Repost: Originally posted on LifeCity Church - Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Why we don't use campus
Ok, maybe I am a stickler, but the word 'campus' when describing a Church irks me. Campus has become the common word to describe a Church gathering or service when it is part of a wider Church that meets in different locations. I guess that is fine, sort of... well actually...hmmm...
The language we use in life reflects and creates. It reflects our culture, our history, our worldview. Not only does it reflect but it creates and shapes. It reinforces deep held convictions, helps to teach and reframe the way we see something.
At LIFECITY CHURCH Canberra and Queanbeyan we say of our shape as a Church that we are ''//ONE CHURCH expressing ourself in multiplying community based and focused Churches”
We value our unity as //ONE Church, yet we don't want to downplay the validity of each local gathering.
When one lands on the LIFECITY CHURCH website we can look confusing, not because it is inaccurate, but largely because superficially we can appear like a larger Church with multiple 'campuses'.
Some people come from a large Church with multiple locations which are called 'campuses'. This creates expectation, that let's be honest we often cannot and do not always intend to meet those expectations.
At LIFECITY CHURCH Canberra and Queanbeyan we do not use campus, such is a specific and intentional decision. Our language not only reflects who we are but acts to shape who we are and will become.
In general society, the word 'Campus' is primarily associated with 'education' and infrastructure'. The Dictionary describes Campus as
1. the grounds, often including the buildings, of a college, university, or school.
2.a college or university: The large influx of older students radically changed many campuses t throughout the country.
3.a division of a university that has its own grounds, buildings, and faculty but is administratively joined to the rest of the university.
4.the world of higher education: Foundation grants have had a marked effect on the character of the American campus.
5. a large, usually suburban, landscaped business or industrial site.
Particularly in a City with a number of University Campuses it is important we clarify the difference between the Church and a University facility.
Campus is clearly insufficient to describe a community of believers that worship's God together, engage's his word, that spur one another onto the call of God.
What do we use?
Yep, Church, maybe casually 'gathering' or 'location' (for geographic reasons) but really Church is sufficient.
When Jesus said “I will build my Church (ecclesia) and the gates of hell will not overcome it” (Matt 16:18b) he used a word familiar to the greek mindset. If a Greek person were to read this they would “immediately think of the Ecclesia in Athens, the great gathering of the people. It expressed the operation of the self governing Greek state or City. A distinct assembly.”
Some have tried to make arguments about the original meaning and language of Church - 'Circe' - which was a building used for religious purposes, however since the 1300's English translations have used it as the equivalent of the greek word Ecclesia. As such, 'Church' no longer maintains that old English and Latin root but rather it's practical root is Ecclesia.
An Ecclesia is a gathering of people with a specific purpose, the implication of such being they have 'come out' (of where they were) they 'come together' (physically and in purpose) and they will 'go out' in that purpose.
Ecclesia is the same word used in the Septuagint – the Greek translation of the Old Testament for the assembly of Israel when called together by God in places such as Duet 18:16. It is also the same word used to describe the Assembly of people that come together in The Great Theatre in Acts 19 to campaign against Paul and the Gospel.
Jesus, in using Ecclesia is immediately creating a 'counter' to other 'ecclesia's. HIS Ecclesia.
As the scriptures continue, the usage of 'Church' broadens from simply a localised gathering (1 Thes 1:1 1 Cor 4:17, 2 Cor 11:8) , to the unified believers in a City or region and ultimately to the Universal Church worldwide and throughout all time (Eph 1:22. Col 1:18).
It is correct to use Church to speak of the //South Church that meets in Namadgi School on a Sunday morning, the Church in Canberra (irrelevant of Denomination of tag) the Church in Australia and the Church Globally.
The Church is a community of people that are Christ's
The Church is a community on Christ's mission
The Church is a community that strives in the power of the Spirit to live according to the word of God
“ONE CHURCH expressing ourself in multiplying community based and focused Churches”