When we hear the word "encouragement," we often think of someone who's "discouraged" and in need of a little "encouraging." That may sometimes be the case, but that's not the focus here. Encouragement comes from the word "courage," and when we think of that, we often picture someone having the courage to do something great, the courage to overcome and stay strong in the fight. That's what this is about—inspiring one another to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Eph. 6:10). We're in a spiritual battle, and as a church family we're in it together.
The goal of this program is to facilitate encouragement and spiritual strength as adults of all ages meet one-on-one over coffee (or tea, or Barry’s cinnamon rolls, etc.) with an intentional, structured focus on accountability, targeted discussion, prayer and a love for God’s Word. Check out the following agenda and imagine the impact this could have on our church family if we put it into practice!
"Therefore ENCOURAGE one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
For both men and women
Meet for about 60 minutes, 2x/month for 2 months
Meet whenever and wherever you want
Be committed to the meeting purpose/agenda
Of course, either person is free to step out of the program at any time as needed
Encouraging Questions to Guide Your Time Together (about 60 min.)
Here are encouraging questions for everyone to use:
Daily Devotions (10m): How has God spoken to you through His Word the past two weeks?
Scripture Memorization (5m): What verse(s) would you like to quote today? And why did you choose them?
Christian Reading(5m): What good Christian articles/books are you reading? What are you learning?
Key Elements of Christianity (20m): 4 predetermined topics - see below.
Current Issues (10m, optional): What “hot topics” and pressing issues are on your mind this week? Encourage each other with Scripture, advice and prayer. (Tip: If possible, notify your partner in advance so they can prepare their thoughts!)
Prayer (10m): Focus on personal needs that are not typically shared in a large group. (Time left over? Catch up on the rest of life!)
“Key Elements of Christianity” Topics
"If you only had 10 minutes to share your heart and passion with me on this topic, what would you say?” This is where you discuss four of life’s most important issues. Start with relevant Scriptures (as God’s Word must be the foundation of our discussion). Then share personal testimony, common mistakes and wrong thinking, wise steps of action, etc. Work through the following list (1 topic per meeting):
Personal Bible Study & Prayer: How do you go about making God's Word real and alive in your personal study? How do you experience the reality of talking with God through prayer?
Decisions: How do you determine God's will for life's big decisions (and the little ones)?
Evangelism: How do you go about sharing your faith with others?
Singleness, Marriage & Moral Purity: What are the "pillars" that guide you through these stages in life?
Additional Topics (should you choose to continue meeting beyond the 2 months):
Prioritizing Life: How to keep the main thing the main thing (share your life priorities, why you have them, and how you keep them prioritized)
Church Life: How to effectively serve and engage with your church family
Personal Holiness: How to seek God and still respect others as you set (and live out) your own personal convictions for daily, Christian living
Employment: Finding and keeping a good job, trusting God as you work hard, lessons you've learned, etc.
Financial Stewardship: Frugality, borrow or save, credit, etc
And anything else you'd like to encourage and strengthen each other in.
“But what if I don’t have much to say? What if I’m actually struggling in one of these areas?” Then be honest—and let a brother or sister in Christ encourageyou! Truth is... we all have struggles. That’s what this program’s for! Keep it personal. Be open. Be committed. Expect God to do great things in both of your lives.
* Looking for resources to study on some of these subjects? Check out the Resources section here on the Community site! (See top menu.)
So how do I get started?!
Just reach out to someone in the church and invite them to go through the Encourage program with you! Don't wait. Don't be bashful. Just reach out. Show them how much you value their faith and friendship.
What?? Did you say, "selfie"?
Yep. At your first meeting, take a snap of the two of you in your favorite coffee shop (or living room or wherever) and post it in the photo tab on this page if you'd like. Let others see that you're in this together!
If you're participating in or are excited about the encourage program, feel free to join this group!
When you're done with your 2 months, connect with a NEW person and repeat the process at any time! Consider doing this at least a couple times per year. Over time, you will get to know and encourage your church family on a much deeper level - and your church family will do the same for you.