The journey has been long and these tenets of Ekklesia Life that you are about to read have come at a great price. Before coming to these convictions, many of us spent years learning how to do church according to the religious system. Some of us even have Master and Doctorate degrees to prove it. In those days our lives were focused on adding new techniques, traditions, and methods to our practice so we could achieve “Church Growth”.
Today we would rather be loved and approved by the Lord than be liked and esteemed by men. We understand that we are swimming upstream and against the current of the majority.
Since having come to the revelation that something is intrinsically wrong with the religious system, it seems like we are daily convicted to unload some type of religious baggage. Whether it happens fast like the shedding of a snake or slow like the peel of an onion, the Holy Spirit says, “It’s time for change.”
During the process we have come to understand that certain traditions have no foundation in New Creation Life so they must go. The Spirit is continuously revealing the emptiness of those things we once participated in and strove for.
“What a change! Thirty years ago I thought I knew everything and had no questions. The older I get the less I feel I know of the Awesome God who created the Heavens and the Earth.” J.L. Bosque
Below are some of these convictions, and to properly understand them you need to hear what we are about to say:
- We understand that each of us is uniquely gifted and has been given a diverse emphasis to strengthen His Body.
- We also understand, that while we may be out of the system, the system may not yet be completely out of us.
- Different saints are in different places on this journey.
- Knowing how utterly confused we were at one time should give us the grace to be patient with each other.
- I do not need to believe like you do to love you and have fellowship with you.
As you will read our love for each other must come before our desire to be in complete agreement concerning these things. While many of the concepts written below would be considered deep by the average Christian, we have purposely chosen to write them in everyday language.
Basic Tenets of Ekklesia Life
A. Our Journey
- Born from Above
We are people who have experienced a New Birth. This is not “a raising of the hands and coming to the front of a building” but a confrontation of flesh and Spirit and surrender to the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The Lord has come to indwell us via the Holy Spirit. We have begun to live eternal life in the Spirit here on earth.
2. Led by the Holy Spirit
Those walking in Ekklesia Life seek to do only what the Father is doing. We want to be guided by God the Spirit from sunrise to sunset. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor and the Keeper of our faith. We are Rhema (His Daily Voice) focused, not just Bible trained. Everything in our relationship with the Lord is based on our ability to hear His voice clearly. This is both personal and corporate.
Baptism is a physical manifestation (public) of an inward change by a believer. Each believer should seek to publicly give the Lord glory after His personal desire to follow Christ. We don’t believe in baptism classes or catechisms. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to finish the work the Father begins in us. Whenever possible that baptism should be by immersion and can be administered by any saint, preferably the one the Lord used to be a witness to the new believer.
As difficult as it may be to understand God’s sovereignty and the human desire to see it as progressive steps, salvation and sanctification are all part of the same process. It is all one journey that began in us before time began and before we were in our mother’s womb. Continued growth and maturity come from a revelation of the grace and goodness of God, not from human attempts at sin management. The Lord is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Scripture says that, “He who began a good work in us will finish it.”
- Daily Communion
Seeking a daily communion with the Lord and with each other is the Way. Living in Christ is a lifestyle, not a religious observance or just a weekly gathering. We partake of the Lord’s supper by direction of the Holy Spirit, and any saint may administer the wine and bread. We do not believe anything happens when a priest/pastor presents it to God no matter how many bells & whistles are sounded.
B. Our Community
- A Relational Community
The goal of the Gospel is face-to-face community where Christ-centered relationships can deepen. We believe that only through active vibrant relationships can the life of the Church happen. Community is found in the 21st Century wherever saints intentionally care for one another. It is our desire to live Ekklesia Life together well.
- Love for the Brethren
We believe in authentic relationships and real caring one for another. We are our brother’s keeper. Everything we do in the Kingdom must first begin with our love for one another. We seek to love without any hidden or personal agenda. Real love happens when the concerns of others are as important to us as our own.
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- The Unity of the Body
The unity of the Body of Christ is not based on doctrinal agreement but on the love we have for the Lord and for each other. The unity of the Lord already exists among the Trinity and can’t be created or upgraded by bringing us all into one place (geographical proximity). Together (time & place) is not necessarily united. The same Holy Spirit indwells and guides every born-from-above Christ follower, so the Lord Himself brings us into unity.
- A Kingdom Family
Together we are a Kingdom of Priests with only one King, King Jesus. We have no divisions based on race, gender, nationality, or language. We are multi-generational in scope, respecting our elders and helping the next generation. We are not servants, but we are sons and daughters who serve His purposes in this world. We are composed of many relational families forming part of the same Body of Christ. We are His ambassadors on earth today.
- One Global Church
Understanding we form one Body of the Lord Jesus Christ and only one church universal throughout the world, we are all members of that Body with no local membership. We have no divisions based on name, doctrine, language, or denominations. While what we see with our eyes fights what we believe in the Spirit, the Lord is building His church, and it advances toward the goal of a Bride which will be ready at His return without spot or wrinkle.
C. Our Gatherings
- Daily Emphasis
The emphasis of our gatherings is daily. We gather and assemble every day in our jobs, schools, stores, and our homes. We also have gatherings that are weekly, monthly, and yearly as orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. We believe, that whenever and wherever 2 or 3 saints are gathered, the Lord is among us.
