The trust situation used to be flip-flopped. People used to trust a pastoral figure because they trusted God. They were raised in the church, brought up in it comfortably and well in our Constantinian culture. Everyone trusted pastors, that what you did with a pastor. You trusted him just like you respected pilots, admired astronauts, honored presidents, and depended on doctors.
Doctors drive us crazy, presidents make us roll our eyes, astronauts...name a recent one, pilots are seen as glorified bus drivers and don't get us started on pastors. Not much has changed, but everything's changed (well...not everything, but a whole lot has changed).
I'm becoming aware, in snippets and bits, that this change may be more like a renewal than a revolution. Now, it won't always feel like it. I mean, "glorified bus driver" is way harsh. But the ministry model that flows from this renewed cultural posture toward leadership resonates deeply with the model lived out by the apostles, especially Paul, and Jesus.
Of all the people the world has ever seen, Jesus had the most right to demand our trust and respect (those two often go together, especially as relates to leadership). He was God.
But Jesus did not exert his God-ness to demand trust, at least not initially. As he interacts with people, you rarely (if ever) hear him saying "I'm the positional Messiah, Son of God, so you should trust me." Instead, he builds trust with people through his loving life and then asks "Who do you say that I am?"
These are very different approaches to ministry:
Trust me, I'm a pastor
I'm pastoring you, trust me
Isn't that strange? Those two sentences could mean the same thing (just like "I'm sorry" and "I apologize"), but they don't always. One can be a demand based on positional authority, the other can be a request based on personal credibility.
Tomorrow, Becca's going to be speaking on John 4 and how trust creates a bridge for truth to walk on. I'm really excited for her talk because I feel like the things she's going to be sharing will help bring some clarity to my jumbled thoughts about the significance of vulnerability in ministry.
I could really use some clarity right now. Could you?