As a young pastor thinks about initiating change, why is trust such an important factor?

If a young pastor is thinking about initiating change, it’s important for his people trust him because:

  1. The pastor of a church is the shepherd of his people (1 Pet. 5:1-2). Their job is to follow him. His job is to lead in such a way that his people grow willing to follow him because they know that he loves them and is willing to sacrifice himself for their good, just as the Good Shepherd gave up his life for his sheep.
  2. The entire local church ultimately “owns” the ministry of the church. They are the ones who will ultimately give account to God for its teaching and reputation in the community (1 Cor. 5; Gal. 1). Therefore, a pastor who enters a church and begins making demands both fails to recognize the church’s final authority and is abusing the trust that the Lord has given him. His goal is to encourage them toward holiness and obedience to God, not force it.
  3. Change can be painful. Cherished traditions and long-worn habits die hard. In order for a congregation to willingly follow a man through pain or sacrifice, they need to trust him.
  4. A congregation needs to know that its pastor is committed to them for the long run. If they don’t, they will feel like mere stepping stones for advancing the preacher’s agenda, rather than like cherished members of God’s flock and co-laborers in God’s kingdom.

(Some of this material has been adapted from Robert Norris’s article, “Shepherding and Trust”)

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