As a leader, you know the importance of encouraging people. It’s impossible to over encourage people as long as you are sincere. And I’m sure you’re not only generous but intentional about your encouragement of others. However, leaders need encouragement too, right?

So, how’s it going for you right now? Is your church or ministry area entirely problem free, all green lights, blue sky, and everyone’s happy? I know, dumb question.

If you’re making progress, it’s rare that you can go a full day without hitting at least a small speed bump, if not a roadblock or maybe even discover that the “bridge is out” and there’s no way around.

Perhaps a key leader is angry, something broke, an expensive and big mistake was made, or a conflict erupted, etc.

Here are a few serious ones I’ve heard recently from colleagues in several churches.

  • Denied the needed permit to build.
  • Staff member filed for divorce.
  • Family member has a critical illness.
  • Budget shortage required staff cuts.
  • Church being sued for personal injury.

I’m thankful that problems like these are not overly common, but problems of some kind are part of a leader’s life and ministry. The good news is that this list does not represent the dominant or only news. So, don’t let the enemy use the one big discouragement to rob you of the many small encouragements.

There are plenty of encouraging stories such as financial break-throughs, restored relationships, salvation, and new growth.

One of my favorites is when God himself gives personal encouragement.

This happened a couple of days ago in my prayer room while reading Psalm 103. There’s always a danger in reading a familiar passage; I can skim over it too fast. But I had slowed down enough to receive something fresh, and it was very encouraging. You know, like when a good friend calls you just at the right moment? Only this was God.

Since God’s word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12) I know this can be equally encouraging to you, but you might have to slow down from 100 miles per hour to, well, slower than you want to go for a few minutes, but I hope this is of great encouragement to you.

5 Meaningful Words of Encouragement:

1) FORGIVES all your sins. vs. 3, 10-12

God does not treat us as we deserve or repay us according to how we have messed up.

That is incredibly encouraging.

It’s easy to fly right over a truth like that. You know it, you teach it, but do you take a moment to absorb this amazing gift? It can be overwhelming in a good way. It’s not a license for cheap grace or a spiritual coupon to be redeemed for intentional disobedience. It’s what scripture says it is, a gift. It’s undeserved and there is no cost. It’s been paid for.

That is encouraging and inspires me to live the best life I can. Not to earn or impress, but in gratitude for all I’ve been given.

2) HEALS: all your diseases. vs. 3

This is not an easy verse to fully understand. People do get sick and die from disease. So how is this encouraging? I find encouragement because I know God is with me. I’m not alone. If I were to be seriously ill, God knows what’s going on. The context of all five words is spiritual in nature, but we also know that God can and does heal physical illness in the natural realm.  

It’s not always on our time table, or the exact answer we want. It may mean there’s no full healing until heaven. That’s not a spiritual cop-out to me. I remain encouraged that God can and does heal. I trust Him and consider it a privilege to pray for the sick.

3) REDEEMS: your life from the pit.  vs. 4

I can only imagine how David felt, what he must have experienced as he wrote these words. He knew both the power of God and glory of victory, as well as the despair of temptation, defeat, and regret.  Yet his life was redeemed.

I’m encouraged to know that God adds something special to redemption, He also grants purpose. He has created you and me on purpose and with a purpose. We are redeemed for a reason. It’s incredibly encouraging to know my life not only means so much to God, but He intends for my life to mean something to others. The same is true for you. It’s not a cliché when we say, “make your life count.” That’s precisely what God has in mind.

4) CROWNS: you with love and compassion. vs. 4, 8

God lavishes you and me with love, compassion, mercy, kindness, and patience.

The ironic thing is that we need to possess an openness to receive it, but that’s not always easy for a leader. We are often the person who gives, and that’s good. But it’s also important to receive, personally, the kindness of God.

This is more than His favor upon your ministry. It’s encouraging to know God adds favor to your ministry, but how much more encouraging to know that God loves you more than your work. You are His son or daughter. He is your father. You are part of His Kingdom work, but His love for you is first. That is mind-blowing encouragement.

5) SATISFIES: your desires with good things. vs. 5

OK, I have high standards… not always easy to impress. The idea of “satisfies” is a big thought. Am I content? Yes. Satisfied? … hmmm.

The drive in me presses forward, let’s take new territory! How about you? Yet I know this promise is true. God does satisfy my desires with good things.

Psalm 37:4, another Psalm of David reads: Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. In the past, I’ve always read that with a lens that focused on the second half. “He will give you the desires of your heart.” That focus renders an interpretation that God will give me what I want.

When I began to focus on the first phrase, “Take delight in the Lord,” that changed my experience. His desires became my desires, and I began to understand satisfied differently. A personal inner satisfaction, like contentment. Verses 5-7 make the process clearer.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37: 5-7

When this is our approach, the “good things” are much easier to see and receive, and that is encouraging.