The Mechanics and Spirituality of Trust

Trusting others is always a risk. Many kingdom leaders get burnt and slowly clam up or lose the ability to keep loving and trusting those around us. It is vital for church planters to consider how this issue of “trust” is influencing their life and relationships.

I believe there are two aspects of trust: (1) the mechanics of trust (how do we trust others appropriately), and (2) the spirituality of trust (which engages our hearts before the Christ, and also puts pressures on triggers that we may have with respect to past significant hurts that may hinder our ability to trust in the present).

The Mechanics of Trust

Three components are needed: (1) the trust of integrity (does this person have the right heart?), (2) the trust of competency (can they do the task? are they operational?), and (3) the trust of chemistry (do I have chemistry with this person enough to team up with them?). Someone could easily have two of those components but if a third is missing, it could bring about difficulties.

I recall something one of my intercultural studies professors said about cross cultural trust – we have two tools when learning to trust: (1) testing and (2) time.

We regularly need to test out the trustworthiness of those we are working with, and that just takes LOTS of time. The tests almost need to come in small doses in order to see how competent someone is (faithful/available/operational). Of course, time also fleshes out the defects that may be hidden away in someone’s character.

Many of us know all too well the experience of entrusting something very important to someone who can “talk the talk” only to find out later that this had disastrous consequences.

One leader who has multiplied many missional communities told me in confidence that it takes him more than a year, and sometimes two years before he really feels like he has a foundation of trust in a potential leader.

With a timeline that long, it seems like multiplying could take forever! This is where the spirituality of trust becomes ever more essential.

The Spirituality of Trust

Having been burnt a bit, I can be more skeptical than I once was, but the Spirit is teaching me that to have community, it requires that we do trust people appropriately and put ourselves at potential risk within the confines of a faith filled discernment.

The Lord is teaching me the importance of forgiveness of past hurts in order to have solid appropriate trust in current situations. Allow yourself time to discern the reasons for why you may be struggling with trust, seek God as the Psalmist (Psalms 139) to see how He may be leading you to a place of deeper healing and faith in Him.

Ultimately, if I am going to trust people in order to achieve the things that God has called me to, then I will need to

  1. Be cautious and build wisdom and discernment
  2. Walk by faith
  3. Elevate the role of patience and hope-filled prayer in my life
  4. Be willing to take calculated risks out of love for God and others
  5. Learn how to lovingly understand others and communicate effectively.

These eternal values can provide the true basis for healthy working relationships and kingdom partnerships.

Helpful resources on this topic include: “Cross Cultural Connections: Stepping out and Fitting in around the world” by Duane Elmer, and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey.

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About the Author

Jeremy Chambers

Jeremy Chambers is currently practicing incarnational mission and the development of discipleship missional communities in Denver, CO and the broader region. He works with Forge America and is launching "The Pando Collective: Denver" as a network for equipping and encouraging local missional practitioners. He has been involved in the global Kingdom movement since 1999 and has personally witnessed incredible Kingdom advancement in over 40 countries. He did his BA in Bible at Lancaster Bible College and an MA in Intercultural Studies, and an MA in History of Christian Thought/Church History at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His wife, Monica, is Costa Rican, but came to the U.S. with her parents as missionaries to the U.S. Jeremy has a black belt in mixed martial arts, is a rock climber, is just a little too excited about playing chess, and definitely reads too much. Jeremy and Monica authored "Kingdom Contours," a collection of resources to help people practice missional discipleship.

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