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In defining the "church," we tend to focus on the literal definition of the word ekklesia, which actually means an "assembly" or "congregation" of people. However, this definition is too narrow when we observe the way believers functioned in the New Testament world. Biblical writers used the word to describe Christians whether they were gathered for worship and practicing certain rituals or scattered throughout a particular community-in their homes, at work, shopping, visiting relatives, or recreating at the local spa. Furthermore, each believing family in a given community, ideally speaking, was to be the "church in miniature" and the father the primary spiritual leader (1 Timothy 3:4-5). In order to understand the scriptural meaning of the local church, we must think in terms of people in relationship-not structures, not meeting places, not buildings. New Testament writers used three basic concepts almost exclusively to describe the church as God's people in community. They were called disciples, brothers, and saints.