More and more recently I find myself reflecting on the value and importance of trust in relationships. I am a pastor and I get to make a big deal about Jesus for a living. Church (Jesus’ people) is what I am passionate about. So when I read books like The Speed of Trust by Steven Covey, I apply the principles I learn to what I do…building up the church. Interestingly, most of the principles one reads about the value of trust are biblical. That’s because trust is a biblical value. The Scriptures teach us that relationships are of supreme importance to God. Trust is inherently relational. “Do people trust me?” is a relationship question. When I do not feel that I can trust someone else, our relationship is broken. Our God is in the business of restoring brokenness, especially broken relationships.
The first broken relationship that God has sought to fix is that between Himself and me (and you). In my sin and rebelliousness I was separated from God. He created humanity, and He knew that humanity would fall. He created me, and He knew that I would love myself at first more than I loved Him. He knew that my misplaced loyalty would cause me pain and lead to death. But He restored me through the loving act of sending His Son to make a way of righteousness for me , which I could not make for myself. He sent Jesus on a rescue mission to build a relationship bridge for me with the cross, so that I could be right with Him. This broken world offers us thousands of hard questions to answer. People are suspicious and skeptical. But the answer that is at the heart of the Gospel is this…we can trust God. He is trustworthy.
And since He has created us as relational beings, and called us to be more like Him; we can be assured that trust matters to God. When we build relationships that create and maintain trust, we reflect the truth that our God can be trusted. Many of us have existed for years in relationships that have little to no real authenticity. There is the shadowy indication of trust and trustworthiness, but when pressed beyond the surface these relationships have no substance. There is avast difference between pretending to trust, and really trusting someone. In many cases we have gone through the motions of coexistence so long that we have become numb to the distance between us. We convince ourselves that the paranoia we live with is only wise caution in relationships. “Watch out for yourself, because no one else will”, we tell ourselves. This is a false lifestyle that is a poor shadow of what God wants for us. These are counterfeit relationships that when viewed along side God’s real thing will pale in comparison. The sad reality is that lost people are better at spotting counterfeits than we are. People know authenticity when they see it.
If we in the church do not insist on moving beyond shallow counterfeit relationships into the deep, safe, meaningful relationships God wants for us, then we will continue to do great harm to the cause of Christ.
This is especially true in Sunday School, which is the heart of relationships in the church. The quality of our time worshiping together every week is directly related to all the other time we spend in private worship. We can serve and minister so much more effectively together than we can alone. But we cannot even begin to accomplish the goal of Sunday School unless we are with other people.
Join me in making a commitment to authentic, trust building relationships. As leaders in Sunday School we can set the standard for gospel honoring trust relationships in our church.
From an article I recently read:
Here are 7 ways to gain and keep trust as a leader:
Always display confidence but never cockiness.
People will trust a competent leader, but one who is arrogant will be dismissed quickly.
Always follow through, so don’t over-commit.
When a leader does what he or she says they will, people gain trust. When the leader always bails on responsibility, people begin to doubt everything the leader says.
Always put trust in others, so they’ll put trust in you.
Trust is a mutually exclusive commodity. People won’t extend you trust they don’t feel they receive from you.
Always extend grace, but be firm in some non-negotiables.
We need to allow people the freedom make their own way, including the freedom to fail, make mistakes and be assured we will forgive them if needed. We should have, however, some standards that are not open to discussion. Those should usually be issues of character, vision or values.
Always try to be knowledgeable and aware by constantly learning, but realize you don’t know everything and you’ll know far more with a team.
People trust a teachable leader. They are leery of a leader who knows it all … or pretends they do.
Always exhibit humility, but take great pride in your work.
A humble but diligent and effective leader is a trusted leader. It’s as simple as that.
Always value people more than you value progress.
This is especially difficult for driven leaders, but people trust people who care for them.
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