Honouring people well

Photo by Hayley Seibel on Unsplash

A few people have commented to me lately about the acknowledgements in my new book (Ministry Stinks: One leader’s journey from despair to joy). I’ve had people remarking at the great job I did of honouring the various people listed. I was actually quite chuffed about that feedback, because I am passionate about honouring people well. Not just in word but in action too. I guess you could say it’s a value of mine. I spend a lot of time thinking of the honourable thing to do. And I also find it hard when I feel like I haven’t been honoured.

So, I figured I would write a blog about it.

To me honouring a person is so much more than saying something encouraging or praising them. To honour a person is to recognise their innate value and to treat them with weight. Which means, that it takes intentionality and consideration. So with that, I give you my…


  • Consider the whole person

The prerequisite for succeeding at this point, is that you have to get to know the whole person to be able to consider it. You may be able to presume some things about the individual based on the life circumstances that you are aware of, but it can feel quite inauthentic to the person. Particularly since they are often very aware of how many real conversations they’ve had with you.

Considering the whole person means getting to know the various parts of their life, that may not typically present to you. If they are a volunteer and the only thing you know about them is how good they are at welcoming people, then you are really going to struggle with honouring them. At least find out if they are married, their partners name, and if they have children. Find out what they do for work. Find out what they are passionate about. Find out their favourite meal, their love language. Anything else that paints more of a picture of who they are.

  • Think about who they are, and not only what they do

Now that you know more about them, have a think about how you would describe them apart from their skills and capabilities. We all like to be thanked for the contribution we make, but in general I’ve found that people are really blessed when they realise that you see them for the person that they are rather than how they give (of which you likely benefit).

Additionally, this is a good time to consider what sacrifices or personal costs they are making. It’s up to you to decide whether you acknowledge this verbally, but I do find that it helps to develop a positive appreciation for the person.

  • Think about what they value

When you know a person well it is easier to determine their values. In fact, they may even have told you. Values are those beliefs, that underpin every behaviour and choice. Maybe it’s family. Maybe it’s friendship. Maybe it’s kindness. Maybe it’s authenticity. When you have a good idea of a person’s values, I find they really appreciate when you notice it, acknowledge and affirm it. Values are good! Even if they aren’t shared. Values are a demonstration of honourable traits. This person cares about something, enough to mould their choices in line with those cares.

Once you have all of this information, I find it’s really easy to allow the honouring to flow. If you are ordinarily a person who finds it hard to express emotion, consider writing down what you want to say and read it to them. It doesn’t diminish the sentiment, in fact, it can show how much you care to express it accurately.

Ultimately, the best way to honour a person is to consider how you treat them, in light of what you know via points 1,2 and 3. Words can only go so far, if your actions don’t line up.

If you’d like to purchase my book, it can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Book Depository or Koorong.