Why It’s Important to Encourage Spiritual Leaders

There are days when your spiritual leaders could use some encouragement, yet most of them could probably use a lot. You may never know the difference that a small intentional dose may provide for someone else.

Have you ever thought about what it means to encourage someone? The verb indicates that you are providing courage to someone who needs it. The task focuses on someone who needs an extra jolt of bravery to continue doing whatever they are doing.

11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-13

In this passage about emboldening believers to stand fast in challenging times, Paul directs these believers to “encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing” (1 Thess. 5:11). During trying times, we all need people around us cheering us on as we follow Jesus. Our intentional efforts to come alongside others to spur them forward can be a critical component in another’s endurance. All of us can think of people whom God used in times of need to encourage us.

You probably can think of pastors, ministers, counselors, teachers, and mentors in your list of encouragers. Within their roles and responsibilities, it was the relationship you had with them that made all the difference. Something about their examples and exhortations ministered to you at pivotal times. Sometimes I think about those spiritual giants who had gone before me and led me in my walk and wonder how many people they have encouraged through their years of faithful ministry.

Then the thought occurs: I wonder how many people seek to encourage them.

We often miscalculate and think our spiritual heroes are invincible to discouragement and doubt, but they struggle just like the rest of us.

That’s why Paul encouraged us to encourage them! As we recognize their faithful laboring and leading service, we should take any opportunity to regard them highly for their work. 

Spiritual leaders often check in on others, and sometimes, people fail to check in on them.

  • They counsel so many, but who gives them advice?
  • They intercede for others in times of need, but who calls them to see if they need prayer?
  • They send notes of scriptural encouragement to others, but who makes it a priority to do the same for them?

To apply this passage today, take the time to minister to someone who has ministered faithfully to you.