By Mickey Mallory — In the sports world, players tend to do better when someone cheers them on. Why is this the case? Because when people cheer them on, it encourages them to try harder. To illustrate this point, NBA player Joel Embid remarks, “Every time I’m on the court, every time a fan cheers for me, I just want to go out and make a play for them to cheer even more.”

Just curious, what would happen in the church if we cheered for each other like fans cheer for their favorite player? For example, suppose we made it a point to cheer for our pastor, we chose to respond with a hearty “Amen” when they preached, or we told them in person or via email/text that we appreciate them and believe God is using them. Can you imagine how that would be received? Can you imagine how it would impact their ministry? My guess is it would serve as a huge source of encouragement.

Last month, I was thrilled to hear that several churches in the Rocky Mountain Conference have been cheering their pastor on by showing them appreciation. I asked a few pastors recently to share what it meant to them to experience such appreciation.

“I was so blessed by the way my church family shared their appreciation for me this month! I could tell by the thoughtfulness and enthusiasm that they showed that they meant it from the bottom of their hearts, and it was so gratifying and encouraging to hear how they said ‘Thank you for being one of our pastors,’” Michael Taylor, associate pastor of the Campion church, said.

Godfrey Miranda, Fort Collins church lead pastor, is thankful for his members. “As our church has expressed appreciation in big and small ways the last couple of weeks, I’ve been deeply humbled. It’s awesome to realize that God truly is fulfilling His good plans and purposes, especially since the varying seasons of ministry make you wonder at times. The gestures of appreciation have also communicated a tangible sense of support, that we’re all in this together, that what the church appreciates isn’t just my ministry for them, but with them.”

Way to go, church members. That’s impressive. What you did made not only your pastor smile, but even God Himself, who called them to ministry and is their biggest cheerleader. In the final seconds of the game of life, I believe He is calling every church to join Him in cheering for their pastor and everyone who serves. The following counsel from the writer of Hebrews makes this point very clear:

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24-25)

These are powerful words. Just think what would happen if every church followed them. Imagine what it would do to the morale. My guess is that church members would be so encouraged that they would want to accomplish even greater things for God. The church would then become a model to the sports world of the benefits of cheering for others.

–Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director