Prepare for Effective Discipleship Ministry

God has a great work for us to accomplish, the Great Commission. As Jesus was about to ascend into heaven, he told his disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” If we are to be effective in making disciples, we need to prepare spiritually for the work ahead. Here are several areas in which we need to prepare ourselves as believers.

Area #1: Put off the Old Self and Put on the New Self
Paul tells us to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. We shouldn’t be concerned with the things of this world, but instead with the eternal. That’s why we need to set aside our old selves (how we used to act before coming to know Christ), and instead live with a new mind that is renewed in Christ.

Before we go out and make disciples, we need to make sure we are following Christ’s path ourselves. So, Paul would tell us to put to death the things that distract us, the things that would hold us back from a genuine pursuit of God. This could include anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lying. Instead, we need renew our minds and to put on the new self that is completely surrendered to the Holy Spirit (Colossians 3:1-11). When we do this, we will be more concerned with serving others than just making a name for ourselves.

Area #2: Practice Love
Going with the theme of putting on the new self, Paul challenges us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. This involves how we treat people. Discipleship requires grace and forgiveness.

As a church, we must be concerned with what we can do to remain unified. Too many churches have been torn apart because of disagreements that led to disunity. Love binds us together. As we submit to God’s word and let it dwell in us, we will find our love for others renewed (Colossians 3:12-17). We won’t feel the need to wear masks around other people, because grace melts masks.

As you renew your mind in God’s word and love others around you, God will open up amazing opportunities for ministry.

Area #3: Make the Most of Every Opportunity
Paul tells us to walk in wisdom when it comes to outsiders, making the most of every opportunity. This involves letting our speech be seasoned with salt, so we know how to answer others. We need to ask God for help with speaking clearly, with wisdom, and with grace (Colossians 4:2-6). 

As you look at these three areas, which do you need to focus on in your life at this time? Maybe you are struggling with a sin, and you need to let it go and focus on the things of God. Or maybe you have been hurt by others in your life and are still trying to find the strength to love them as you should. Or maybe you are hesitant to disciple others because you don’t know what to say or how to do it. God wants us to disciple others, but before we can do so, we must learn to manage ourselves well.