The Ministry of Encouragement
Western culture has made a cult of success, and the church has accepted the larger culture’s definition, focusing on success as growth in membership and budget, rather growth in faithfulness as disciples of Jesus. When we do not measure up, we become discouraged, disillusioned, and perhaps even envious.
Paul Moots offers a welcome antidote: a vision for the ministry of encouragement. Based on his study of the book of Acts, Moots has identified five incidents from the ministry of Barnabas, an easily overlooked character, that provide a starting point to explore encouragement and how it can work in a congregation. Moots then examines five components of this ministry: partnership, hospitality, courage, reconciliation, and authenticity.
Moots details numerous examples to show how the ministry of encouragement offers a workable, effective pattern for church leadership. “I am convinced,” he writes, “that accepting Barnabas as my model has changed my ministry for the better and that Barnabas's example can benefit any pastor and congregation who take his lessons seriously.”
Barnabas and his ministry of encouragement offer us a focus for the vital, messy, and exhilarating work required of us as faith communities.
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