Before you get images of standing on the sideline screaming “L-I-F-E!” at your leaders, let’s get a biblical understanding of what encouragment is.

Let’s start with Hebrews 10:24-25.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…let us encourage one another.

The word encourage means “to make sharp, to irritate, to provoke.” Doesn’t exactly bring images of cheerleaders, does it?

Here’s the picture I have of encouragment – it’s in Matthew 16:16-19. Jesus does 3 key things.

1. He praised him for his success (v. 17a). This is absolutely a verbal thing but if you really want to make a marker for one of your leaders – write a note. Or show up at the beginning of their Life Group and “crash” for the first few minutes just bragging on what he or she did.

2. Jesus points out that God is working in and through Peter (v.17b). Affirming that someone is being used by God, then pointing out how will do more to make solid your leaders than anything else you do.

3. Jesus gives Peter more responsibility (v. 18-19). Jesus gives Peter more responsibility than he could handle. Peter was going to fail. Jesus knew it. More than likely the other disciples knew it. The only person who probably didn’t know it was Peter. Yet – Jesus gave it to him.

What does this mean for us? It means we risk. If we want to reproduce LEADERS, then we are going to have give them the freedom to fail. With out this freedom – we are going to have a hard time getting our leaders to step into new terroritory.

This is why the relational aspect to coaching is so huge. We must have safe, loving, but honest arenas to unpack our failures so that we can learn and grow from them.

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