Conspiracy of Encouragement

Picture yourself as a teenager. It’s the dark days of exams at high school. The studying is getting you down. You’ll never get this math/english/french/science [pick whichever applied to you] figured out.

The door bell rings. You think, “aarrgh, who’s be ringing our bell now? Probably somebody trying to sell something, I don’t want to answer the door!”

But you go to the door and it’s one of  your youth leaders. They’re holding a package and smiling. “I wanted to bring you an exam survival kit,” they say.


Wrapped up as a present is an apple, a can of pop, home baked cookies, a silly toy from the dollar store, a candy, a simple craft, chocolate, a soft foam ball you can toss around without destroying your room, and finally a note written especially to you from them. And to the surprise of you and your family, they pray for you right there in your front hall! And then they leave.

That happened last night to dozens of the high school kids in our church’s youth ministry. Reactions included hugs, tears, smiles, laughter and lifted spirits. Younger siblings were jealous. Parents were flabbergasted and touched. Our young people were encouraged. I know, because our daughter was one of them.

My wife, the Youth Pastor, was the brains of this conspiracy. She and her high school youth leaders took the time to bake, plan, write, pray and assemble Exam Survival Kits. They do it once every few years as a surprise. If they did it every year students would expect it. As it is now, it arrives in a flash of surprising encouragement to the youth. These leaders love them like Jesus does at the hard times when they least expect it and in creative self-giving ways.

How and for whom could you plan your own conspiracy of encouragement? 

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