Energize Ministries recently received this note from an anonymous friend:

“I’ve been in the mission field for about six months now, and I’m absolutely exhausted.  I don’t know where my continued emotional and mental energy will come from. It recently struck me that this is what my pastor has probably experienced for years, and now I’m feeling a very similar thing.       

I receive weekly emails of “encouragement”  from supporters, family, and friends masking  their opinions by saying “God told me…” or “God  put it on my heart to tell you…”, as though that is  going to justify the harsh words or opinions that  come after them. I never expected that my every  move would be so closely scrutinized, especially  from those who are 3,000 miles away and  think they know what is happening here! Despite their good  intentions, I trust that God will  reveal His  truth to me in His time.

   Encouraging is not manipulating with “Godly” words and phrases! Encouraging is genuinely praying that God can speak deeply into your pastors’ and ministry leaders’ hearts, and that He would speak loudly enough to drown out the other opinions, ideas, and often hurtful words that come from congregation members, friends, and even family.”

While we are sorry our friend is struggling, we are thankful for the shared wisdom about the difference between encouragement and manipulation.  Let’s remember to give our pastors and ministry leaders the gift of encouragement, with no strings attached.