Being a Better Encourager

Encourage One Another – Giving Grace With Your Words” was a blog post appearing on the 9Marks website in 2014. It was written by Garett Kell who is the lead pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.

The article was a primer on the ministry of encouragement.

Based upon our duty to encourage each other daily (Heb 3:13), Kell briefly unpacks “why we need encouragement”, “what is encouragement” and “how do I grow in being an encouragement to others?”

encourageMark Twain once said, “I can live two months on a good compliment,” and I agree with him. Having someone take the time to use their words for construction and not destruction can go a long way in fueling or stoking the fire for serving the Lord.

So in the spirit of equipping the body of Christ for the work of the ministry (Eph 4:12), I want to share with you Kell’s 10 suggestions for how you can become a better encourager. Take these to heart and look for ways to being implementing them in your life … today!

First, “pray for God to make you an encourager.” It always, and should always, start there. If you recognize you are not the source of encouragement you should be, get on your knees before God, confess that lack of faithfulness, decide how you are going to do better, and ask God’s strength to be more faithful in encouraging others.

Second, “study Barnabas and ask God to make you like him.” His very name is synonymous with the ministry of encouragement. And because we know the examples of men and women in the Bible are given to us for our own instruction (I Cor 10:6), we ought to seek out men like Barnabas who were known for the ministry we aspire to have (Acts 4).

Third, “make encouragement a daily discipline.” Kell suggests setting reminders on your phone that tell you to encourage someone. In a day of smartphones-joined-at-the-hip, that’s not a bad idea. Maybe set an encouragement alarm on your phone. And when it goes off, call or text someone to encourage them.

Fourth, “pray for God to show you who to encourage.” Having a church directory nearby will help you with this endeavor. As you pray for people, use the directory as a prayer list. You will discover one of the joys of such an activity is that God brings to mind often the needs of His church.

Fifth, “use Scripture if you’re able.” God’s words always trump our own.

Sixth, “be specific in what you say.” Don’t just say, “I want to encourage you.” Tell the person how and why you want to encourage them.

Seventh, “regularly encourage your pastor.” Hey, now that one I can get behind! I am not as “needy” as some pastors may be. I don’t fish for encouragement on a regular basis. But I sure love and appreciate it when it comes.

Eighth, “pray that God would create a culture of encouragement in your church.” This is sometimes easier said than done. Be patient. Lead by example. Encourage others to be encouragers.

Ninth, “be wise.” Be careful in encouraging people of the opposite sex or even other spouses that are not yours. Kell suggests keeping your own spouse informed of such encouragements sent to others of the opposite sex. You don’t ever want to send a wrong signal to someone who you are not married to.

Tenth, “get started.” In order to be a better encourager, you have to start encouraging. Pick someone who needs a “pick me up” and contact them … right now!

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