"To Love God, Love Each Other, and Love the World."
From Traditional Church… to Ekklesia
The Bridge Community was “attracting” other Christians, but they were not reaching the unchurched of the Bay Area.
Meanwhile, Andy and Jenny started another group on the street where they lived. The people in this group never wanted to attend Andy and Jenny’s “traditional church,” but they loved meeting together. When they gathered in a living room they would talk about God, sing, and pray together. At times they even pooled their resources together to help people who were in need. Then it dawned on Andy and Jenny: God was blessing the living room–again.
This experience gave Andy and Jenny and the leadership at The Bridge Community an idea.
What if instead of asking people to come to their church, they brought church to them? What if they held church in neighborhoods and homes instead of a religious building? Additionally, what if the whole church moved back into their homes and started communities of faith there? Was there precedent for this, they asked? Was there Biblical support? The answer was an emphatic–Yes!
That’s where the vision of ekklesia comes in.
In the Bible, ekklesia (the New Testament word for “church”) never refers to a religious building. Ekklesia always means a community of people gathered together in God’s presence. Moreover, this community can gather at any time or place. For example, they can meet in a home, town square or the countryside. Plain and simple, according to the New Testament, an ekkleisa is the gathered and scattered people of God.
As a result of this revelation, the leadership of The Bridge Community made a radical decision. After much prayer and seeking the Lord, they decided to cancel their traditional Sunday morning service and move into house churches. These house churches (called “ekklesias”) would meet all over the South Bay and on different days and nights of the weeks. Then, all the house churches would gather together once a month to worship, learn, pray, and participate in Communion together. Thus The Bridge Community was born–again!
Since then, the blessing has been remarkable. As a result of moving into homes, The Bridge Community has experienced more engagement, connection, and transformation in people’s lives than before. Also, they have experienced a seismic increase in their answers to prayer. They are seeing people healed, redeemed, and delivered. They believe that the increase of answered prayer is due to more people using their spiritual gifts and praying together. Lastly, The Bridge Community is seeing more unchurched people join them. The Bridge Community now takes the gospel to people rather than waiting for people to come to “church”.
The vision of The Bridge Community is to see ekklesias in homes, offices, schools, and neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area and beyond. They believe that the Spirit is doing a new thing in connecting people in community through Jesus’ ekklesia. The Bridge Community welcomes all who want to participate in what God is doing in the Bay Area.