Newsletter #550 – How to be a People Builder

 In the mid nineteen-seventies I published a book titled people-building 1How to Be a People Helper. It was translated into several languages and the English edition is still in print. Over the years I’ve shifted my interest away from counseling and more to what I call people building. This term includes counseling but the emphasis is broader.

People helpers, like professional counselors and therapists, focus on reaching out and helping others deal with personal and relational problems, many of which can be intense and sometimes devastating. People builders are focused more on individuals and groups that are concerned less about problems and more about growing. Coaches help others deal with life difficulties and challenges but there is more of an emphasis on goal setting and building on strengths. Educators, pastors, writers, trainers and leaders of all kinds emphasize problem solving but their focus is more on engaging, encouraging, guiding and equipping others to live more productive and fulfilling lives. People builders often are concerned about poverty, social justice, and team building. They include mentors, athletic coaches, sensitive parents, and others involved in the process of changing attitudes, improving skills and guiding others to make wise decisions, reach their goals and fulfill their potential.

Chapters 12 and 13 in the New Testament book of Hebrews give some characteristics of people-builders, especially those who are Christians. Effective people-builders are:

  • Models of the behavior, attitudes and morals that they seek to instill in others,
  • Trustworthy,
  • Free of bitterness and destructive criticism,
  • Willing to offer discipline and corrections that help others grow,
  • Persistent, not becoming weary so that they give up,
  • Committed to doing good and sharing with those in need,
  • Clear in their beliefs and values. For Christians this means keeping a focus on Jesus and being open to following his leading in our lives.

This is an impressive list, maybe impossible to put consistently into daily practice. Some among us work to build success, acquire riches, fame, and influence, none of which is innately bad. But what could be better than leaving a reputation as a people-builder?

In what ways are you a people builder? What should I have added to what I wrote? Please comment.


  1. Thank you for sharing these words of affirmation. They have been printed and added to my “wall of inspiration” in my office.


  2. I like this list a lot! My husband and I often say that we work to help people- individuals and groups – become what God has made them to be. Your list sums that up well!


  3. Hello Gary,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts re: People Builder’s.
    As a new Christian – 20 years ago – what I longed for is what you have described here as – a ‘People Builder.’ I found plenty of folk who would on an ad-hoc basis provide Godly counsel, encouragement, prayer ministry and discipleship; but not on a consistent basis. Which lead me to become a Life Christian Coach. It seemed to me to be the closest to what I would want for myself.
    What I now mostly minister is what you describe as ‘People Building.’
    Perhaps Christian Life Coaching needs clarifying with a ‘Strap-line’ such as: Christian Life Coaching – ‘Building people in Christ.’


  4. I enjoyed your book years ago and it inspired me. I think it is all included in the biblical concept of Blessing: to encourage that what is good in the other, what God already has done to praise Him for it and to encourage to go on following Jesus.


    1. Amy, I tried to reply to you but I don’t know if my reply got to you. Bottom linr, I wanted to say thanks. I am glad the p-h concept clarified some things for you. I wonder if you or anyone else noticed that this blog has people helper in the title? That is what I have been trying to do by sending tyhese messages every week.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s