Beyond predictable religion to unpredictable, untamed ekklesia (quotes)

Church is caught in continual predictability, perpetually presenting the same basic program week after week. That’s one reasons millions of people are leaving church and calling themselves “Dones.”

However, the Greek New Testament concept of ekklesia is never the same from week to week. Ekklesia knows that life’s most predictable moments are seldom inspiring; and that life’s most inspiring moments are moments are seldom predictable. If it’s ekklesia it can’t be predictable; and if it’s predictable it can’t be ekklesia. Check out these unpredictable quotations:

“Jesus Himself was untamed.” –Mark Batterson (So why should we maintain such tame sameness in church services?)

“Christians should be ready for a change because Jesus was the greatest changer in history.” –Ralph Abernathy  (So why not open up church and allow the living, resurrected Jesus Christ to change it?)

“The beauty of inspiration is its unpredictable timing.” –T.F. Hodge (Predictability tends to reduce inspiration to boredom.)

“I’m reminded today how unpredictable God can be.” –Francesca Battistelli (So why don’t we allow God to be unpredictable when we gather in His name?)

“God is predictably unpredictable.” –R. T. Kendall (That may be why we have made church so predictable — to avoid God’s unpredictablity.)

“Jesus says God isn’t like a gumball machine; He’s more like the wind: unpredictable, uncontrollable.” –Skye Jethani (So why do we often portray Jesus as bland and predictable?)

“God’s word is unpredictable in its power… The church has to accept this unpredictability of the word.” –Pope Francis (Amen, Pope Frances. Let’s go beyond church as usual and allow church services to flow in Jesus’ unpredictablity.”)

“I looked at mass like a puppet show with a totally predictable story line.” –Frans de Waal (Isn’t it time to allow the living God to personally write and direct the “story line” when we gather in His name?)

“Be unpredictable, be real, be interesting. Tell a good story.” –James Dashner (What a challenge for churches. Perhaps having the same man speak the same length of time each week is too predictable and partly responsible for the ongoing decline in church membership in the 21st Century.)

“There was nothing about it that was as I expected, nothing was predictable . . . Every time I thought they were going one way, they went another.” –James Woods (This quote makes a beautiful description of the Greek New Testament concept of ekklesia.)

“I do find a certain fascination with the unpredictable.” –Gordon Parks (So it seems do most people, except, perhaps, the highly religious.)

“As soon as things become predictable, they become boring.” –Hunter Parish (Exactly. Would you want to watch a sporting event where they handed you a bulletin that told you ahead of time, everything that was going to happen in the game? So why do we do that to people in church?)

“Once you become predictable, no one’s interested anymore.” –Chet Atkins (Now that’s some real wisdom from Nashville and Country Music! Church could learn a lot from Chet.)

“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” –Eleanor Roosevelt (If that’s true about life, perhaps it is also true about church services.)

“Love withers with predictability; it’s very essence is surprise and amazement. To make love a prisoner of the mundane is to take its passion and lose it forever.” –Leo F. Buscaglia (Perhaps church also “withers with predictability.” The very essence of the New Testament ekklesia “is surprise and amazement.” Check out 1 Corinthians 14:26 and see for yourself.)

“One of the things I love is books that surprise me, that are not predictable.” –George R.R. Martin (Perhaps people would also prefer surprise and unpredictability in church.)

Would you like to go beyond predictable church to unpredictable ekklesia? If so here are two suggestions:

  1. If you are ever in Nashville, Tennessee visit the ekklesia meeting at The Salvation Army Berry Street on Sunday mornings at 10:45 — 225 Berry St., 37207 — where instead of a one-man sermon, ordinary people show and tell what God has done as they feel prompted by the Holy Spirit.
  2. Learn to experience exciting ekklesia (in your city or town) where everyday people enthusiastically proclaim (as prompted by the Spirit) the exhilarating things that God has done by getting (and reading) my new book Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible–Ekklesia available on Amazon at this link.



About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @
This entry was posted in Bible, Catholic mass, Chet Akins, church, country music, ekklesia, Eleanor Roosevelt, Francesca Battistelli, Frans de Waal, George R.R. Martin, Gordon Parks, Greek New Testament, house church, James Dashner, James Woods, Jesus Christ, Leo F. Buscaglia, Mark Batterson, Nashville, New Testament, organic chruch, Pope Francis, R.T. Kendall, Ralph Abernathy, simple church, Skye Jethani, T.F. Hodge, Uncategorized, unpredictable and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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