Being an Encouraging Leader

By Neal Jeffrey

I think all of us would say that Jesus has made a difference in our lives. I think we would also say, “I want to make a difference in the lives of others.” That is why we do what we do. We want to meet people where they are to encourage them to become everything God wants them to be, in Christ. We encourage others because we have been encouraged.

I want to encourage you today to be an encourager, not just in the big moments—worship, preaching, teaching, leading—but in the little moments, private moments, one-on-one moments.

I want to encourage you to be more committed to be an encourager every day—with every moment, with every person. The power of encouraging the masses, yes, but also the power of encouraging the one.

Here are some simple ways to encourage anybody, everybody, every day.

  1. ENCOURAGE WITH YOUR SMILE – SHOW IT!

SMILE. A smile is never out of place; a smile reaches out and attracts. God gave us a gift that radiates encouragement—it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Use it. Don’t limit the power of the Spirit working in you and through you that shows the “joy of the Lord” is real and it can come through you loud and clear with a simple smile. It is a great gift—use it! Every day! Especially with those closest to you. Use it with those around you, but also use it with anyone who passes you. It is simple and powerful, yet you never know whom it might encourage, just by letting that light inside you shine through your smile. It is our inward faith, but it can have powerful outward implications through a smile.

Your smile says, I have something that is real, and I know something that can change a life. It can also say, “If you need a friend, I’ll be one!” You know the way; you have the truth, and you are living the life (John 14:6), so let it show; let it shine to all you encounter; SMILE!

  1. ENCOURAGE WITH YOUR WORDS – SAY IT!

You know this is true—everyone you will see today can use a good word, so say it! Decide to share an encouraging remark to each person you are with during the day. Say something good, something positive, cheerful, uplifting, encouraging. Ask the Lord to make you genuinely interested in others instead of being so occupied with yourself. Compliment, affirm, and encourage. God’s love lifts us up, so be uplifting and encouraging to hearts that are broken, heavy, discouraged and hopeless. Give a good word! You know this, God has a word for you today. Well, God also has a word for others through you today, so SAY IT!

  1. ENCOURAGE WITH YOUR TIME – SHOW UP!

Real encouragement takes place when we get close enough to someone to discover what we can do to really help. Now, that takes time. That can get in the way of my time, my agenda and my day. But real encouragement is “coming alongside someone else”; it is getting into their space, their world, and their life. Now, this “show up” takes time, our most precious commodity. And getting involved with people takes time and effort, and it gets messy! I’ve been in the ministry long enough to have discovered that it is just easier to avoid such personal involvement. Too many days, I find myself so consumed with my stuff, my agenda and myself, that I can easily miss the “people” (appointments) God has all around me. It is so easy to live my daily life trying to avoid all the distractions and interruptions that people can be, and miss the “divine appointments” those same people represent. I am encouraging you to look for ways today, not to avoid people, but to encounter them, to meet them, to minister to them, to encourage them. To do something …

  1. Make a phone call. Everybody can use a phone call. Just to say congrats, good job, proud of you. Just to say, “How are you doing?” Just to say, “I am praying for you.” Just to say, “I was thinking of you.” Just to say, whatever. You never know the impact of a call to encourage someone.
  2. Write a personal handwritten note—this is my favorite. Just write a note. I am amazed how people are encouraged when they receive a personal note of encouragement.
  3. Make an appointment—show up in someone’s life. Have a one-on-one meeting. Now this is huge. This takes the most time, but this also makes the greatest difference in the lives of others. This is where I get out of my world and enter someone else’s world.

The three great conversions in the book of Acts occurred when someone was interrupted and showed up in another person’s life to encourage him, by meeting him right where he was and helping him get to where God wanted him to be.

Philip left a crusade and kept a divine appointment with the Ethiopian eunuch in the desert (Acts 8). He encouraged this seeker to find the Messiah and take the Gospel to Africa.

Ananias left his home and went to another home to meet with a persecutor of Christians, Saul, who became the great apostle Paul (Acts 9).

Peter stepped outside his whole life experience and God did a whole new thing when he traveled 30 miles out of his way and met with Cornelius (Acts 10) and opened up the Gospel to the whole Gentile world.

Those individual meetings made a huge difference; they changed everything.

God still does that today. He changes everything, and He uses us to make the difference by being a source of encouragement by meeting people where they are and helping them get to where God wants them to be, in Christ. It can be as simple as a smile, a word, and just showing up.

So today, be encouraged to be an encourager: “It will make a difference!”

Neal Jeffrey serves as Associate Pastor of Pastoral & Preaching Ministries at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

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