We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things.
~Hebrews 10:24, CEV~
As we find ourselves busy about the work of serving those in the special needs community, it can become easy to forget that our colleagues, volunteers, team members and co-laborers are part of our mission field as well. This area of ministry is demanding and sometimes discouraging with the large size of the mission field, the lack of understanding that remains in the larger church, and the deep needs of those who are served. Those leading in special needs ministry need an equal proportion of encouragement. And frequently, many of our coworkers walk that same disability journey while also serving the community, requiring an extra ounce of edification.
What might this look like? The other day, I was pushing on through a long stretch of alternating trials with 2 of my 3 children. Out of the blue, I received a phone call from a colleague in another state. “I’m just giving you a quick call to encourage you today,” she announced. Almost instantly, my demeanor changed. Who doesn’t like to know somebody is thinking of them for no particular reason at all? With our work deluging us with demands, it is uplifting to hear from a person who wants nothing from us at all. Our conversation was brief, but it put a spring in my step, giving me added stamina to push forward with an important project.
I can cite many other occasions I have been privy to, where the recipient was spurred on at just the right time. Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, a volunteer may have received a hand written note stating how invaluable they were to their organization, or a leader was delightfully surprised with flowers, or a blog was simply complimented when the writer felt that no one was reading their words. In each of these situations, it made the difference between throwing in the towel and having passion for the work rekindled. Additionally, exchanging, debating and applauding ideas can further energize those we work alongside.
Friends, let me encourage you to develop a lateral awareness. Notice those working in your midst. Find a simple, kind word or gesture for them. And in doing so, multiply the inspiration your ministry builds.