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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Important Reading

Beloved and brilliant friend Brad Boydston: Random linked to some important articles today on his blog.

Firstly, he linked to a missiologist's article on the importance and hierarchy of trust.
"Richard Lewis' latest lessonn on cross-cultural interaction -- "Hierarchy of Trust" ~ link"
Missiologists think about trust. Imagine moving to a foreign land to begin a ministry to bring the Gospel to people of a different culture. You ask questions like "How do I relate to these people?", "How do I speak their language so they understand the Gospel?", "How do I present it in such a way they believe it?", or "How do I get them to trust me?", etc. You must understand their culture.

I'm guessing, North American ministers think about this less and perhaps, do not overtly ask the question, "How do I get them to trust me?" But it's an important question whether you are a church planter or a going to serve an established church. Do they trust you? How is trust built? Who do they trust?

Lewis' article elaborates on the theory of everyone having a hierarchy of trust, which essentially says that we all have a implicit or explicit ranking of sources of data in terms of trust. We have them individually and culturally. Lewis says, "All cultures have a hierarchy of trust, it’s just manifested in different forms. The key to building trust is to understand the trust structure."

Again, you can think about macro-cultures of North America or the USA but also sub marco-cultures of the northeastern US or NY State, or break it down further and think about Upstate NY or specifically Central New York or even more focused the culture of Liverpool as opposed to Syracuse or Lyncourt. What are their trust structures?

Here's a small example of the importance of understanding people's trust structures. I'm part of a church plant that meets in Syracuse city high school but I live in and am a product of suburban Liverpool. As an over generalization, people in the suburbs only go to the city of Syracuse to go to the Dome, the War Memorial, the OnCenter, one of the hospitals and perhaps the zoo or Armory Square. With few exceptions that's it. People of the suburbs generally don't trust the city as a safe place particularly a city high school. The chances of my church reaching into the suburbs is minimal because of trust issues.

Missional leaders need to understand issues of trust in their context.

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