Reading time: three minutes.
Are there scarier words in the world than “Trust me!”? I’ve got older brothers. Growing up, when I heard “Trust me,” it was usually followed by something cataclysmic, a couple of bruises and potentially a few stitches. Over the years, we all learn that the safest response to the question, “Do you trust me?” is “Of course not! Do I look like Charlie Brown?”
The Christian faith is based on trust. God is trustworthy. And we’re learning to trust each other.
The story of the Scriptures is partly the story pf people like you and me who can’t be trusted because our character has been twisted and corrupted by sin. But the story of the Scriptures is mostly the story of our God who is perfectly trustworthy in every way.
God has proven Himself faithful to His promises over and over in every generation through all the ages. It’s a wondrous and world changing thing when His faithful people put their faith and trust in Him. Then they become trustworthy too!
Jesus showed the disciples that He could be trusted. Then He left them in charge.
When our trust and reliance is entirely on God’s grace and mercy, and when we all together are prayerfully and sincerely seeking God’s will for His kingdom work in our congregations, then we can learn to trust one another as leaders in the Church.
When the people of a congregation know that their pastor has only the will of God and their best interests in mind, they can learn to trust him. Sadly, in many of our congregations, that trust has been broken. That happens in numerous ways.
It’s tragic when the Pastor’s life gets out of balance spiritually, relationally, emotionally or physically. Far too often that leads to poor judgment, poor decisions, misbehavior; the kinds of things that can destroy trust.
But I’m becoming more and more convinced that when the Pastor and the people work hard to establish trust for one another (notice: it goes both ways!) they can dare and do great things for the Lord’s mission on earth.
When the relationships in church are strong, everything else seems to fall into place. We use a “marker” of relational wellbeing that talks about trust, respect and love. We earn trust by showing love and respect for others. Lack of love and lack of respect undermines trust.
In thirty years as a parish pastor, I tried a lot of things that just, plain didn’t work out. I did a few that were really bad ideas, too. I’d love to hear one of your stories of trying something that led to a miserable failure in your ministry, and then moving along to the next adventure. It’s possible to have colossal disappointments and not be destroyed by them, because the grace that inhabits strong relationships allows for blunders.
Trust breeds trust. How wonderful to hear from people at the church, “Try again, Pastor. We know you’re not perfect, but you’re trying to lead us forward. Let’s try something new.”
How’s the trust where you serve? What could you do to help build that trust? It will be worth it.
Thanks for reading.
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