This Autumn we’re encouraging everyone in the Zeo family to find 2-3 people to connect with each week (online, face to face, or on the phone) in a discipleship huddle (see our Huddles page for more info and to register).
Why do we believe huddles are so vital for our life and faith? Because they offer much-needed spaces for encouragement.
- Are you feeling encouraged right now?
- When’s the last time someone encouraged you?
- When’s the last time you encouraged someone?
If you read an English Bible you’ll see the word ‘encourage’ all over the place. Partly because God is an encouraging God, and practically because encouragement is such a world-changing relational practice.
Remember that the original scriptures are not written in English. The Old Testament is written in Hebrew and the New Testament is written in Greek. And what’s interesting is that a variety of different Hebrew and Greek words are used whenever we read the word ‘encourage’.
- When the Hebrew word ‘chazaq‘ (Proverbs 12:25) is used for ‘encouragement’ it’s talking about how encouraging people helps them to be strong, bold, courageous, and determined – and it’s used over six hundred times! Words of encouragement can really help people in the tough times as this little proverb reminds us, using this same Hebrew word.
- The Greek word “Tharseō” (Matthew 9:29) appears repeatedly throughout the New Testament and it means to encourage people to grow in confidence, and not be daunted by whatever they’re facing because they have your support. It’s also used in the sense that you encourage someone to ‘cheer up’. Not in a patronising, insensitive way, but with a real sense of stirring up hope that good things are about to happen for them.
- Then we find the repeated use of two similar Greek words ‘Paraklēsis‘ (Romans 12:8) and ‘Parakaleō’ (2 Corinthians 13:11) and both convey the importance of coming alongside someone for the purposes of comforting them, helping them find a way through a difficult time, being a refreshing presence in their lives, and kindly challenging them to be their best self.
- There’s one occurrence of the word ‘Protrepō‘ (Acts 18:27) which is used in the context of encouraging people to ‘go for it’ and ‘don’t hold back’. It carries that sense of ‘You can do this. You must do this.’ Our words become the fuel in the tank to help people to persevere and grow in their resilience.
We all need this, don’t we? And we need to offer it to others. So don’t be isolated – form or join a huddle.