A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Exponential Conference in Orlando with the rest of our church ministry staff. Even though it started rough with the registration process, I was soon confronted with a bunch of speakers bombarding me with one central message — we need to multiply.
Sure, the main concept was for churches to multiply, but I also took this as an individual. I need to start pouring into others and send them out. I think this simple concept is something that will help me bridge my two desires: to reach a lot of people, but also to remain on this side of humility. By pouring into a select number of people in order to send them out, I’ll essentially be doing both.
By sending others, I can reach the many. It’s a concept that I somewhat just taught my high school students the other day, but I hadn’t fully processed it for myself. By reaching out to the one, we can potentially reach the many. Maybe the next person I pour into is the next Billy Graham or someone like that, who God uses to reach the masses.
As one of my youth ministry mentors, Doug Fields, said, we need to be “spotlight leaders.” These are not, as you may think, leaders who run to the spotlight. Instead, we need to push others into the spotlight. I need to find the God-given potential in others and encourage them to use their gifts, talents, and abilities for God.
This is what I think true encouragement really is — seeing the direction God wants for others and pushing them to follow it. Instead of just saying, “Good job,” it’s about saying, “Hey, I see that God has gifted you in this specific way, and He wants to use you to accomplish this thing for His Kingdom.” Not that the former is bad. It’s not at all. But the latter is what we should strive to be like.
This comes extremely natural to my wife, who is gifted in encouragement. It is not necessarily my strongest gift. But it is something I believe we should all strive to become. In a world of discouragement, we need to be like Barnabas, who was known as a great encourager. Who knows… Maybe God will use us to encourage someone like the Apostle Paul.
So, who are the people in your life that you are pouring into in order to send out to accomplish God’s will? If you don’t have someone yet, I encourage you to think of at least one. Start by speaking truth and life into them, and build them up for the purpose of eventually sending them out.
In student ministry, this is tough. If you’re like me, I want to keep my best students and leaders with me. I love my team, and I love my job. But maybe God’s saying to let them take control of something that is near and dear to you. Or maybe He’s saying to send out that leader to another ministry, church, or community so they can make an even bigger impact. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some people on my list that God is telling me to invest in. Let’s be encouraging senders instead of selfish hoarders.