By Joel Comiskey, check out, Groups that Thrive
Last night in my Life group we encouraged one another. We asked those present to share three things they appreciate about each person in the group. Carl told Brent that he was like a father to him, the one he never had. Brent went away soaring with confidence and gratefulness. We also shared words of appreciation about our spouses and church leaders. We read the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:12, “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.” We reflected on the exhortation in Hebrews, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (10:25).
God loves to encourage his people, and we all desperately need it. Why? Because discouragement comes naturally to everyone. We often compare ourselves with others and just feel like we don’t measure up. The wife of one leader told me that her husband easily becomes introspective and discouraged without compliments. “Encouragement is his love language,” she told me. “Right now he’s receiving very little of it.” But he’s doing so well in cell ministry, I thought to myself. I realized afresh that even the most successful leaders need lots of encouragement.
During the last several months we’ve been talking about taking the next step in ministry. Let’s talk about taking the next step in showing appreciation. What can you do this month to encourage your spouse, children, cell members, cell leaders, pastors, and church planters? Start with praise and thankfulness to God. December is a time of celebration for the greatest news in human history. God’s Son came into this world as a baby to deliver us from sin and death. Then offer words of appreciation to your spouse and children. After God, they are the most important. But also allow words of appreciation to flow down to those who you are ministering to. There is always something to encourage. Celebrate any progress, even if it seems small. Winning is important, but winning results from doing one’s best.
I encourage cell leaders to show appreciation for members by having a celebratory dinner, watch a Christian movie, or some other fun gathering. Reflect on all the great things God has done in the group. Pastors should publicly thank those who have served as leaders, coaches, and pastors. I always rejoice when I hear about special dinners to honor cell leaders.