You never truly know someone’s needs unless you ask them. While you may see a need, you won’t know the priority of that need until you listen to them. Commercial companies often do this better than the church because they listen to the people in order to understand the perceived need. Once they understand what the people perceive to be their need, they usually fill it.
If we are going to understand the needs of our partners, we need to take the time to sit with them and ask questions. When we understand which needs they want help with, we can put the right people in place to train them to meet those needs to ensure that they are no longer dependent on outside resources. Fixing a problem ourselves is easy and makes us feel good. Training a local church to meet the challenges in their own community takes a lot longer.
Francis Bukachi is the founder of Hope Alive Initiatives, a ministry in Africa focused on raising up and empowering local believers to bring wholistic transformation in poor communities.