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“Jesus came and told His disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in Heaven and on earth.
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
Matthew 28:18-20

The final words Jesus said to His followers (and to us believers today) was to go, continue following Him, and to tell others about Jesus, show them how to walk with Him. We call this the Great Commission, and our call is no different today than it was all those years ago: discipleship.

Discipleship isn’t one of the gifts of the Spirit spoken of in Scripture (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4). Rather, God will utilize the spiritual gifts we’ve been given in order to disciple new believers. It’s a non-negotiable call to every single person who calls themselves a Christian. We can’t escape this commission, but how do we do it, and what does it look like? Do we have to start a weekly small group? Do we have to create a big conference, or meet one-on-one with a person and go through a book? The short answer is: sure, if that’s what God is calling you to. But discipleship will look different for every person and in every season.

Always Be Ready to Answer the Call

In September of 2022, my husband and I were called to move across the country from the west coast of California to the west coast of Florida, where I would be leading worship at a new church plant. God impressed on me that while I would be going to lead worship, my main priority would be discipleship. The two years prior to this move, I’d been discipled by a group of godly women who displayed the gifts of the Spirit in beautiful ways. He put me into a safe bubble of familiar and loving women who taught me a better way to pray, a deeper way to study God’s Word, and a more intentional way of discipleship. I learned that discipleship doesn’t always have to be a weekly Bible study or going through a discipleship book. The true call of a disciple of Jesus is to be right with Him and ready to answer God’s call of discipleship at any given moment.

The Holy Spirit gives us gifts in order to build up, stir up, and cheer up the body of Christ. So, if we’re operating in these spiritual gifts, we won’t miss a moment. Isn’t that exciting! That’s not to say I don’t miss the first cue sometimes. One Sunday morning after church while we were still in California, I wasn’t really interested in mingling afterwards. My husband and I were both real estate agents at the time and we had an open house to get to. He’s usually the one placing a gentle hand on my back signaling that he’s ready to leave, but that day our roles were reversed. I was impatiently waiting for him to wrap up an unusually long conversation, when I was introduced to a woman. Never having met until then, I tried to be pleasant, but I really wasn’t interested in talking.

To be honest (and sadly), I only listened half-heartedly as the cute, petite young woman told me she’d recently moved away from her family and was living in the area on her own. She was a doctor who focused on street medicine in the tough streets of downtown Los Angeles. I’d never heard of this specific profession before but was amazed as she told me that her team would literally walk the worst streets filled with people who were the worst off. She was feeling discouraged, and my heart began to soften as I heard her speak of her discouragement at not being able to witness to people, or pray over people, because it was a government-funded endeavor. As I saw the weariness in her face, my impatience melted, and I was able to see the clear opportunity God had given me.

I told her she reminded me of the stories in the Gospels, where Jesus would tell His disciples to do a simple task such as prepare a room for dinner, with them not knowing it would be the Last Supper. We modern-day believers have the entire Bible. We marvel at all the disciples did, when to them it all may have seemed like simple tasks. As I listened to this petite young woman tell me of the courageous work she did while walking through the roughest streets, I was in awe! I reminded her that Jesus has given her His Holy Spirit, that she could see beyond people’s physical ailments and into their souls. I reminded her, too, that God has the ability to tell her what others need deep down inside, and that as she cares for a person, she could actually be lifting them up to Jesus and asking for a healing deeper than her medical training could deliver. I then asked her if I could pray over her as I gently placed my hand on her shoulder.

After we finished praying, she had a look of relief on her face. After thanking me profusely, she asked if we could be friends, to which I wholeheartedly agreed! We exchanged phone numbers, and I was off to our open house, arriving there within five minutes. After our first meeting, we only managed to get in a few coffee dates between both of our busy schedules, but the Lord taught me something. If I’m willing to be used anywhere and at anytime, He’ll use me to touch people’s lives. He simply asks me to have a heart for discipleship, to be open to give my time and energy for His use. God knew I had an open house to get to, and He knew this young woman was in need of encouragement. I learned that day to take every single opportunity to invest in whoever God chooses to put in front of me.

Just Say “Yes” To Discipleship

Our time in Florida was not all roses and rainbows. There were a myriad of emotions involving leaving our kids, family, and friends back in California; moving three times; having to give away our dog; and navigating a new place, new friends, and new ministries. But through it all, we said “yes” to investing in whoever God put in front of us. For some friends, it was a couple of coffee dates. For others, it was a weekly Bible study or an occasional walk on the beach. I was blown away by the blessing these new friends were to me. God blessed me with beautiful lifelong friends who won’t ever be rid of me, even if they want to, haha!

So, my fellow believer, you’re called to be a disciple (to follow Jesus) and to make disciples (to help others follow Jesus). A quote I read years ago inspired me, and I will now pass it on to you. It’s taken from a book called “Replicate: How to Create a Culture of Disciple-Making Right Where You Are” by Robby Gallaty and Chris Swain. Their charge was to “Fearlessly invest your time in others.”

Put away the fear of how much time, energy, and effort you’ll have to invest, and just say “yes,” knowing God will give you all you need to encourage others. You’ll both reap the benefits of saying “yes” to the call of being and making disciples!

Shannon is married to her best friend, Jessie, and they have two grown daughters. She has worn many hats throughout the years, including worship leader, speaker, realtor, fitness coach, and vocal coach, but her favorite is Follower of Jesus. She is passionate about her walk with God and hopes the story God has written for her life inspires others. Having been brought through the deepest valleys, and accompanied through great victories and triumphs, Shannon knows God has never left her side … and that He extends that same promise to everyone. As a result, Shannon especially loves encouraging the next generation of women in their walk with God. Whether it be recognizing the dreams God has placed in their hearts, or the incredible plans He has for them, Shannon considers it a privilege to partner with others on their journey. To connect with Shannon, visit Instagram: @shannonquintana Facebook: The Quintanas