Church is the plural of disciple
Matthew 28:16-20 | Acts 11:19-26
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’
19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
“MacDonalds make hamburgers. Cadburys make chocolate. Starbucks make coffee. Heineken make beer. Toyota make cars. Rolex make watches. And the church of Jesus Christ makes disciples. That is our core business. That is what we are about. Make disciples – followers of Jesus.” Archbishop of Bishop of York
As the gospel takes root, and as people are baptised into Christ, they also need to be taught to live life in Christ as his student and apprentice. Churches should be schools of theology in practice as well as doctrine. Churches are places and communities of life-long learning and shaping into the likeness of Christ. There is no such thing as an individual disciple of Christ. We belong to each other, and we need each other to become all that God has ordained for us to become.
Discipleship is about us steadily becoming transformed into the likeness of Jesus the Messiah and it is a communal process. It is about participating in his life as fully as possible. While many churches desire to produce disciples, few have a clear understanding or a deliberate and intentional method for how this happens. Here at St Mary’s, we want to be a church that routinely organises our common life together around practices and beliefs that naturally and consistently produce active whole-life intentional disciples.
To this end we want to become a community where we share a commitment to lifelong personal growth, to accountability, to prayer, and to discipline.
Take away – Our transformation into Christlikeness comes from our engagement with him and investing in practices that draw us deeper into him and the benefits of the gospel. Helping each other on the path of discipleship, of transformation, is one of the most enjoyable and meaningful activities any of us can participate in.