small childs hand grasping the pinkie finger of a larger adult hand with text encourage one another and build up each other ... 1 thessalonians 5:11 nrsv

One of my favorite biblical characters has been my model for ministry for many years. His name is Barnabas, who was nicknamed, the “son of encouragement.” His story is told in Acts 4:36-37; 9:26-27; 11:19-26; and 15:35-41. In each church that I have served, I have invited them to join me in a MUTUAL      MINISTRY OF ENCOURAGEMENT. You are invited to join me in encouraging each other and building up    each other in the faith. How?

First, let me suggest that we all strive to practice the following words of Scripture: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Just think how encouraged we would all be if we just practiced that one verse toward each other.

Second, let me share with you a few things that encourage me. I find it encouraging when others tell me that they are praying for me. I find it encouraging when others in the community tell me about the positive things they are hearing about our church. I find it encouraging when you share your thoughts with me, your dreams, your concerns, your questions, your ideas, whatever you have on your mind. I find it encouraging when you share your faith with me and tell me how God is working in your life. I find it encouraging when I can fellowship with other believers. I find it encouraging when I hear others say they are committed to our mutual growth in Christ. I find it encouraging when others forgive me when I fail them.

Third, with that in mind, I have a question or two for you: “What are the things that encourage you in your faith? How can I build you up in the faith?” I look forward to getting to know you and learning what I can do to encourage you.

In preparation for next Sunday’s worship, I invite you to read Luke 5:1-11. Together, we’ll seek to answer the question: “What to do with the rest of your life?”

Recently, I have invited you to advise me on two things: 1. Suggest sermon topics and scriptures, and 2. Suggest some things you would like to study on Wednesday nights. I look forward to reading your suggestions!

Carol and I are excited to be a part of your fellowship and look forward to getting to know you.


Bill Duke


A Word From Your Pastor