What Does an Encourager Look Like?
Are you an encourager? A couple of years ago I posted a blog about the leadership characteristics of Jesus. That post was founded upon the Gospel of Mark that begins by telling the reader about nine behaviors of Jesus as a leader. When reading the first chapter of Mark there are some distinctive traits of Christ that every team leader can learn from! These characteristics of leadership can be very powerful for anyone attempting to be a healthy leader.
The Apostle Paul is another New Testament leader that shows some very significant skills. There are thirteen epistles in the New Testament that have been attributed to Paul. With this type of influence in his writing and his missionary journeys, Paul is a major force in the development of the early church. That is why it is important to consider his actions as a strong leader.
One of the powerful behaviors of the Apostle Paul was that of an encourager. A severe conflict had taken place between the Christians and those who worshiped idols in the town of Ephesus. The book of Acts tells this story in chapter 19.
“About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.
When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater. The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.” (Acts 19:23-32)
This type of behavior could cause any leader to become discouraged. Chaos was evolving. There were even people in the dispute who did not even know why they were there (Acts 19:32).
In times of conflict and disharmony Paul stepped in to become an encourager. The Acts account says that, “When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia.” (Acts 20:1)
What exactly is an encourager? Paul shows by his example what a healthy encourager looks like.
An encourager is :
- One who inspires others with their bravery
- One who has confidence in the cause
- One who trusts the skills of others to help in the completion of the task
- One who promotes
- One who inspires
These five character traits can be easily seen in the behavior of the Apostle. In one of letters to the early Church Paul put encouragement this way when he wrote, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up……” (1 Thess. 5:11) Building others up is a strong focus of all healthy leaders.
How about you? Are you an encourager? Are you attempting to develop your skills as encourager? Regardless of the role you play this type of behavior is needed in any organization.