Building Cultures of Trust

In the church, in politics, in corporations, in banks and in the courts, trust seems in short supply these days. We have moved far beyond healthy skepticism, which makes building cultures of trust difficult. And ongoing stories of betrayal or victimization undercut efforts to build elements of cultures of trust….

(1)   Trust starts with the individual, having to do with a person’s character, resolve and ability to change.

(2)   Trust must involve others, and it evolves in the context of social cultures, which provide for conditions where the task of building trust can occur and thrive. 

(3)   Trust also involves risk, for without risk there is no need to trust.

In his book “Building Cultures of Trust,” Martin Marty describes “cultures of trust”  in this way: Cultures of trust exist “when there is evidence that through internal or external means the religious, political, economic, artistic, scientific, technological, educational, and linguistic expressions of a group lead participants to count on each other and keep commitments.”

  • People of faith play an important part in the civic conversation when it comes to the task of building cultures of trust. 
  • Faith is by definition trust, built upon the expectation that God is reliable.
  • We must facilitate a conversation that leads to trust, without engaging in compartmentalization that ends in further polarization in church and society.
  • Our goal is not to convert the other but to effectively and respectfully collaborate.


I would like to think that we can make our churches  into ever stronger and ever more effective creators of cultures of trust……If not, we are dishonest and we are wasting our time calling ourselves followers of Jesus of Nazareth.

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