I’m increasingly convinced that the key to healthy community is encouragement. The way to live together is to find the things in others that are their strengths and affirm them. Affirm them not only in their existence, which the other person might not even recognize in themselves, but encourage them in their development and application. Call them out and give the other the person the courage (en-courage) to walk them out.
If and when we embrace this type of mindset, the possibilities for long-term relationship and significant contributions individually as well as corporately go through the roof. We are no longer bound by the limitations of our individual insecurities or the frailty of our fears that are rooted in our weaknesses. The empowerment that comes with releasing others to walk in their gifts is dynamic and culture changing. There are a few components of this cultural dynamic that are worthy of note:
- Encouragement breeds security and vision in both the recipient and the encourager. It takes everyone’s eyes off of the voids and puts them on the possibilities.
- Encouragement carves out individual place in the context of a greater community and therefore makes room for diversity of gifts. If one is encouraged to operate in that one’s gifts, then the void of gifts are covered by different ones.
- Encouragement is an antagonist to offense. With focus on the strengths of individuals there is no room for focus on the ways that their faults offend us. We choose a more noble perspective.
- Encouragement breeds encouragement as we are built up and comfortable working from gifts instead of anxiety over weaknesses, we feel freedom to be who we are. Free people tend to free other people. It’s contagious.
- In a corporate setting where there is clear vision and a release of the diversity of gifts inherent in the group, the force of multiplication is released. It’s no longer about the limitations of the weakest link in the chain or even the strength of the talented, but the synergy that comes with complimentary support of one gift towards another and vice versa.
All throughout Paul’s letters, he encourages those that he was mentoring to encourage one another. He was nurturing a movement. It was a movement of the Kingdom and a consistent component necessary for sustained momentum was encouragement. Some things never change.