We’ve heard over and over the frustration of leading these days, where to begin, how to engage, how to do anything at all. If any of those questions have been yours, let me give you a place to start. Encouragement.
The Bible has much to say about encouragement because so much of it was written in difficult circumstances, challenges, and conflict. God knew His people would need to stay focused and not lose heart.
The early church even had a leader named Barnabas, whose very name meant “the son of encouragement.” Acts 11:24 says he was “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.” We need more of those kinds of leaders who point people in the right direction, toward the Kingdom of God, toward each other in community and unity, and toward the world to bring “many more people to the Lord.”
How can you be that kind of encouraging guy who encourages your guys?
Here are my Top 10 ways to be a strategic encourager.
BE A RESCUER
Be a leader who believes in search and rescue. It’s easy to focus on the regular guys who always show up, but what about the guys who have been on the periphery of your church or group? Find the guys on the fringe, the quiet ones, the disconnected ones, the lonely ones. You never know what it might do for them, and you never know what they might end up doing for the ministry.
BE AN INTERCESSOR
Pray. All the time, everywhere. Pray specifically for your guys. Regularly for your guys. Strategically for your guys. Never underestimate the power of prayer. Prayer should not be our last resort. It should be our first choice.
BE A QUESTIONER
Ask great questions. Ask guys how they are doing and don’t take “fine” for an answer. Don’t just ask yes/no questions; ask them how they are doing and feeling. Don’t assume you know what your guys need. Ask them what kind of ministry would be most meaningful, and use those answers to help design your approach.
BE A LISTENER
This goes hand in hand with the last one. Listen well, really well. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen to the words under their words. Hear what they are saying with their mouth and their hearts. Be empathetic, caring, and sincere. We all need to know we are being heard.
BE A DISCERNER
Change your thinking around the real measures of success. Don’t evaluate success by how many guys came to your last event but by how many guys you have engaged and strengthened. Don’t despise the days of small beginnings. Learn to value the interactions with the ones and twos as much as the twenties and thirties.
BE A BRIDGE-BUILDER
In a day when so many people are divided over politics, health, and even theology, be a bridge-builder. Instead of wading into the debate, give your guys a greater ethic and value to live for: love, peace, purpose. In a polarized don’t just be a peace-keeper, be a peacemaker. Build bridges, not walls.
BE A RESEARCHER
The old adage goes: Leaders are readers. You may love to study and read, or you may not. That’s ok. We all can be great observers of culture and trends around men and ministry. When you find that nugget, use it to shape your thinking and approach.
BE A RESOURCER
Be on the constant lookout for helpful books, podcasts, articles, and send them along to your guys. It’s never been easier to share information, and there has never been a time with so many tools available. Be sure, though, that the content is encouraging, truthful, and thoughtful.
BE A NETWORKER
This is a day of networking, partnerships, and collaboration. Find other men’s leaders in your area and get to know them. We can do so much more together than we can do apart.
Know that the Lord is with you, and your labour for Him is not in vain. Being filled with encouragement is one of the most incredible things you can offer your guys. Just as David did in 1 Samuel 30:6 when he was distressed, he encouraged himself in the Lord.
The Apostle Paul knew the importance of encouragement. I leave you with his words from 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”