need to interact together with fellow believers, that we must not be isolated individuals that attempt to do God’s work alone. He says that we need each other, not just for company but also for the stimulation, urging, advice, caution, and admonition we can supply each other, as we discuss our thoughts and plans together.

This kind of communication is at the heart of the ecclesia community! It’s not restricted to special times or occasions; it’s ongoing at many different levels. It may be scheduled but more often spontaneous. Assemblies can be larger or smaller; even two or three gathered together in His name are awarded Christ’s presence (Matt. 18:20).

God created us as gregarious creatures that need each other for more than just moral support. We are diverse in many ways and have very different skill sets. Even two or three fellow believers interacting together can help each other to grow in the knowledge of God and to stay on track when we tend to wander off into foolish pursuits as we are wont to do.

God’s gifts are spread out among His people and their benefits are released in assemblies, especially assemblies in which all are free to contribute. The ecclesia communities provide an environment in which assemblies of varying numbers of individuals can form spontaneously.

They can meet as a plenary assembly to conduct any business that required a decision from the entire ecclesia. It should meet regularly, at least on each Lord’s Day, to discuss concerns or recommendations from the membership. This would likely include a time of praise and corporate worship.

Some meetings would be open to visitors and others restricted to members. Meetings should be structured so as to provide as much freedom of expression as possible to each member. The presence of the Holy Spirit within each member must be recognized and given the freedom to guide the discussion and the decision process.

The assemblies of the renewed ecclesia communities will differ from today’s typical church meetings in several ways. Some of the possible differences are:

• The assembly is not a forum in which a few individuals dominate and control the activity. Elders might be more visible but only because they are the more knowledgeable members and would likely do much of the teaching; they might also be responsible for presiding over most meetings.

• It is the forum in which issues involving the entire community are addressed and decisions are made. These may include differences of understanding or opinion on theological or other matters. There may be discussion and votes taken to determine the will of the community.

• It is a teaching platform for the presentation of viewpoints or information on any subject of interest to the community.

• It may be employed to present alternative theological perspectives, including the views of other ecclesia communities.

• Access to the speaker’s podium for preaching or discussing issues is open to all members. Elders, with the approval of the ecclesia, would prioritize and schedule accordingly.

• Meetings are scheduled with sufficient time available for issues to be raised from the floor. Meetings are not closed until there is unanimous agreement to do so.

Other differences based on the fundamental concept of the equality of all believers under Christ may be added.