My boss in one of my secular jobs asked me one day during an informal meeting of our management team what strengths I thought I brought to our group. Without much hesitation I stated “team building.” From an early age, I have always seemed to understand the importance of a motivated and united team be it in either the secular or sacred world. And even though the purposes, pursuits and motivation tools and approach may differ between the two, it is just as important to have a smooth flow within those you work with to attain your goals.
In my first position as a Youth Minister, I learned from a seasoned pastor the importance of building a strong support team within the church and especially with the parents of our students. Through the years I carried on this principle with our children’s ministry leadership teams as well. I diligently held quarterly training meetings with our ministry helpers, had them over to our home a few times for a steak BBQ, and also promoted the excitement for the ministries we were involved with through Family Fun Nights, Youth and Parents Nights, Vacation Bible Schools, and church meal fundraisers, car washes and so on.
To be honest, we never really made much money with the fundraisers, but the enthusiasm, team bonding, support and vision catching from the congregation for the children and youth ministry was fantastic! My wife and I have always been encouragers and through the years have worked hard to build up and encourage the individuals we work with at the church, with our homeschool group and with family members. It is interesting to realize how far a smile and a positive word and the example of a joy filled life can go in turning a frown around in the life of another individual!
One tool we have depended on to help those around us is to turn their attention to the Word of God. I have found this to be a mood changer that can quickly turn an atmosphere filled with hopelessness into an environment where the expectation of God’s best can emerge and bring light and life onto the scene. Like I have mentioned on numerous occasions, this is something I now find myself doing on almost a daily basis as I push my wife in her transport chair around our community be it in the neighborhood or in the local Walmart!
In the first few verses in his epistle, the Apostle John establishes some basic truths for us to know and follow. He begins by declaring that Jesus and His Word are the same. Then he goes on to say that in Jesus (and thus His Word) is life and that this life is the light of men that shines through any darkness in their lives. (See: John 1:1-5) With that understanding it makes sense that the Word will excite, encourage and motivate anybody’s life.
We see this very example in the second chapter of Acts when the Holy Spirit comes on the scene for the first time and infills the lives of the 120 disciples of Christ meeting in the upper room. They got so excited, encouraged and motivated that they acted like happy drunks! Peter saw the effect that their joy was having on those that were quickly gathering around them and immediately stood up to explain and share the Good News!
I can just imagine Peter swaying under the power of the Holy Ghost as he faced the crowds, burst out into laughter and declare “These men are not drunk as you suppose (for) It’s only nine in the morning!” (Acts 2:15 God’s Word ©) His Word infused speech that day excited, encouraged and motivated over 3000 men, women and children to get saved! At the end of that same chapter we see where these folks and their ever growing group regularly met to build themselves up and flow in unity of purpose in their pursuit of the things of Papa God.
It would seem that the early church understood the importance and need to encourage each other daily. They knew the importance of the Word as the foundation of who they were and how they lived their lives as well as It’s place in changing their world. A word to the wise though… understand that not everyone will always respond to the Word and allow it to work in them. In every group I have led in the church and in my secular management positions, there has always been one of two individuals who did not buy into what I was preaching! So I have tended to reach out to them with a little more personal effort… and sometimes it helped, but sometimes it didn’t! But, I never let it stop me from doing what I am doing. I have always been persistent to keep moving on!
Be it at nine o clock in the morning, or at the end of the day, each individual is personally responsible for the decisions they make during that 24 hour period. My job… and I would think yours as well, is simply to smile, be encouraging and stay excited as we share the Word and allow Jesus to work HIS life and light into their lives. Have a great weekend. Be an encourager to someone this week as you stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to excite, encourage and motivate today?”