In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, we are challenged to “encourage one another and build each other up.” In verse 12, “to acknowledge those who work hard among you.” Then in verse 14, we are urged to “encourage the disheartened.” Literally, the word for encourage is to call to one’s side. Sometimes it is actually translated to plead with someone, like when Jairus pleaded with Jesus to heal his daughter. Jesus uses the word in his blessing for those who mourn when he said “for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). The strength of encouragement is in the act of coming alongside of another. I think that one of the strengths of the cell structure is that we are constantly calling people to our side.
When I am coaching my cell leaders, I want to come by their side and encourage them personally and in their work. One question I ask every time we meet is how I can help them. I listen to the good things that are happening in their cells and I listen to their challenges. I don’t try to give them advice, instead I want to stand at their side and encourage what they are doing. The best way I can do this is to pray with them and for them.
As we near the end of the year, we are thinking about the coming of Jesus our Messiah who came to be with us. He is God with us. When Jesus ascended to Heaven, he told us that he was sending the Holy Spirit to come alongside of us. The Comforter, the encourager, is with us and helps us to serve the Lord and one another. God the Spirit calls us to his side and then encourages us to call people to our side. This should be the work we do when we are coaching; when we are meeting in a cell; when we are ministering to someone who does not yet know Christ.
When our second son began playing soccer, he was more concerned with the other players than he was with scoring. More than once, a player from the other team would fall to the ground and instead of taking advantage of the moment, he would stop and help the other child to his feet. He understood the role of calling someone to his side. For the strongly competitive, he would have been ridiculed. I like the picture I see of him assisting even a competitor. This is the work we are to do for our cell leaders. Maybe our best coaching is a hug and a prayer at another’s side. What do you think?
This article originally appeared here.