Athletes do much better with coaches who support them. Someone trying to lose weight will succeed better with people supporting them through the ups and downs. The first time I read through the New Testament as a middle schooler was because three other guys were reading it with me and meeting weekly to talk about it.  

 

The same is true in ministry leadership. We need the support of others, which could come by way of coaching, lending a listening ear, and challenging us.  

 

It takes humility to receive support.  

It takes compassion to give support.  

 

I started writing in April about the life of Barnabas, the encourager, partly because so many pastors feel discouraged. In our Baptist world of conventions and associations, encouragement should be close to every pastor!  

 

Imagine the strength and fruitfulness that would come if pastors supported each other like Barnabas did the Apostle Paul. Barnabas supported Paul: believing in him, vouching for him, and developing him. 

 

After coming to faith in Christ, Paul tried to hang out with the disciples in Jerusalem, but they were afraid of him! This is understandable— before his conversion, Paul was named Saul and was known for killing followers of Jesus. His was a radical conversion! The guy who’s been against them wants to join them? What’s the trick here? What’s the underlying motive? 

 

Verse 27, though, starts this way: But Barnabas…  

 

Barnabas viewed Paul differently. He told the apostles about Paul’s conversion and his new reputation of preaching in Jesus’ name. In other words, he publicly encouraged him by standing in his corner. 

 

I’ll never forget feeling supported when I started following my calling to ministry, initially in youth ministry. I remember sitting in a diner during my college years in Frostburg, Maryland, with Tim, my youth minister. He told me he was leaving the area and had a meeting that night at the church to tell them he would be resigning. I’ve never forgotten what he said next: “I am going to recommend that you take over for me.” 

 

Talk about support! I was potentially going to be in a situation where people might not believe that I could do it. I’m not even sure I believed I could do it at the time! But having someone standing in my corner gave me the push I need to do what I felt God was calling me to do.  

 

Pastors near you could doubt their abilities, question their calling, and feel like they might not make it through their current challenge. One phone call could do more than you might ever know. Encourage by supporting them. Get in their corner. Cheer them on. Help them learn and discover as they move ahead.  

 

Maybe you need encouragement. Seek it out. I don’t know one pastor who would turn you away if you reached out to him and asked him to pray with you.  

 

Encourage someone today by supporting them.