Why Encouragement is Not Optional

From my recent article at In Touch:

“I love working with you, Dan.” It was only a simple text from a colleague, but it buoyed my spirits during an intense week of work on a project together.

As I thought over his kind comment, it reinforced to me a simple truth I’ve learned during my years in leadership: Affirmation may be the most valuable currency in building relational capital. I’ve served on large ministry teams, I’ve led a small church staff, and now I serve in an executive role. I’m also a husband and a father of four. In all of these contexts, regardless of the environment, I have found that nothing is more important than consistent encouragement.

People closest to us need to hear words of affirmation from us. They need to hear them regularly, consistently, and sincerely. Not empty words of flattery, like something we’d type on Facebook on someone’s birthday (“best husband in the whole world!”), but genuine and heartfelt praise for the unique gifts and contribution of those closest to us.

What’s interesting is how little we think about encouragement. It seems a nice thing to give to others, but not terribly important. Yet in Scripture we find not only the wisdom that reveals the utility of kind words (Proverbs 25:11), but also the command to encourage, especially among followers of Christ. God’s children should be people who “build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Pastors and church leaders are tasked with the ministry of encouragement (2 Timothy 4:2 NIV). And this is not just a once-a-year-at-the-company-party type of empty praise. The writer of Hebrews says encouragement should be a daily part of Christian witness (Heb. 3:13).

So why don’t we encourage more? Read the full article here

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