Wednesday, May 23, 2007
It's All About Trust
As a former ministry professional, I live in a world of disillusioned people. Some will never trust the church, any church, again. Most know that church is necessary but are very cynical. Almost all feel trust MUST BE FIRST EARNED, it is not granted by virtue of position or office. Frankly, I think this is the state of the general public and most congregations when it comes to ministry professionals.
I also think much of the results Todd saw in his little survey were because he was dealing primarily with younger staff members. Of course, there is no data to back this up, I'm just guessing. Most young people enter professional ministry with a set of rose colored glasses, and eventually they get broken.
No longer does the title "Reverend," or "Pastor," or "Father" grant automatic credence and deference to an individual. Why? It is too easy to blame it on the continued secularization of society. Until recently, even the secular granted some deference to the ordained. Nope, trust in general has slipped because trust in general has been abused. In fact, I think that single fact contributes more to the secularization of society than any other factor.
Of course, there are the big violations of trust, financial scandal, sex scandal, etc. But let us consider some others.
- What about a pastor that preaches a message of a God that loves the individual, but is too busy to have lunch with a congregant?
- What about a pastor with a six-figure income that complains of his impoverished state?
- What about a church with "open doors" that sends an entire Sunday School class of people that have been in the church an average of 30 years packing because "their goals are just too different from ours."
- How about the church that builds a multi-million dollar facility in a slum where the average household income is 50% of the poverty line?
I could go on and on. These are all, by the way, incidents with which I have personal experience - I am not making them up.
So what is the point? The point dear frineds is that professional ministry staff has no greater calling than to be increasingly Christ like. Everything done builds trust and trust reflects the gospel. Each offense, major or minor, each sin, seen or unseen, robs the gospel message of its power. we are the Holy Spirit's insturments for His ministry - if we allow ourselves to be dull and in ill-repair, His effectivenss is greatly compromised.
Related Tags: trust, ministry, gospel, effectiveness