The English word “church” in the Bible is a translation of the Greek word “ekklesia” which means “a gathering of people”. Ekklesia was not a religion term. It was a word that was used to refer to people gathered for civil purposes; it was used for a group of soldiers who were gathered for military purposes. Ekklesia is simply an assembly of people who are gathered for a particular purpose, it never referred to a specific place only a specific gathering.
In the early days, Christian gatherings were relatively informal. Believers used to meet at home and celebrated their beliefs in Jesus. After having a meal, they read scripture, they discussed theology and prayed.
After some time, in 313 AD Christianity was legalized and became the state religion of the once pagan Roman empire. Then Christianity spread very fast, and people needed a place for gathering, home meetings and ceremonies were becoming obsolete. So the Romans started building gathering places called a Basilica, which in Latin means a public building or an official meeting place. Then some cultures began to use the word “kirika” which later became “kirche”. The word meant “house of the Lord” and was used to refer to any ritual gathering place. This word became used more and more often.
After this brief history lesson about Church let’s get to the central questions, “What is the Church and why do people go there?”. Church is a place a building where people come to experience something that is bigger than themselves. A Church is a place where people gather together to build community and proclaim the name of Jesus.
The Church is a place where you go to be uplifted, filled with wisdom, strength and to be renewed. A Church is a place where you pray, where you are encouraged to take responsibilities for your actions and be truthful. It is a place where the Bible is preached and read, a place where you can learn more about Jesus.
Church is a place where you can go individually and collectively. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship. But we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.” Going to Church is a positive example. It is an example that others notice, and you inspire people to go. When the people you know see this, see that you have a commitment, a commitment that is leading you to a better life, they will follow.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi
Want to find out more about the Church and what it does? Read “What is mass?” here.