The following is an excerpt from Theology for the Community of God by Stanley J. Grenz.
“On fountainhead for the conclusion that the church is a covenant people lies with the Greek word, ekklesia, which the New Testament writers commonly used to designate the church. The term arises from a verb kaleo (“to call”) plus the preposition ek (“out of”). On this etymological basis, many theologians conclude that the idea of “the called out ones” inheres in the resulting noun ekklesia.”
“The choice of ekklesia as the designation of the Christian community suggests that the New Testament believers viewed the church as neither an edifice nor an organization. They were a people – a people brought together by the Holy Spirit – a people bound to each other through Christ – hence, a people standing in covenant with God. Above all, they were God’s people (2 Cor. 6:16).”
God chooses and preserves for himself a community elected for eternal life and united by faith, who love, follow, learn from, and worship God together. God sends out this community to proclaim the gospel and prefigure Christ’s kingdom by the quality of their life together and their love for one another.