This post was written by Cera Talamantes, a member of the INCM Blog team.
While we grow as fully committed followers of Christ, our discipleship experience empowers us to build our faith on a strong foundation so that we can then disciple and lead others towards a Christ-filled life.
Jesus modeled for us in His gathering with those closest to Him the importance of entering an intentional relationship for Kingdom growth and the long-term impact that can have.
As leaders, knowing where to seek guidance is important – not only to your individual health and growth but also to those you are impacting through your leadership.
But with all the demands on leaders today, it can be challenging to discern where to start! Thankfully, we were left with an incredible example in our Savior.
Let’s explore three discipleship reminders we can hold onto from the way of our rabbi, Jesus!
First, Retreat to the Father
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying.” -Mark 1:35
Throughout His ministry, Jesus often retreated to spend time in solitude with the Father. It always astounds me that the One who was fully connected to God sought out time alone to pray and be with God.
It can be easy to allow our busyness for the Kingdom to keep us from fully retreating to His Presence, seeking out His direction, and listening for His voice first.
As a person who struggles with slowing down, this isn’t as easy as it sounds, and finding ways to be still and spend time in retreat with Him has taken regular practice.
Guided prayers from traditional daily readings, Lectio Divina, Scripture journaling, or praying through the Psalms are ways I’ve centered on Scripture. These have allowed me to retreat by seeking God directly through His Word.
Discerning the Outside Support
This is an obvious statement, but Jesus knew the Scriptures and was regularly engaged in enriching conversations about the way they impacted everyday life – and He did this from a young age (Luke 2:41-52).
I love this passage- especially because my personality type is such that I desire to constantly be learning… and I’m guessing you do too, or you wouldn’t be reading this article right now!
This desire to learn is a way we reflect the image of God, but it does require great self-awareness. Be it from reading, audiobooks, podcasts, or videos, I can unintentionally put myself into information overload!
Discerning what outside support to find through reading, who to listen to, and how much to intake is important in maintaining healthy rhythms of life and leadership. I encourage you to ask for God’s direction in where He is focusing your call now and how He wants to grow you specifically.
Different seasons of life and leadership will need different types of guidance and encouragement. Staying open to what God is leading you to will keep you continually growing not only in wisdom but also in relationship to Him.
Asking other leaders what books, podcasts, or other reading materials have helped them in different times is a great way to stay open to new sources of support!
Stay aware of how much you are taking in in this area, as well! Listening to all the podcasts, audiobooks, or reading all the articles does not help if you are not allowing yourself time to process and seek God in what you are intaking.
Remember to always look for Him in everything you seek guidance from!
Lasting Communal Relationship
Ultimately, the best way to connect in deeper ways to the Lord and to others and grow as a discipler is to be discipled.
Jesus showed us that discipleship always happens within the context of relationship, and we observe this truth throughout all of what we read in the Scriptures about His ministry. This discipleship relationship creates accountability and opens the door for growth in deeper ways.
It’s easy to read or hear something great from your pastor or another source, but taking it past that, growing it, and having someone there holding you lovingly accountable, cheering you on, and walking through all of life’s seasons with you is another thing completely!
These relationships can look differently given the season you are in now. Some are blessed with lasting relationships with an individual or group over years that are investments over time for everyone involved.
Coaching, like that offered through INCM, is an incredible tool to find guidance in specific areas of your leadership and grow in relationship with other leaders.
In gathering His disciples, teaching, and displaying active love to them, a generational impact was made that we are still feeling the ripple effects of today.
Ephesians 5:1-2 says:
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
Follow the incredible example we were already given by leading consistently out of love and a desire to grow and mature, not only ourselves but others also in their faith and relationship with Christ.
Cera Talamantes has served in ministry for over a decade, volunteering in different areas but was called most to preschool and children’s ministry. Cera and her husband, Joseluis, have two incredible kids. Their family loves spending time together making lasting memories and having crazy Uno game nights.