Serving with Dignity is an asset-based approach to service that you’ll find to be quite different from the traditional needs-based approach. Needs are still met in the asset-based paradigm but the one experiencing the need plays a more active role in addressing that need and the nature of the relationship changes from one that is more dependent to one that is more interdependent and dignified. This is particularly fertile soil for growth and change. And that’s what we want to see. We serve to make a difference, to alleviate suffering, to offer hope and practical help, to change things. As we serve with dignity, we find that the one thing that we can be most sure of changing is ourselves.

The asset-based principle is one of ten core principles in the Serving with Dignity paradigm that align in the three categories shown below. A foundational text for the curriculum the Parable of the Well Served Traveler (commonly referred to as the Good Samaritan). Other key texts include Paul's letter to the Philippians, Matthew 25, and James.

Co-laboring (serving with rather than for in order to build dignified interdependent relationships)

  1. Faithful - serve out of gratitude and dependence on God

  2. Dignified - respect for everyone as an image bearer of God

  3. Interdependent - giving and receiving, relational

Contextualized (from a posture of appreciation with more questions than answers)

  1. Asset-based - building on what people and communities already have

  2. Place-focused - working with a particular neighborhood

  3. Culturally deferent - honoring the cultural context and existing leaders

  4. Structural - addressing structural pressures while engaging individual responsibility

Committed (keeping the main thing the main thing for the long haul - love one another)

  1. Merciful  - doing no harm, alleviating suffering while also being willing to receive

  2. Loving - patient, kind, without envy, boasting, or pride

  3. Long-term - having a generational view even if your role is brief