This is Simple Church Minute. To the believers in the days of the New Testament, what did the word translated in English as “church” mean? In Acts 19, when the guys who made statues for the sex cult started a riot against Paul because people coming to follow Jesus was putting a dent in their sales, the word Luke used to describe the mob was the same one used other places for church. The word was ekklesia; it meant gathering, assembly, group; it did not have any religious connotation. As the church was illegal, the group of believers who met together to worship Jesus and build up each other was small enough to meet in a home and for each person to know each other and care about each other. It was basically devoid of ritual, unlike any belief the world had seen. Oftentimes, possibly in some areas even daily, they ate simple meals together informally. Assuredly, they talked and got to know each other. Today, in our churches we call this fellowship, which is a synonym with the word communion, which is how they would have understood what, over the centuries, has been made a ritual. The early believers held to what their society would have seen as a quite irreligious religion. You can find out more about simple church at www.hrscn.org.