Week 1: What is the Church?

A Mission-Minded Family Prayer Guide

Learn together  |  watch together  |  Pray Together


learn together

See the people under those trees? That is the church!

Things have been a little different lately.

On Sunday morning you’re probably used to getting up early, hopping in the car with your family and driving to church. (Maybe seeing your friends and eating a donut while you’re there?)

But, the past few weeks we’ve all stayed home.

You might have watched your pastor on your tv—but, if you’re not going to the church building, then what is the church?


 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

–Matthew 18:20 

In Matthew 18, Jesus tells us that the church is people.

People—that’s us! And that’s our friends Banja and Clement sharing the story of Jesus with people under that tree!

The church is not a building. How cool! That means whether you’re at home or under a tree in Africa, together we are the church. 

Speaking of people, there’s someone we want you to meet!

We call him “kaya” for short

This is David Kaya. He’s from a country in Africa called South Sudan.  

In South Sudan there are a lot of people who have never even heard of Jesus. Isn’t that crazy?

Kaya’s dad was a pastor, and Jesus changed Kaya’s life. He wants to make sure everyone else has the chance to know Jesus too. 

Kaya met our friend Mike Congrove over ten years ago. And when Mike heard that there were so many people who didn’t know about Jesus in South Sudan, he wanted to help.

After thinking, prayer and talking to other church planters.  Kaya and Mike started teaching people in Africa how to share the story of Jesus, make disciples and plant churches. 

The more that people share Jesus, the more disciples that are made and that means more churches!  More churches means more people who get to know Jesus!

And that’s just the beginning of the story. Since they started teaching people how to plant churches there are pastors all around South Sudan who are helping the church grow, so more people know Jesus.

You’ll get to learn about some of Kaya’s friends who are planting churches next week!


Want to know something extra fun about Kaya? 


He and his wife, Gloria, have six kids. There are five girls and one boy. 

Can you guess what his son’s name is?

Mike Congrove! That’s right. Kaya named his son after our friend who helped him start planting churches in Africa. And guess what? Our friend Mike Congrove has a daughter with the middle name… Kaya! 



watch together

Hear from David Kaya with an update from Africa and how we can pray together.


pray together

Specific ways to pray together as a family this week:

Pray that God protects those most vulnerable from the Covid-19 virus. Those who are elderly, those who are already sick, those who have no access to medical care.

Pray that God encourages and strengthens local Pastors as they shepherded and lead through this crisis.

• Pray that God uses this time to refresh Empower One’s team for the season ahead.


BONUS (just for Kids!)


When church planters start a church, they don’t look for a building like you and I might go to on Sunday – they look for people. People to meet with and talk about Jesus with. Where they meet doesn’t even matter! They might meet in a home, or under a tree, wherever they find a good spot – the important thing is that they are together talking about God and learning from His Word, the Bible. 

So this week when you are talking with your family about the church, we want you to remember that the church isn’t the place where you meet – the church is the people! YOU are the church!

To help you remember this, try this activity with your family: Make a Paper People Chain

Print out the PDF below, or try it on your own!

Parents! Take a picture of your kids and their people, post and tag @empower_one


Things you’ll need:

One piece of printer paper
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Bonus! Washable markers or crayons.

Step 1: Cut a piece of printer paper in half lengthwise, so it is a 4 1/4” by 11” strip.

Step 2: Now, fold the paper accordion-style into 8 sections (following the gray lines).

Step 3: With the open edge of the folded paper to the right, draw (or use the template below to trace) half a person along the folded edge with arms extending to the open edge.

Step 4: Cut out the person by holding the folded strip firmly and cut carefully around the outline. Do not cut along the folds.

Step 5: Unfold the paper strip to see your chain of people!

Remember: When you see your chain of paper dolls all connected, we hope it reminds you that the church isn’t a building, it’s the PEOPLE! We can’t wait to tell you more next week of how the church is joining hands all around the world to let people know the good news of Jesus!

Join us on this 5-week journey with Empower One leaders to learn what “living on mission” really looks like.

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