Anyone who knows Pastor Bill Smith can recognize that he understands the art of encouragement! Not one to give false flattery, Pastor Bill always has a smile and an encouraging thing to say with people he comes across. He is the epitome of an encourager—a “Barnabas” or “son of encouragement,” if you will, to those with whom he comes in contact! After serving 60+ years in ministry as a speaker and senior pastor, here are some insightful and challenging thoughts to help each of us become more of an encourager to those with whom we minister.
- Do not be judgmental
Be open, welcoming, and gracious to everyone who walks through the doors of your church. It is easy to assume certain things based on dress & hair, tattoos & piercings, or even perceived personality traits or attitudes. See the good in a person and realize that these individuals are important to the Lord.
- Be honest, transparent, and genuine
People want to know you, so let them get to know you! Be personable from the stage by being transparent. Don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself and give personal illustrations. Help people feel like they know you. Robert Schuller gave senior pastors this advice:Whenever you encounter people do three things.
- Give them a look (look them in the eye).
- Give them a touch (a handshake or appropriate hug).
- Give them a word (say something encouraging to them).
That’s magnificent advice for any pastor who wants to encourage his people. Looking someone in the eye, appropriately touching them and then sharing something encouraging with them is a powerful gift we can give people.
- Smile often when you preach
Many of the perceptions people will have about the friendliness of your church will stem from how the pastor comes across as he preaches. Smiling helps make you more approachable.
- Let people talk about themselves
Most people enjoy sharing about themselves. Ask open-ended questions and make sure you are looking at them as they answer and listening to what they say.
- Be sensitive to people’s needs.
People may have difficulties you know nothing about – they may not be able to read, have hearing problems or other issues they keep hidden. For example, if needing someone to pray aloud in a public setting, make sure to check with them ahead of time rather than calling on them and putting them on the spot which could embarrass them in front of others.
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