Fixing something implies that it isn’t functioning. It’s not quite right, and you know just the way to set it right.
Purple Door Coffee isn’t about fixing people. Purple Door Coffee is about walking along side each employee and providing what they need to develop into the people that God intends. Our stated mission is to reclaim and sustain the lives of homeless and street-connected youth and young adults through supportive and meaningful employment. We ourselves don’t do the reclaiming and sustaining. We simply are a piece in the cog that moves and transforms lives. We believe that God changes hearts and lives, and he chooses to use messed up people like the team at Purple Door. In the book Theirs is the Kingdom Robert Lupton talks on this subject saying:
“When I presume to fix someone, I shape that person with my values, doctrine, hygiene, parenting, vocabulary, housekeeping, nutrition, and a host of other things. Fixing is a license to fashion after my image one who may be uniquely created to flower in quite a different form. It is a dangerous business because it may block or skew the growth of another. And it may unwittingly intrude on the work that God reserves for himself alone.”
This is tough. I believe I lead a happy and productive life, so why shouldn’t someone model some things after how I live? Why wouldn’t people want to lead a life similar to mine?
Well, people are made incredibly uniquely, and my life is just that, mine. It’s been impacted by who I know; how I was raised; my own skills, gifts and passions. So, the people I am serving are no different. They have their dreams, goals and aspirations. We all have our own struggles and hang-ups. So, I must not adopt a top-down mentality of serving, but a “we’re working through this together” mentality. In my time at Purple Door already I have learned the value of words of affirmation. They’re not my default by any means, but they are incredibly valuable. People need to hear that they are doing well, and are making good choices.
What I have learned in giving instruction, specifically in the realm of life-skills and personal development, is that teaching is not so much about rules or specific tasks to check off, but principles and concepts that help one develop a world view that allows for authentic change to take root in one’s life.
When this is done, and the principles and concepts begin to take root in the life of the individual they are then free to grow and flourish in healthy ways specific to them. We believe that God will grow each individual as they open themselves to Him. We’re just here to model a life that is consciously choosing to open up to God, and to walk along side our employees as they journey to become the people God intended them to be. This is hard as it is a relinquishing of control, but it is a relinquishing of control to the One who really should be in control. And that’s pretty encouraging, because that means He’ll fill in the gaps when we fall short.
Purple Door is not about fixing, but about modeling the life and character of Jesus–the only one that provides true transformation.