I asked Michaela Coon, who is a senior in high school and apart of our youth ministry, to write some of her thoughts on encouragement. She has a huge heart for encouraging others. I can remember a while back when she came to me with this idea that she had started doing on her own. She bought blankets from the dollar store and if she was by the beach or any where else and saw a homeless person she would just give them one. My first thought was “this is brilliant” second thought was “what if we taught other students to do the same?”. So we came up with a bunch of ways to serve as individuals or as a group. We put them in our life group training packets as opportunities to serve. She now leads our encouragement ministry! It’s a super easy way to get students connected and it’s a ministry that is low maintenance. I believe it’s revolutionary because it’s something you can do at a personal level and at the group level. So here is her heart on the power of encouragement.
Encouragement is a spiritual gift that is often overlooked. However, it is actually a vital part to the Body of Christ that we need to be instructed in! We are called to encourage one another daily. Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. I’ve found that encouraging others is an easy way to selflessly serve on a daily basis. Words are lasting, and speaking the truth in love to others can show the enormity of Christ’s love. In Latin, the prefix “en” means “to put into,” and “cor” means “heart.” So, being intentional and personal can develop a powerful presence in someone’s life. During finals week of last school year I gave my friends note cards with Bible verses on them, and I still them in their binders! Also, within the church it is important to encourage other believers in their walk. The journey can be weary at times, and encouragement can serve as a reminder of God’s lasting promises.
There are many practical ways to encourage, either in a group or as an individual:
- Letters: Writing letters of thanks to a leader within the church or even just the Starbucks guy! Groups can target a specific person and shower them with personal letters. Even one letter can mean a lot.
- Make use of conversations: Fill your words with grace and put your focus on the lives of others.
- Keep a blanket in your car to give to someone in need (at the beach, in the city, etc.)
- At the drive-thru window of a fast food joint, pay for the person behind you. This is a simple and humbling act of service.
- Pray for those in need- homeless, jobless, hungry, hopeless, broken…
- Pray for your church family and those leading it.
- Pray for the Persecuted Church, and those serving around the world.
- Pray for your peers at HSM services and at school.
- Pray for local schools and local churches.
- Do a chore at home without being asked.
- Write an encouraging note to someone who needs it.
- Get a group of friends together to purchase food and cook a meal for a family who is struggling financially.
-Use your talents: From baking to technology, any skill or talent can be used creatively to uplift another.
hope it helps