Disciple? Apostle? What’s the Difference?

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“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews…Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you'” (John 20:19, 21).

“What is the difference between a disciple and an apostle?” That was the question posed to me by Coke Smart. Coke asks some very insightful questions.

At the very core, a disciple and an apostle are one and the same person. These two words describe the nature of what it means to be a Christian. These two words describe the direction, progression, and the aim of a Christian. Let me explain.

The Greek is helpful here.

  • The Greek word for disciple is μαθητης – mathetes
    • This literally means a follower, a learner, a disciple
  • The Greek word for apostle is αποστολος apostolos
    • This literally means a sent out one

The pattern of discipleship is demonstrated by the ministry of Jesus. Jesus called the disciples to him in order to teach and equip them for the purposes of sending them out to be his emissaries. Do you see the direction? the aim?

Jesus calls to himself     –>       Jesus      –>     Jesus sends them out with a mission

This pattern continues to repeat and never ends. We are constantly called to be with Christ to grow and learn and be equipped, in order that he can send us out to be his emissaries.

Jesus never calls his disciples for merely the purposes of educating and building up of the individual. The educating and the building up of the disciple is always for the purpose of sending them out.

I find it interesting that we see both in the verses above. Jesus comes to the disciples who have hidden themselves for fear of the Jews (v.19). They were afraid because they saw Jesus die. They no longer had anyone to follow. And without anyone to follow, they were distressed and discouraged.

But once they see the resurrected Christ, and after Jesus breathes the breath of the Holy Spirit unto them, they are commissioned and sent out. As the Father has sent the Son to be good news to a sin-sick world, so Jesus sent out his disciples to proclaim all that Christ has done (v.21).

Guess what the Greek word for “sent” is? That’s right: αποστελεκεν – aposteleken. 

After this moment on, the disciples become fearless and courageous apostles who proclaim the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A disciple and an apostle are one and the same person. If you are a Christian:

  • you are a disciple – one who follows Christ in order to learn and the grow,
  • and you are an apostle – one who is sent out to be Christ’s emissary.

Thanks Coke! That was fun to look at what it means to be a disciple and an apostle.

Best Recipe for Growing As a Christian During the Covid-19 Pandemic

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So how’s this whole social distancing and “Stay Home and Stay Safe” thing working out for ya?

We’ve been at this for about a month and no one is sure when things will start getting back to “normal.”

Here’s the thing: whether we are living our “normal” lives or we are living under the Covid-19 pandemic what God expects from us hasn’t changed one bit. God still expects us to be growing and maturing as Christians. God still expects us to be making an impact for the good and for his kingdom purposes.

God’s will for our lives haven’t changed one bit.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the best recipe for disciples to grow was by prioritizing and committing to Worship, Community, and Service. These three habits of discipleship are still true even though our circumstances have changed.

So, here’s what I am challenging you to think about: How are you committed to and prioritizing Worship, Community, and Service?


  • While worshiping in social isolation is not the same as worshiping as a corporate body, did you know that God absolutely considers this as worship?
  • Worshiping God has more to do with our attitude and our preparation for worship than it does with other external factors. Come on. Admit it. There were times when you were present for worship in the sanctuary, but you were not at all mentally and spiritually present. That’s a problem whether we are meeting in person or by the internet
  • Worship has to do with our attitude and preparation. What is absolutely clear is that God delights to bless us when we show up with the attitude of expectation to meet God. If that’s the case, God will absolutely bless us whether we are meeting at the sanctuary or in our homes


  • The way we have been practicing community is by small groups. The small groups continue to meet
  • If you are not in a small group and would like to be in one for weekly gatherings by Zoom, let us know. We would be happy to include you in one of our many small groups that are meeting
  • At the beginning, I encouraged you to make a list of three people to call every day to check in with them. More than ever, we need to be present in the lives of one another. While we can’t do that in person, we can still be present by using a tool everyone already has: our phones
  • I know. Some of you are not comfortable calling people. But who doesn’t like receiving a hand written note or a card? So, if you’re uncomfortable with making a phone call, write a hand written note or a card to let someone know you are thinking of them
  • Community. There are ways we can stay in touch even though we are in social distancing


  • If God is growing in us, God’s impact is growing through us. That’s how it works. This is true whether we are social distancing or whether we are back to “normal” life
  • The reason why God grows us is so that God’s impact and influence grows in our world
  • So, how do you see God at work in your life to impact the people around you?
  • What are some things you can do to bless the lives of the people around you?

Wouldn’t it be fun and amazing when get back together as a congregation to hear about all the stories of how God used this time of social distancing to grow each of us in our faith journey?


Hidden in Christ…What in the World Does that Mean?

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“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory” (Colossians 3:3-4).

Hidden with Christ? What in the world does that mean?

What a funny way to talk about our faith and our relationship with God.

Have you ever seen a little timid child who hides behind the legs/dress of their parent? The child is still there but all you see is the dress.

Hidden with Christ.

The key to understanding what being hidden with Christ means is in verse 4, “then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”

Then, we’re told. When is “then” referring to? It’s referring to when Christ will be revealed in glory, it refers to the time of judgment.

When those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior stand in judgment, what God will see is Jesus and his righteousness and his glory. We are hidden in Christ. Our sins are hidden in the life and death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

This is such a beautiful truth. Hidden in Christ…I love that imagery! I love that because I’ve got lots to hide…I am far from presentable. But that’s grace. It’s not about what I am capable of. It’s all about what Christ has already done. His grace, righteousness, and glory covers me!

Hidden in Christ.

Thanks be to God!