The idea for an “Encouragers Ministry” came to me after reading Hebrews 10:24-25 which says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds … encouraging one another …” In a commentary on that passage, William Barclay1 said:
As Barclay notes, it just seems to be easier to discourage one another than to encourage. And yet, encouragement is such a wonderful and much needed thing. How powerful it could be if we set our minds on becoming more encouraging people. Unfortunately, the rigors of everyday life keep us from developing this ministry as we should. It takes focus and practice; it is something we must be intentional about doing. So, I thought, maybe if even just a few people decide to be intentional about developing encouragement skills … And thus, this devotional series was born.
Originally, I sent the devotional out in hard copy to subscribers. Each month they would receive the devotion, a companion Bible study, and suggestions on how to apply the study. Some used it as a group study to start an “Encouragers Ministry” in their church or with a group of friends. But many individuals have worked through the material on their own as well and found it rewarding.
When shipping the materials in hard copy format, I always included a little something “extra” – bookmarks, magnets, note cards, craft ideas and such – which could be used by the recipients as reminders of the monthly focus or be given away to others they sought to uplift. The hard copy version is still available. If you would like to subscribe, email me (email@example.com).
This is the first time I have tried to put the devotional into digital form, so bear with me as I experiment with format. And feel free to leave me suggestions in the comments.
Here’s what you will receive if you follow this series on my blog every Wednesday:
A year’s worth of monthly devotions with messages to encourage you personally and inspire you to minister encouragement to others.
An accompanying study guide with four sections:
- Information – additional reading, further thoughts on the month’s texts, and Bible study questions.
- Meditation – things to prompt personal reflection as to how the devotion may be speaking to you.
- Application – a section for ideas (both yours and mine) for activities you may want to do, people who come to mind as you’re reading, and personal promptings you may want to act on. This is kind of the “brainstorming” section, so all options should be considered.
- Dedication – a place to write down things you want to commit to doing for that month or in months ahead. This last section may contain both personal and group project ideas.
I will post something related to the devotional series every Wednesday according to the following schedule:
1st Wednesday of the month – the devotional reading.
2nd Wednesday of the month – the study guide.
3rd Wednesday of the month – the answers to the study guide.
4th Wednesday (and the 5th if there is one) – my new version of the “something extra” I used to include in the hard copy. It might be a video, a tutorial, a link to a ministry idea or … well, I’m not sure yet. But I can tell you, I am passionate about this topic. I look forward to finding new ways to “spur you on to love and good deeds.” I am excited to share this journey with you.
To make sure you don’t miss any of the posts for the Encourager’s Devotional, click on my right sidebar to subscribe by email to follow me on WordPress.
1William Barclay, The Letter to the Hebrews, The Daily Study Bible (Edinburgh: The St. Andrew Press, 1955), pp. 137-138.