New leaders need to be encouraged. Especially when they are in a new ministry. Encouragement helps people develop into better leaders and also motivates them to continue when they make mistakes or experience the pain. I will never forget the first conference I Directed. It ws a regional conference and I was the first women given this opportunity. Based on a friends referral I hired a worship team without hearing them first. They were horrible. When my supervisor met with me he didn’t rake me over the coals. He knew he didn’t need to because I had done that already. What he did was praise me for taking a risk. His response had a huge impact on me. Today I am not fearful of taking a risk. Here are a few ways that encouragement made a difference in my life:
- Find out what motivates each individual on your team. Everyone is different. For me it is words of appreciation for what I have done right. When I was a lay person at Skyline, our Sr. Pastor John Maxwell would send out hand written thank you cards to people serving in ministry. I still have each one he sent me. I don’t know of a Pastor anywhere who has raised up as many leaders as John did. He was busy as any Sr. Pastor of a large church but understood the importance of encouragement. And he reproduced what he was. His pastoral staff and support staff loved him and passed on to others what he gave to us. This is one reason Skyline grew so much. It was an encouraging church to people and raised up many leaders.
- People will meet your expectations. Let those on your team know what you expect and why you believe they can do it. Tell them you believe in them and why. Ministry is hard. Especially as a young leader. I had mentors who communicated that they believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
- Thank people for what they do. This can be one-on-one but in front of others has greater impact. I know email is more popular but I still believe in thank you cards. I got a thank you letter in December from Jill for something that happened over 15 years ago. It was so encouraging to me and I cried when I read it. I saved it and put it in my “bouquets” file.
- Time. Nothing encourages like time. When I was part of an internship training ministry my pastor would always arrange for me to get an hour with key speakers that were speaking at our church. This was a huge deal for me. I found out later he did not do this for everyone. He recognized my hunger for growth and gave this to me as a gift. I would not be the leader I am becoming today if I had not learned so much from others. During the hour I would have my typewritten list of questions and talk as fast as I could to learn as must as possible in that hour.
There is no substitute for encouragement. If your people are not receiving it from you they will not reach their potential while they are with you.
What are some ways that you have found to encourage people in your ministry?