What if dependency is a good thing?

By Jeff Palmer, CEO on August 31, 2017 | Print

What if we decided that dependency could be a good thing? What if, from the very beginning of working with people in relief and development ministry projects we saw dependency as potentially positive?

Of course, we don’t mean dependency on us the outsiders, but the community being dependent on each other and ultimately, God.

What if we entered the community with transparency of our dependency on God? Would it make a difference for them to see us, in humility, not trusting on our resources but in the grace and goodness of God?

I would like to propose that in our relief and development ministry efforts there are “good” dependencies and there are “bad” ones:

Bad – The local people are dependent on us, the outsiders, to come up with the resources for and solutions to their problems.

Good – The local people are dependent on one another to come up with the resource for and solutions to their problems.

Bad – The local people begin forming an exclusive relationship with us/our organization and look to us every time they have a new need.

Good – They local people have a good relationship with us but with others as well. They have learned to network with and tap local and national government resources to accomplish their goals. They have formed networking partnerships with other non-government organizations and have relationships with nearby institutions that can help provide local solutions to their problems.

Bad – The local people begin to view us as the answer to all their problems. They see how strong we are, the amazing resources we can bring to the table, and how independently successful we (the outsiders) are and they want to emulate us.

Good – The local people see that we (the outsiders) are people who are broken and in need of a Savior, just like them. They see us as having resources but they also have seen that we are dependent on the grace and mercy of God (because we are modelling this for them).

We need to avoid bad dependency but we also recognize that there are some healthy dependencies – especially the ones that point us to be more dependent on God and his goodness.