So you know when you see a needy person holding a cardboard sign? We tend to feel awkward and look away. At the Life Center, we teach people how to interact with and serve the needy, so that we are spurred on to connect with them and meet them where they’re at.
Another key service ideal is the idea of valuing work. We realize that people, especially those experiencing need, feel the most respected when they are not experiencing a handout. We believe that God instituted the idea of work as something that is good and healthy. This means if you come to the Life Center, we want you to work, either to volunteer or to earn items. This allows for an appropriate sense of self-pride to spur you on towards growth in other areas.
One of our main service ideals is the idea of sustainability. It forms a healthy foundation of progress for our clientele. When we look to help people, we don’t start with crippling phrases like “get a job” or “why don’t you find a house already.” We understand that life looks different for different people. Not everyone is meant to live in a white picket fence nor should everyone should try to be the CEO of a company. We are looking to making sure that people can sustain themselves. This means we are constantly working ourselves out of a job at the Life Center. While we want to help others, we don’t anyone to continue to be reliant on us to survive.
At the Life Center, we constantly remind ourselves the truth that we are all a little needy. While, as humans, often work hard to put on a façade to prove otherwise, we all have struggles in our lives. The unfortunate reality is that while we maintain our outward exterior, we cannot truly serve other people. When our focus is on maintaining our outward appearance those we serve will feel “less than” us. To fight against this, the Life Center has taken the approach of becoming awkwardly vulnerable. We understand it is uncomfortable to admit our areas of need and embrace that mentality, but when done appropriately this allows us to push forward and serve people from a healthy place.
One of the hardest service ideas to accept is the idea of boundaries. A common theme, especially from people who are followers of Jesus, is that we want to love without bounds. Unfortunately, this idea can cripple someone, while trying to serve them. We should not think about boundaries as in opposition to the fact that we love someone, but because we care for people so deeply. Every relationship requires boundaries, whether spoken or unspoken, to function well. In our experience, when serving someone, expressing boundaries, allows each person to not get caught up in miscommunication, but instead move forward in growth.