- No “Services”
The Lord Jesus performed that last service unto Father God on the cross of Calvary. The New Testament knows nothing about a “worship service,” but it does say that we should offer ourselves for His service 24/7. New Testament gatherings were simply saints coming together to show love to one another for the sole purpose of the mutual edification of the Body of Christ. We worship the Lord daily with our living example of Christ’s Life before this world.
- The Priesthood of Every Believer
All of us are priests before the Lord. No middlemen exist between us and God except God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that the current definitions of “Pastor” and “Priest” are human inventions. Scripture says we are a kingdom of priests calling us to exercise that priesthood as a family together.
- We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit
It’s not about buildings vs. houses. There is no such thing as a sacred building. Those original gatherings had nothing to do with buildings. The early church was a poor persecuted church made up of simple slaves and common people. Until the Roman emperor Constantine came into power and meddled with the church, the ekklesia of God met anywhere and everywhere, from house to house, and owned no real estate that they would call “the Church Building.”
- The Lord adds to the Church
Together we affirm that the present form of evangelism of bringing people to a building to raise their hand and sign a card was alien to first century ekklesia. The Lord himself using the testimony of His people adds followers of Christ to the Body. People ask us, “What must I do to be saved?” not vice versa. We believe in taking the Good News of the gospel where it has not yet been preached, but once there are converts, the Lord will raise up their own native Ekklesia Life.
C. Our Leadership
1. We believe His Church is under the Headship of the Lord Jesus
The Lord is building His Church. The Lord oversees and guides all our gatherings via the Holy Spirit. We all have a tendency like Israel did to want a visible leader at the helm, but we must resist this desire with every fiber of our being. We must show by our practice that Jesus is welcome to be our only Leader. We believe that together we can hear His voice in every situation.
2. We don’t Believe in Professional Hierarchical Leadership
Five-fold gifts are functions not positions; therefore, we are all brothers and sisters, and we don’t use titles. We have no paid, professional hierarchical leadership. We are all clergy (“kleros”), the inheritance of the Lord. Church history reveals an inordinate focus on leaders at the cost of the erosion of Spirit-driven body-life. The New Testament, on the other hand, unfolds 58 one another’s and zero about “the pastor” up front. Any leadership that exists in His Body should be the living example of the mature saint whose life says, “follow Christ like I follow Christ.”
D. Our Giving
- Total Equity of Goods.
This means having all things in common in reference to material possessions. We believe in voluntary Spirit-driven sharing between the rich and poor for the common good. In the early ekklesia, people shared and gave so that “there was no needy person among them.” We don’t want to invest in buildings but in people. Our focus is instead to use our finances to give voluntarily, corporately, and personally to those that society neglects and those among us who are totally given to serve the Body of Christ.
- We are Joyful Givers
We understand that tithing is an Old Testament concept and therefore not valid for a New Covenant believer. We seek to help the widows, the orphans, and the needy as directed by the Holy Spirit. We also voluntarily give to those who travel to train and equip the Body worldwide. We don’t believe in the many forms of fundraising from the lost. We believe that we are to focus first on helping the family of brothers/sisters around us who have needs.
E. Other Beliefs
- We Reject the Present Religious System
As believers we have the conviction that the present Religious System is irreparable from within. While some good things happen there, God’s redemptive grace is not His approval of spiritual dysfunction. Many who continue to participate in it are our brothers and sisters, but they must come to their own revelation concerning the futility of building upon that kind of “humanly-invented” foundation. We were all once in it and understand how blind one can be who is heavily invested in it.
Upton Sinclair said it best: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
- Our End-Time Beliefs
As believers we are not looking to leave this earth (Rapture), but to occupy until The Lord comes. We daily seek His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. We desire to impact and transform the world around us with the Good News and the example of our life in Christ. It is the Lord’s purpose that now in this age the ekklesia should display His multi-faceted wisdom in a counter-cultural New Humanity.
- We Seek to Abide in Him
We are not seeking a momentary visitation of His presence. We are not after a feeling. We desire to be continuously filled by His Holy Spirit every second of every day. This filling can’t be conjured up because we sing a few songs and call it worship. We worship Him daily with our life and witness. We are the habitation of the Lord. He lives in us and we live in Him corporately.
Growth, Change, Maturity, Clarity, Direction, and Revelation continue. We have not arrived!
We want to emphasize That “living ekklesia life together well” trumps what you have just read and what we have put together from our hearts. As you know when you follow a trail it only gives a general direction, and it doesn’t force you to step in the exact footstep’s others have before you, nor are you forced to follow the same signals. The Lord is your ultimate guide and the Spirit is your Keeper. We are only equippers of His body for Christ’s sake.
As pioneers we have undertaken this task to assist you in your journey. We wrote these tenets of Ekklesia Life down to mark the trail for others to follow unto the fullness of the stature of the man Christ Jesus as He has been revealed to us.
Jose L. Bosque with
Jon Zens, George Dunn, Stephen Crosby, David Fredrickson, and Michael Rose