#042: Five Elements of Powerful Encouragement

No individual performs at their peak over the long haul without encouragement. More than salary and great benefits, the sense of value that comes from encouragement builds self-esteem and loyalty.

Encouragement Blackboard

A recent Gallup poll found that only 13% of workers worldwide are engaged at work. And if that weren’t bad enough a full 24% are actively disengaged. Imagine the productivity gains that might result if employees were fully engaged at work!

A survey by Jobstreet.com reported the top five reasons employees leave their jobs included lack of recognition. Further, they found that while many employees will leave for more money, they will stay if they love what they are doing!

Encouragement is one of the best tools employers have for providing recognition that builds employee self-esteem and ultimately loyalty to the employer. And the best part is encouragement is free! It just takes some thoughtfulness and a few minutes of your time.

Barnabas, whose name means “Son of Encouragement,” is perhaps the best Biblical example of an encourager. His ability to encourage others had a major impact on several men and their ministries. Let look at one specific example to see what we can learn from Barnabas.

Paul begins preaching the Gospel following his conversion on the Damascus Road. The disciples are afraid of him because he had persecuted so many of them, and the Jews are mad because he was preaching so they conspired to kill him. Paul escapes and heads to Jerusalem where the disciples there are just as afraid of him. And this is where Barnabas enters the picture…

“But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus” (Acts 9:27 NASB).

As a result of Barnabas’ action, Paul was able to move freely through Jerusalem boldly preaching the Gospel, until once again the Jews conspired to kill him. This time, the disciples rescued him and sent him off to Tarsus. From there Paul’s ministry grew over the years as he continued to preach the Gospel wherever he went. But the launch point was that fateful day when Barnabas stepped up to encourage both Paul and the apostles.

What can we learn about encouragement from Barnabas?

  • Conviction. Barnabas had either witnessed Paul’s preaching in Damascus or had heard about it. Either way, he had become convinced that Paul was indeed what he said he was.
  • Proactive. Barnabas literally took hold of Paul and took him to the Apostles. He knew with the Apostles blessing, Paul would be free to preach.
  • Courageous. Taking the man who had been persecuting the disciples directly to the Apostles took courage. What if they didn’t believe him? Barnabas’ reputation was just as much at stake as Paul’s.
  • Timely. Barnabas didn’t wait, he took Paul directly to the Apostles.
  • Direct. Barnabas was very direct. He told the Apostles exactly what he knew about Paul and the work he had done in Damascus.


  • Conviction. People know when you are being sincere. If your encouragement is going to have the desired effect it needs to come from the heart and demonstrate your conviction.
  • Proactive. Look for opportunities to provide encouragement in the organization. Sometimes it may be direct to an individual but often encouragement needs to be delivered to a broader group.
  • Courageous. Being an encourager sometimes means taking a risk. You’ll need to stand on the side of an unpopular position. An encourager needs to be bold and courageous.
  • Timely. Encouragement will do the most good when it is delivered promptly. Waiting for a week or longer makes encouragement nearly ineffective if the crisis has already past.
  • Direct. Encouragement needs to be direct and concise. People need to hear it and clearly understand. Don’t let the power of your encouragement get lost in a speech that runs on into the wee hours.

Join the Conversation:

As always questions and comments are encouraged. What else is important about offering encouragement in an organization? What have you done that has worked well?

Category: Relationships | Encouragement

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