When it comes to being an exhorter, observe two things:
(1) Exhortation is a neglected gift. No ministry is more needed in the church today, as that of encouragement. It’s so easy to find discouragement and so difficult to find encouragement. Even in the church. Most churches have what’s called a ‘cold water committee’. They’re always ready to tell you why something won’t work and point out how some programme went wrong. They seem to talk louder and longer than the encouragers, which leads to the next point.
(2) Exhortation is a needed gift. No matter how well things may be going, or how well someone looks on the outside, every one of us can use some encouragement. In fact, encouragement is so important that the whole church is to be involved in it. ‘Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.’ (Hebrews 10:24–25 NKJV)
Church is a place where people should be picked up, not knocked down. We need to encourage people when they don’t need it, instead of waiting until they do. If you wait too long your encouragement may be too late. Don’t wait until something good happens to speak an encouraging word; make it a regular practice. ‘But I don’t know what to say,’ you protest. Ask God for wisdom and you’ll get it. ‘The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.’ (Isaiah 50:4 NIV)