Why does increased vulnerability in ministry lead to increased trust?
Part of it has to do what I mentioned yesterday: vulnerable ministry encourages people to know our real weaknesses. I may get defensive. I may get angry. I may waffle and hem and haw so as not to hurt someone's feelings. I may back down from a situation where the hard truth needs to be spoken. I may be disorganized at times, overworked at times, overmatched at times.
I have lots of real weaknesses as a leader, acknowledged weaknesses. I also have a practice of valuing especially people who have the courage to point my weaknesses out to me in a loving way. That actually might be a strength.
And that's the thing, right? Being honest and open about our weaknesses creates space for us to acknowledge and embrace the gifts God's given to us. As leaders, we become multi-dimensional, more real. And that makes us more trustable.
That's part of it.
Another part of the reason why increased vulnerability leads to increased trust has to do with some heavy theology, touched on lightly here (with more to come tomorrow).
God's gospel comes to us not only in the shape of words and ideas but also in the very lives of the people commissioned by him to deliver it. To put it another way, God's gospel is illustrated, a pop-up gospel with us as the characters springing off the page.
And so, in pursuing vulnerable ministry, we are incarnating the gospel, projecting with our bodies the good news of Jesus Christ. Though we are broken and flawed, though we struggle to be faithful to God's call on our lives, though we are poor illustrations of God's beautiful gospel, God himself has chosen to use us, to dwell with us, to be at work in us calling the world to himself.
And so, just as people trust the gospel (ultimately trusting the God of the gospel), a ministry that reflects the gospel, a vulnerable ministry, leads to people trusting us (ultimately trusting the God of the "us").
This is a lot at once, so I'll keep unpacking it. It's great for me to think about and, possibly, helpful for you to read about.