Who are the encouragers in your life?  Who are you encouraging?

I’m writing this in the middle of the Believe in Barrow ‘Real Lives’ Mission event: https://www.believeinbarrow.com Many churches have organised local events – a Yarn Bomb, Family Fun Day, flower arranging demonstration, BBQ using the gifts and experience within their communities. There are also conversation/interviews featuring an Olympic rower, a Leeds Rhinos rugby player and a former UVF terrorist.

All of the events offer an opportunity for people to share something of their Christian faith. In each case so far, I have been struck by the part others have played in the story – parents, teachers, friends or colleagues, a neighbour who goes to church. As a Deanery Training Adviser for six years I had the privilege of hearing many stories and, almost always, the encouragement of others was significant.

Again and again I heard about the person who said, ‘I love the way you…’, or ‘Have you ever thought about….?’or “You’re so natural at…’ It’s not just the responsibility of the church leader, though it’s great if they are encouragers and it may not even be a church member. The first person who ever said to me, ‘Have you ever thought about being a vicar –you’d be really good’ was a colleague at work.

God has given each of us gifts to use (1 Corinthians 12), but we don’t always recognise them or see how to use them. Most of us need lots of encouragement, numbers of nudges along the way. At one of the ‘Real Lives’ local events my encouragement of someone was not the first, nor the second but the third they’d received from different individuals, all relating to the same area. With a wry smile, they said perhaps they ought to think and pray about it– clearly it wasn’t going away!

If you’re reading this blog, you’ve found the Cumbria Christian Learning website, perhaps because you’ve been encouraged to explore some learning opportunities and that’s great.  Perhaps you could share the link with someone else and encourage them to have a look. Perhaps you might think about whom you can encourage by affirming the gifts they may not have recognised – yours might be the nudge that makes them act.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Author: Revd Elaine Bates

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