Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Achieving without trust leaves for an empty net

Written by: on September 16, 2019

I am an advocate for not going alone. Entrepreneurs that I have met, typically, hold their paths to success close to the vest. It’s a shame because the output from two kindred entrepreneurial spirits working together can be incredible. That goes for entrepreneurial-minded congregational leaders. Trust is an experience that creates powerful momentum compounding other successes.

My wife and I have owned and operated several businesses. The last company we owned was in southern Oregon. It was an area where catching large salmon was often a tale heard at meetings. Eventually, the story could be trusted was that which could be verified!

For six years, we took our employees on guided drift boat fishing adventures. The first year my wife caught six large salmon! I caught none! This pattern went on for two more years. In the fourth year, about to give up on this very expensive opportunity, I asked the guide what my problem was. He said, “You are not listening to the guide! Every time you feel the weight hit a rock; you try to set the hook. Listen to me, and I’ll tell you when to jerk.” I sat; resisting the compulsion to jerk. Approximately five minutes, the guide said, “jerk, jerk, jerk.” I jerked and landed a 20+ pound bright salmon. Boy, I felt like a jerk for not listening to the guide.

This dilemma of trust aversion often happens with entrepreneurs. They need to trust, yet given they are the ones with most of the investment layers of trust is very measured. I need to confess that trust has been a growth opportunity for me. My faith has been given to others too quickly, I have learned that we can trust people not to be trustworthy, yet with trust, at least measured is a possible mutually beneficial experience.

Like my fishing story, I feel that leaders/ district leaders in my tribe would probably see more of what they want: unity, people saved, and the abundance of Jesus Christ realize in more lives if they would listen to the working priest.[1] Hustling about to get the reports filed and measures met that often have no respect for the non-fully-funded pastor is as short-sighted as my not listening to the fishing guide. We get burnt out and do not have a solid work/life rhythm when we vacate trust-based relationships. Getting down to the nitty-gritty of trust, and why it makes all the difference in the business of seeing Christ transform cultures is why I’m writing today. 

Things move faster when you have trust: As the age-old business and investing adage goes, timing is everything. In other words, when you have an idea, move quickly. When you have a mutually trustworthy partner, outcomes and impacts get done quicker, people leap into action right away, and thus, you get more done. On the contrary, when you don’t have trust between partners, things take longer, and opportunities sometimes vanish. Trust fixes problems and creates impressive results. Entrepreneurs Christians must seek partners they can trust. Partnerships without trust, we should not go into partnership. Always remember that trust is incredibly fragile and invaluable. Maybe we should be reporting on our trust meters!

[1] Dr. Aaron Priest


About the Author

Steve Wingate

8 responses to “Achieving without trust leaves for an empty net”

  1. Joe Castillo says:

    Things move faster when you have trust: In Cameroon, it was always hard to move faster or even to accomplish anything. You can’t get things done and that was very frustrating for us. My frustration was so obvious somethings that one of my leaders notices it and told me

    Petit à petit l’oiseau construit sa petite maison
    Little by little the bird builds his little house

    After that statement, I just went with the flow.

  2. Darcy Hansen says:

    Steve, these are good words for me, as I am in the process of establishing a spiritual formation practice with a friend. Over the past 8 months we have been allowing our working relationship to change and grow. Trust is our foundational component. The consultant we are working with continues to remind us how important that is as we move forward. We have invited others to join us, and I don’t sense that trust level has developed yet. It takes time and a willingness to be vulnerable. Depending on the context, these attributes may be seen as weaknesses or strengths. Last year God gave me the word “consortium.” I’d never heard the word before, but it means “partnership, union, association.” As I move forward in this process, I continue to trust that God will help us build the necessary trust within our partnership to create something that is live giving for others. I’m grateful to not be doing this alone.

  3. Shawn Cramer says:

    Steve, I’m eager to see your research and project progress around the co-vocational pastor. A dear friend of mine who moved from a pastorate to insurance salesman (not bi/co-vocational) said he wishes he could write a book to pastors about how life really is for those out of vocational ministry. There seems to be such a large disconnect with expectation of time and assessing buy-in to a local body that a co-vocational pastor could close.

  4. Greg Reich says:

    Steve as an entrepreneur with multi-streams of income I have always preferred the team approach. I truly believe that if you don’t care who gets the credit it is amazing how much you can get done. Trust is an issue in any relationship, even those you trust can let you down in the business world. I have learned that even with trust differing philosophies of business, as well as, expectations can make partnership a challenge.

  5. Dylan Branson says:

    Growing up, I always felt that working in groups or teams was one of the worst things that could happen to me (it was crippling how shy I was until high school; plus, what’s the point of working in a group when I’m the one who ends up doing everything?). One of the big reasons for this boiled down to trust: I didn’t trust anyone. My experience working with groups led me to believe that people will just let you down, so my reaction was to go on the opposite extreme.

    Building trust takes a lot of hard work and it stings all the more when people break our trust. But when trust is earned, it may be one of the most rewarding things in this world. It brings a measure of expectation, and its this expectation that can be a seed of conflict when it isn’t met in the way we think it should.

  6. John McLarty says:

    Isn’t it interesting we know that trust takes so long to earn and build, yet I often expect to have it much sooner than I deserve. What would a “trust meter” look like?

  7. Nancy Blackman says:

    Oh my gosh, you had me at your very first sentence. I have been an advocate of this for so long. I’m glad I’m not alone!

    A few years back I started an Instagram photography group. I scheduled monthly meet ups and had a team of moderators that helped me choose daily features. After a couple of years, I approached my friend, who works as the Photo Editor for the LA Times and asked if it would be possible to approach some of the photographers to assist with tutorial sessions before our meet ups. I was hoping that we could have a half hour or hour tutorial and then walk together and practice using what was taught. She responded, “I hear you, but that won’t ever happen. The LA Times photographers don’t like to share.”

    As a long time artist and photographer who has always been in communities where we share information, I was shocked. I had entered a new time warp. Oh no … it’s because I live in LA.

    After reading your post, I wonder how much Hollywood affects the entrepreneurial spirit across the nation and the world. Your thoughts?

  8. Chris Pollock says:

    Hi Steve, thank you for focusing in on trust. Trust has been a tough one for me. Certainly, I see the benefits. How can trust be built again on the same foundation once it has been utterly demolished (for a guy who wears heart-on-sleeve and wants to trust)? I love the ‘listening to the guide’ story you shared. That, things are easier and things happen well when we listening closely to the leader. There have been a couple times over the last year when that still small Voice, calling for some attention, has whispered with wonder, ‘are you going to trust me now?’ How long do we wait until humanly-speaking it’s too much, it’s too painful and we take action to retain control? Trust. Proverbs 3:5-6 over and over again! Thanks for helping with the understanding of ‘letting go’ Steve.

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