Gary Defines Disciplemaking

Let’s talk about what Jesus meant by saying, “go and make disciples.” Also, how do you walk someone into a kingdom life? Last week Deon wrote about life on life disciplemaking. How do you do that?

It might be helpful to lay some groundwork for what kingdom life really means because it is the very essence of the good news!

When talking about the good news of the kingdom two words are often used. Salvation and repentance.

Let’s define what these words actually mean:

Salvation at its very core is a transformational relationship with Jesus (As defined in John 17:3)

Repentance is a turning from an empty life following whatever you're living for, and choosing to follow Christ in a way of life that is remaking the earth.

In the traditional understanding:

Salvation is receiving forgiveness for sins.

Repentance is saying you're sorry for what you've done.  

How we have come to define repentance and salvation traditionally is quite different than what Jesus was actually talking about. There is a big difference between a classical evangelical turn or burn message of the Gospel, which much of America has heard over and over, and an invitation into the Kingdom of God. Or in other words what Jesus talked about as “The Gospel (which means good news) of the Kingdom of God.”

When we look at how Jesus preached the Gospel, or the first disciples, or the early church, how did they do it?  They preached the good news about the Kingdom of God. (Mark 1:14-15, Matt 24:14, etc)  The Kingdom was a NOW invitation to a transformed life of relationship with Jesus - which is the deeper definition of salvation. Repentance was also preached, but in the true meaning of the word, which basically means to turn around from the life you're living and follow The King.

We are burdened for Discipleship. I have seen American youth fall further and further away from knowing Jesus over my lifetime. America has heard the language of repent (which for many now means "say your sorry for what you did") so that you can have salvation (which has come to mean "be saved from hell when you die"). In fact, the vast majority of Americans claim they are Christian and many claim a "born again" experience of "repentance to salvation,” but it makes almost no difference in how they live their life, because the words have lost their meaning.

This all comes down to what the goal is. We believe the goal of Christianity is to see His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth NOW.  We believe that happens when Christ is formed in people, when their actual lives are transformed in relationship with Him, and then they bring His Kingdom into their family, neighborhood, and cities by how they live and love.

I want to encourage you to be carriers of the message of Christ and his Kingdom. I want all of us to pursue and model transformation in their own lives, loving like Jesus with everyone we meet. As we live as the body of Christ, God with skin on, we attest to the King and His Kingdom and we invite others into that.

Salvation, YES, in the John 17 sense of relationship with Christ. Repentance, YES in the Jesus meaning of turn around and follow me. These two words have lost their meaning in America and beyond, and we want to avoid them and communicate the true meaning.

Here is your challenge for the week:

Watch this 6 minute video about making disciples and the Kingdom of God.

Contemplate what it means to let Christ be formed in you and discuss this with someone, what this means for them as well.

If you don’t have anyone to discuss this with please leave a comment to start the discussion right here on

Yours for the journey,

Gary Black