“…encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. “ Titus 2:6-7
Are you an encourager? Do you take every opportunity you can to lift up and encourage the students that you minister to? I read chapter two of Titus last night and that verse kept jumping off the page at me. I begin to think if I am an encourager or do I discourage. For some, encouraging is easy. For me I have to make an effort. I guess the first stage is admitting a fault, and that’s one of mine. I hate when our small group will be over for the week and I think back on a comment one of the guys made and I realized I could have been more positive and encouraging. Those are moments God puts in front of us. We either take the pitch or don’t swing at it. Too often I don’t swing and I let the ball go by.
One of the most common complaints I hear from students is that their parents don’t appreciate what they do, don’t show up at sports events, or school events. They see other students with an adult encouraging them and giving them positive reinforcement, but they don’t have that in their lives. I know for myself, losing both my parents at a very young age, I always felt like I missed that part of my life, having someone there for me and cheering me on.
Today I have decided that’s an area where I’m going to put a lot of effort. I want to be the example to my guys in a lot of ways, how I live my life, how I treat others, how I talk, how I worship. But I also want to be an example in how I encourage others. Words can either hurt or build up; Steven wrote an excellent post on that last week. We need to use every opportunity to build up our students; fact is you might be the only positive role model in their life. An opportunity to encourage is an opportunity that God puts in front of us with students to model what it means to live a Christ-centered life.
What are ways that you encourage your students, what words do you use?