The Encouragement Project began as an idea embeddded in my mind and then my heart, after seeing how people that I came across in my day to day life responded to words of encouragement. A frustrated and harrassed mother in the supermarket queue smiled when I told her she was incredible to shop with three children under five; a neighbour glowed when I commented on her stunning flower beds; a colleague gained new confidence when I said how much I valued her input and expertise. I thought often about how amazing it would be if more and more people chose to be encouragers in a world that often seems to be full of criticism, harsh words and negativity.
Then came a Sunday morning at my church where our congregation was challenged to put “hands and feet” on the expression of our faith by undertaking a Kingdom Assignment – to use our time, talents, resources and our stories to intentionally demonstrate radical love in our community.
And so The Encouragement Project began.
It’s a simple idea really. I had some business cards printed and then I started looking for opportunities to write short notes of encouragement on the back and give them to people. I wanted to move my desire to be an encourager from good intentions to positive action and the Encouragement cards helped me to do that. I set up the be-encouraged website so that anyone who followed the link on the card would find out more about The Encouragement Project and maybe tell their story of how words of encouragement made a difference to them.
The Bible speaks about the power of words to build up and also to tear down those around us. “The tongue has the power of life and death.” (Pro 18:21), “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Pro 12:25) “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”(Pro 16:24)
What we say, matters. How we say it, matters. If we speak words of encouragement, it matters. Join me in becoming an encourager.