Our present circumstances may preclude practicing some of the advice herein that requires physical proximity, but we pray that you will find encouragement in these words and seek ways to share that encouragement with others.

Thank you for following “Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker,” a series of church worker wellness devotions from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. You can find the complete library of these devotions and a large selection of other church worker wellness resources on LCMS webpages.

By James Lohman, director of Christian education

A note of encouragement

“So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.” (Acts 15:30–32)

As part of a workshop I lead called “Gathering the Generations,” I end with a challenge to the participants.

After providing an envelope, note card and pen, I invite them to think of someone they know from a generation other than their own.

Once they have determined who this person is, I ask them to spend the next few minutes writing the person they selected a handwritten note of encouragement.

As the final step of the challenge they are instructed to deliver the note to the recipient either in person or by mail.

In the passage from the book of Acts above, the congregation in Antioch “rejoiced” because of the written and spoken words of encouragement they received.

Today, just as in this time of the early church, people still need words of encouragement.

I know this is true for me. A recent note of thanks and encouragement from a younger church worker caused me to rejoice.

In the various settings where we daily find ourselves, there are people we encounter who provide us with encouragement and others who may need our encouragement.

Encouragement can be a “play it forward” opportunity. As I rejoice through the written and spoken words of encouragement I receive, the encouragement I “play forward” can cause others to rejoice.

Who can you encourage?

  • The co-worker who we see daily in the hallway or lunch room.
  • The caregiver of someone experiencing a newly diagnosed or long-term health challenge.
  • The first or second-year pastor, classroom teacher, director of Christian education or deaconess, still learning and growing in their new vocation and location.
  • The student who is experiencing the joys and challenges of grade school, high school or college.
  • The friend or family member who is experiencing grief or loss.
  • The church staff member or volunteer who faithfully serves.

The words of encouragement you share don’t need to be lengthy or verbose. A psalm or Scripture verse is always appropriate. Add a personal reflection and/or observation to express gratitude. Provide a compliment, thanks or prayer support.

More importantly, remind them of the love they have through Jesus Christ and the many gifts we have through Him.

May the love of Jesus for you be your encouragement to give to others.

Thank you, Lord, for the people who encourage me. As the disciples encouraged those in the early church with their words, use me today, Lord, to be an encourager to those I encounter in my life. Continuously send encouragement into my life, Lord, and use my words to reflect the caring love of Jesus Christ. Amen.

“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” devotions and prayers are archived online.

For more information about church worker wellness, email workerwellness@lcms.org.