Over the Easter weekend we were excited to see many people from our community attend our services at Lighthouse for the first time. I believe many people are interested in Faith and Spirituality and are looking for answers to their everyday lives. In fact, research shows that Jesus is well liked but apparently not so much his church.
Almost by default people are suspicious of Christians and the church. Some of this we have brought upon ourselves and some of the distrust that occurs is just misunderstanding. In previous generations God, religion and church enjoyed some respect. Not today, religion is suspect, church is weird, and all Christians are hypocrites (so many believe). Distrust has become the norm, people are tired of “sales tactics” used to lure them into faith.
Along with my other colleagues I have the unenviable task of showing up in society enjoying the warmth of many a new conversation with people right up until they ask me what I do for a living!
I’m not ashamed of my faith or my job as a Pastor, but I know when I mention Minister something in that person’s psyche will change toward me (thankfully often all is redeemed when I say I’m from Lighthouse).
I think as a Christian community it’s important to understand and respect the current views held by people who don’t believe what we believe. The problem isn’t that people don’t want to explore faith the problem is TRUST! (or lack of it)
TRUST According to Stephen Covey in his book The Speed of Trust says, “Simply put trust is confidence” “The opposite of trust – distrust is suspicion.”
He goes onto to say; “when you trust people you have confidence in them, their integrity and their ability. It is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organisation, nation, economy and civilisation throughout the world. It is the one thing if removed will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love. Yet if developed in growing amounts has the potential to create success and influence in every dimension of your life!”
What does this mean for your friends and family who are on a journey of faith?
It most likely means that shoving a gospel tract in someone’s hand or letterbox or giving them a usb of your favourite sermon “because we know they need it!” simply no longer works unless we establish Trust!
Trust is developed when we are genuinely interested in people show love toward them building friendship with them despite our differing beliefs. This is exactly the authenticity Jesus showed toward people as he walked this earth. I’ve been thinking of some proven ways I have built trust over many years, hope it helps.
Try to understand the world from another person’s perspective. Instead of being victimised by their distrust we can try and learn about where their distrust occurred In Mark 5 a woman who had a long-term illness approached Jesus. Jesus didn’t just brush her off, heal her quickly and run, he leaned toward her, listened and understood her situation, then healed her.
Often, we want to avoid people who give us the “cold shoulder”. Let’s get involved in the lives of people who don’t agree with us! Jesus loved entering people’s lives often displacing himself to bond with others. Many times, he took time to do this over a meal in people’s homes.
How does Prayer build trust? When we feel the temptation to defend, stop and pray. When we find ourselves getting defensive, silently ask God to soften our heart. The number one rule I have as chaplain with the Illawarra Hawks….
Is I don’t react or get defensive when I get teased, ridiculed about my faith, I laugh along. Being easy going around the team has built massive trust.
In fact, trust as Stephen Covey says “it’s the one thing that changes Everything.”