If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I try hard to offer encouragement and hope to my readers, even when I address something difficult. Here are some reasons I believe encouragement matters:
- The gospel we believe and teach is an encouraging one. No matter what we face today, we know God is with us (Matt 28:20), will not leave us (Heb 13:5), and continues leading us toward a glorious eternity worshiping Him (John 14:1-3). This message is saturated with hope and encouragement—and we have the privilege of proclaiming it as we live it out.
- All of us need encouragement. God created us needing others (Gen 2:18), and we have the responsibility to provoke each other to good works (Heb 10:24). We miss an opportunity to share Christian love when we don’t intentionally encourage each other.
- Serving God and others is not easy—but encouragement pushes us forward. Not only must we deal with the difficulties of ministry at times, but we also war against a supernatural enemy and his forces. Discouragement is one of his most effective strategies, but we counter that tactic by encouraging one another (1 Thess 4:18, 5:11).
- We need to remember the positive more than the negative. Think about words, for example. We tend to recall the painful ones more than the affirming ones—so we must work harder to encourage others with regularity. Ongoing encouragement helps to drown out the discouragement.
- Even a brief word of encouragement can change our attitude and perspective. It’s amazing what words like, “I’m grateful you’re our pastor,” “Really good job today,” or “Just wanted you to know I pray for you every day” can do for the weary church leader. A good word can cheer up even the most anxious heart (Prov 12:25).
- Encouragement turns our attention away from self. Even the strongest Christians must work hard to maintain the outward focus that the Great Commission demands (Matt 28:18-20). We tend to turn inwardly; that is, we turn into self and away from others. Genuine encouragement, though, focuses on someone else.
- Encouragement reinforces faithfulness. Too many church leaders focus on correcting wrong—which we must do—but take faithful believers for granted at the same time. Faithful believers will press on even without encouragement, but intentional encouragement will still bless them and inspire them to keep serving.
Via this site, I send “An Encouraging Word for Church Leaders” every Sunday. Beginning next week, I am going to offer short, simple encouragements on Tuesday and Thursday as well. I pray they will lift your spirits when needed and push you to press on when all is well.