“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” 1Tim. 1:15
I was once interviewing a guy for a job who would repeatedly interject his answers after providing his initial response with “Honestly…” While it was probably a nervous non-sequitur, I had to laugh because what it did was immediately disqualify everything else he said as lies.
Recently, I noticed that nationally 61.5% of people not participating in a church have done so due to a lack of trust of religious leaders. Once they have engaged the church 71.8% of them disengage due to a lack of trust in religious leaders.
For as much time as we spend about making the sermon entertaining (42% think church is boring), up-to-date (35% think it is antiquated), preparing the worship service (36% dislike the style of worship) and marketing (19% haven’t been invited)—the real issue is TRUST.
Through the priest scandals, through the wealth accumulated by profitable pastors, by techniques of Evangelism Bait & Switch, through focus on numerical growth over people, the church has to recognize that it has a trust issue.
Our reaction is to simply say “Trust Me.”
If someone says, “Trust me”—don’t we immediately distrust them?
Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds, Bernie Madoff, (Insert Politician Here), have all said, “Trust me.” but in the end we find them to be unreliable and insincere.
Speaking with a friend, he shared that trust is built through reliability, sincerity and competency.
This makes trust interesting because it means that Trust cannot be manufactured, it cannot be strategized, nor can it be marketed. It is only demonstrated through word and action.
We have to show that the gospel has been reliable, sincere and competent in our life:
- It’s reliable because we can lean on it and it has not failed us.
- It’s sincere because God is seeking—with no ulterior motive—to save us from ourselves.
- It’s competent because it has the power to address life’s situations.
This is what Paul says in his letter to a mentee. He interupts his letter to Timothy to show him the sincerity, reliability and competency of the Gospel within Paul’s own life. Paul recognizes that if the Gospel has the power to restore a brash, egostistical, murdering, self-righteous, hot headed, know-it-all fool like me, then think of what it will do for you.
So, my plea for us as the church is to stop wasting our time in meetings and go pursue people in their lives so we can show that this story we tell has been reliable, sincere and competent within our own life.