It is important to have a simple definition of "disciple" and "church", in order to know who we are supposed to be in Christ and how we should expect to relate with others in Christ.

What is a disciple?

The meaning of the word disciple is a follower. A disciple is a follower of God. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me." So in God’s kingdom, Jesus is our King. We are His citizens, subjects of His will. His desires, purposes, intentions, priorities and values are the highest and best. His Word is the law.

What is the law of the kingdom? What does Jesus tell His citizens to do?

Jesus taught that God’s commands from the Old Testament, i.e. all the law and the prophets, can be summarized in these two things: Love God and Love People.

Jesus also commanded us to make disciples and teach them to obey all that He commanded. Since making disciples includes teaching them all that Jesus commanded, the New Testament can be summarized in this one thing: Make Disciples.

Therefore, a disciple is a follower of Jesus who loves God, loves people and makes disciples.

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What is a church?

You may be used to thinking of the church as a building - a place where you go. But God’s Word talks about the church as a gathering - a people you belong to.

The word “church” is used in the Bible three different ways:

  • the universal church -- all the people who were, are and will ever be followers of Jesus
  • the city or regional church -- all the people who follow Jesus and live in or around a certain area of the world
  • the church at home -- all the people who follow Jesus and meet where one or more of them live

Simple churches are spiritual families with Jesus as their center and their King. They are spiritual families who love God, love others and make disciples. When groups of these simple churches connect to do something bigger together, they can form a city or regional church. The universal church is made up of all the simple churches networked together into regions and stretches across history.

Ask Yourself

  1. When you think of a church, what comes to mind?
  2. What's the difference between that picture and what's described in the video as a 'Simple Church'?
  3. Which one do you think would be easier to multiply and why?

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