Work ‘with’ people, not ‘on’ people. I learnt this a long time ago working with youth. Don’t run youth group ‘for’ young people, as if they were consumers. Run it ‘with’ young people. Treat them as contributors in their youth community. I have learnt as a pastor we don’t provide care ‘to’ people, but ‘with’ people. People are not projects. They have dignity and capacity for their own wellbeing. In even the most challenging of circumstance, I try to have eyes open to opportunities of contribution.
In church life, there are many opportunities to put this into practice. After Kids Church, our children can help pack up. At the end of youth group young people can clean up. When someone is unwell, working with family and friends to provide care. When someone needs aid, working with them to find out what they can do, not just what they can’t do.
It can be a blessing to receive, not just give. Granted, some have already taken this lesson to heart! Yet, those who are eager to give or serve can find this hard. Do you notice, if you are a relentless servant, others struggle to contribute? Or worse, live with dependence on you? The remedy? Stop doing everything. Let others take responsibility too. Let them bless you too. It is their blessing to take responsibility and serve others. This is the way healthy family and church community works, we all look out for one another. We all contribute. We all play our part.