ECCLESIA@HOME The last reformation calls for a new ecclesia. It requires a new way for believers to come together and form the wineskin able to hold the new wine of the gospel of Christ. At New Earth we call this new wine skin “Ecclesia@home”, a phrase coined by the late Tom Gouws. In line with the early church as documented in the book of Acts, we believe that ordinary households provide the perfect space for believers to assemble and break bread. The word translated as “church” in the New Testament, is the Greek word oikos, meaning household.
A few Ecclesia@home guidelines are as follows:
- We find that God continuously opens new territories (new earth) where He wants to plant His church (oikos). These territories are not limited to specific geographical areas, but can include any sphere of society. An Ecclesia@home-oikos can therefore be established in any town, city or district. It can also be established in the field of engineering for instance, or medicine, a company, a school, or wherever a door is opened in the Lord (2Cor2:12).
- When God has opened such a door, a contact visit with Ecclesia@home can be arranged. The contact person/s can invite interested parties to attend the gathering/meeting. Through the New Earth network we then also invite people in the area, or those with a shared interest. After such a contact visit, the Spirit of God often creates a need for spiritual intimacy and continued association amongst those who attended the gathering. Through consultation with the person who stood up as leader/forerunner, follow-up visit/s are arranged. Oftentimes, and God willing, an Ecclesia@home-oikos is born!
- We believe that when God opens a new territory, He will also reveal his specific vision, redemptive purpose and divine mandate. Taking these into account, the foundation of the oikos is then laid by apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:19-22).
- An Ecclesia@home-oikos is established by New Earth through the fivefold ministry (Eph4:11-13). In due course, and as the oikos matures, elders are identified and confirmed. The elders, in close relationship with the Ecclesia@home apostolic fathers, take responsibility for the spiritual care of the ecclesia. They guide the members in their journey of being built up and joined together into a living temple. If any challenges arise within the Ecclesia@home-household, which the elders do not feel comfortable in handling, they can call on the apostolic fathers for assistance. It is very important that we continuously test our doctrine to be sure we remain established in the pure and “present truth” (2Pet.1:12).
- The task of the elders is beautifully explained in 1Pet 5:2-3 (Amp), and it is our responsibility at New Earth and Ecclesia@home to make sure that this is indeed the case: “Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully; Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation).”
- The new earth provided by every oikos, provide a space and an opportunity where the Body of Christ can assist people across all of society in coming to the “unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;”
- An ecclesia@home-oikos is not a detached group of individuals who are not committed to the mandate or each other. Like any household the members need to become a family, related through our common focus of doing the will of the Father (Mar3:35). It is important to note, that God Himself adds every member to the ecclesia (Act. 5:14).
- If the Spirit has moved your heart to start an Ecclesia@home-oikos, please feel free to contact us and discuss your vision and ideas. We can then arrange a possible contact visit. Keep in mind that we are not set on large numbers – if a few people have the desire to move together, it is sufficient.
Our legitimacy within God’s agenda is the degree to which we faithfully exercise our apostolic mandate.
In His service,
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