For the past two days, I was with the Family Ministry team from my church at a conference in the Detroit area. One of the presenters was speaking about different ways to build an effective small group ministry in children's and student ministries. One of his points was to "identify the principle not the problem." He mentioned that there was far more success when we consistently identified what we want to see rather than constantly pointing out the problems. So, it is very important that volunteers understand the main priorities in the ministry so that everyone will understand the expectations. With that said, if corrections need to be made, the leader can approach a volunteer from an angle that reminds them of the priorities instead of negatively mentioning what they shouldn't do. It is far more encouraging to hear what the leader wants to see rather than what the leader dislikes. Obviously, this can be applied to any leadership position - it doesn't have to just be for ministry. In fact, when I used to practice music therapy I learned to encourage the behaviors I wanted to see instead of constantly correcting negative behaviors. As believers united in Christ, we can also be encouraging and lift each other up in our walk with God. Please read Hebrews 3:7-19.
This week, I've been exploring what Psalms 95 and Hebrews tells us about entering God's rest. The word, "today" is used in a way to show us that we need to make sure we are pursuing God and obeying Him on a daily basis. Where we were in our walk last year doesn't matter if we are straying today. One of the great gifts God has given to those who follow Him is other followers. We are united as one body with Jesus at the head and the work we can do collectively can change the world. Today's reading in Hebrews 3:7-19 demonstrates one of the ways that we can help each other in our walk with God. Hebrews 3:13 (NIV) says, "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." As long as it is called "today" is such a strong statement, isn't it? It is always called today, which means this is something that we should always be doing! So basically, we should constantly be encouraging each other so we can keep from falling into sin.
Encouraging...that is such a big word. It is a lot easier to tell someone what they shouldn't do, but there is far more success when we encourage each other to do what we should do. Do you see the difference? For example, it would be very easy for me to tell my kiddos to quit eating junk food after school, but they may not know what they should be eating. While it takes more time, they will be more successful when I tell them what foods they can eat after school. When I do that, I am encouraging them in the behaviors I want to see from them. We can do the same with each other in our walk with God. We can remind each other to praise God for His faithfulness, to read the Bible, to pray and so on. As long as we call it "today" (all the time) we need to be encouraging each other so we don't get caught in the traps of sin. Let's encourage rather than judge!
How are you encouraging someone today?