One of the things that the Lord has really put on my heart recently is encouragement. So far, I have realized two things about encouragement: 1) Encouragement is powerful – with just a few words, we are able to affirm, refuel, and inspire others, and 2) encouragement is a gift. I am blown away by the fact that we have the ability to use our mouths to build each other up. We can be used by the Lord to communicate His love to His children! Crazy!
When we encourage others, we are glorifying the Lord. We are appreciating the unique ways that He has gifted His creation. We are celebrating the fact that He uses sinners to do incredible things for His Kingdom. Because encouragement is so important, we need to make sure that we are practicing it in our lives! In order to make the most with this gift, we should keep a few things in mind when speaking to your student(s):
- Be specific. Whether you have an incredible or not so incredible student they need you to be specific with them, don’t just say, “You’re doing a great job.” Let them know WHY they are doing a great job. Talk to them about the gifts you have seen them use. Talk to them about the impact they are making in other students’ lives.
- Be authentic. Don’t say anything you don’t mean! Giving out insincere encouragement will quickly make your words useless. Empty words are a waste of the incredible gift that the Lord has given us and can even be damaging to your students growth.
- Be thankful. A great way to encourage is to thank them. Celebrate the awesome ways that the Lord has used them. Make sure they know how much of a blessing they have been in your life.
- Be observant. Capitalize on unique opportunities for encouragement. Notice the moment when your student steps outside of their comfort zone on a serving trip. Take the time to write letters of affirmation. This also means that you are making sure you see those things that don’t often get praise, the actions that wont make them heroes, but matter in the long run of life.
I challenge you to spend some time thinking about the student in your life that needs encouragement. Go out of your way this week to write them a letter or pull them aside for an intentional conversation.