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The demand for church

From the February 2005 issue of The Christian Science Journal

In the early days of the Christian community, the Greek word for church signified a coming together of people for a specific Christian purpose. Ekklesia captured the true sense of church, meaning at its root to be "called" together or the "called out" people. It defined a fellowship of Christian believers who had answered the call to follow in the way of Jesus Christ.

Jesus himself had told his disciples that they should go "into all the world" Mark 16:15. to do the good works he had taught them. They were to take an active part in their communities, showing themselves to be living testaments to all the good that they had witnessed Jesus do for humanity. This meant spreading the gospel everywhere and bringing spiritual healing to those who were sick in body or in mind.

This gospel—or good news that God's kingdom was closer than anyone could ever imagine—would change the hearts of men and women and, in turn, the world. As Peter, John, Paul, and other early Christians took the message of Christ's teachings and healing ministry throughout ancient Judea and the Mediterranean coast, the early Christian church grew town by town and city by city—in Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, Lystra, Derbe, Damascus, Antioch, and even Rome. It was as though the people were just waiting to receive this message of love and to know the healing presence of God in their lives.

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