This past Wednesday in our monthly MCM Network Catalyst Gathering with all our pastors and staffs, Jeff Leake shared a powerful talk on ‘Encouragement’. Below is a portion of his recent blog post on the topic:
I think there are at least five things that must be built into the culture of a family, a church, or an organization in order for there to be this life-giving atmosphere of encouragement. It needs to be…
AFFIRMING – Barnabas sought out unlikely people and projected the potential that he saw in them. No one believed in the Apostle Paul in his younger days as a believer. But Barnabas sought him out and invited him to be an Associate Pastor on his staff when he was leading the church in Antioch. No one believed in John Mark after his failure on the mission-field. But Barnabas stuck with him.
COACHING – Barnabas did not just say, ‘watch me do it.’ He said, ‘do it with me and I will help you improve.‘ Eventually, Paul surpasses Barnabas as the lead missionary, which shows incredible security and humility on the part of this man who was willing to invest in the success of another.
BLESSING – this may be the most important ingredient. The choice to speak in faith and in grace. The choice NOT to respond to criticism with criticism, or insult with insult, but rather with blessing. A culture of encouragement involves selective speech. It is teaching people to speak honestly, yet to coat their words with kindness.
EXPERIMENTING – There was freedom under Barnabas’ leadership to fail. He took risks with the people he chose. He was pastoring a church in Antioch that was very unorthodox. There needed to be a high grace leader in place for the church to grow and become the missionary-sending center of the NT era.
RELEASING – Acts 13 gives us an account of the church that Barnabas was leading (Antioch) – being willing to sow its very best leaders into Kingdom work. He leads his church into incredible generosity in what they chose to give.
Following our Catalyst Gathering, we also recorded a short 10 minute interview with Jeff on this topic for our upcoming MCM Podcast, which will be posted to iTunes soon. If you interested in getting an early glimpse of the interview, you can download it here.