The wife of one of the leaders I coached privately told me that her husband easily becomes introspective and discouraged without compliments. “Encouragement is his love language,” she told me. “Right now he’s receiving very little of it.” “But he’s doing so well in ministry,” I thought to myself. I realized afresh that even the most successful leaders need lots of encouragement. Building up your small group leaders is such a crucial part of your ministry.
Discouragement comes naturally to everyone. Introspection haunts people; they compare themselves to others and feel like they don’t measure up. A word of encouragement can often make a huge difference. We must never hold back when it comes to encouraging. I agree with Bill Donahue when he said, “We need to be fanatics for encouragement” (paraphrased).
The writer of Hebrews says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). Jesus modeled encouragement with his disciples by asking questions, allowing them to reply with wrong answers, correcting their misconceptions, and then stimulating them with more challenges.
When leadership creates an atmosphere of encouragement, people are more likely to take the next step in ministry. What are some ways you can encourage members and leaders? Here are a few:
- Highlight accomplishments
- Verbally say, “You can do it!”
- Show you care about the leaders personally
- Know what is going on in their lives
- Be there when they are going through difficult moments
- Catch people doing something right and tell them
Remember: Never hold back encouragement. Find the little things and highlight them. You might notice the person’s honesty, transparency or hard work. Point out whatever you see that is positive and honors God. Turn the little things into huge victories. Remember the exhortation of the writer of Hebrews: “Let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
This article originally appeared here.