When You Need to Rebuild Trust

First, the good news: Religious leaders are seen as more caring, more likely to be truthful, and can be relied upon to handle resources more responsibly than members of Congress or leaders of tech companies.

Now for the bad news:

Religious leaders are seen as less caring, less truthful and less likely to handle resources responsibly than K-12 public school principals, police officers, or members of the military. Even more damning is that religious leaders fare their worst when it comes to truth-telling, falling also below journalists and local, elected officials.


Nothing against the members of those professions, but religious leaders should lead the way in those categories due to the nature of their role.

Of course, the larger issue is why this perception exists.

One answer is that there is a built-in mistrust toward anyone in a position of power or responsibility. But why do religious leaders fare worse than others in that position? Of particular concern is when it comes to areas of empathy, openness, integrity and accountability.

Take integrity.

Pew found that 69% of people believe that religious leaders act unethically some, if not all, of the time.

Again, ouch.

Another answer is because of the way media often presents religious leaders. Case in point: Name a positive portrayal. Having a hard time?


But another reason is because the media has covered legitimate stories of religious leaders who are pedophiles, embezzlers, adulterers, spouse abusers and more. A minority, to be sure, but the stain persists.

So while those on the faith side of things can pat themselves on the back that they rank higher than members of Congress or tech leaders,

… there is some serious rebuilding of trust at hand.

> Read more from James Emery White.



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James Emery White

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. He is the founder of Serious Times and this blog was originally posted at his website www.churchandculture.org.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you so Much for this great article. It has open my eyes on where we have faltered and the things we need to work on. God can never indeed be the problem. It's us.
— Bertille

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