I was both saddened yet not surprised to see an article in the Telegraph online yesterday stating the ‘Google is as trusted as the Church by Britons’. The survey of 2000 people asked people to rank institutions in order of ‘trust’. With less than one in five saying they believe the search giant and faith leaders have their best interests at heart.The Britishe based public survey revealed a joint ranking of low regard between the search engine giants, Google and the Church/Faith Leaders.
The NHS scored best with 40% followed in second place by The Police scoring 25% Even supermarkets slightly out scored the religious institutions. All the above institutions and businesses have had their integrity over years called into question with front page splashes of the national and international press they could have done without. It proved damaging to all but the Religious institutions seem to have suffered the most in the trust ratings.
Now of course the survey placed all religious institutions in together. Even within some denominations of the same faiths there have been a variety challenging trust issues in recent years. However we must also remember that the Church is the largest and most prominent of religious institutions in the UK.
So how do we start to restore and rebuild the eroded bridges of trust into our communities and society as a whole? Well here are a few of my thoughts and this is certainly not exhaustive!
Being visible & active
This does not mean your building but the people of God, his Church. the Bible reminds us in the Gospels to ‘Never hide a light under a bowl’. I feel it is difficult to be a follower of Christ and not an activist. The poverty and injustice are just two of many areas in which we need to be visible and active. We need to be on the ball and there is no longer any excuses in the instant news feeds that surround us to be uniformed. James reminds us that Faith without works is dead. Lets roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.
Christ Humbled himself (Philippians 2:8) and so should we. We are in our own little way a part of the solution. I have realized in an increasing way over the past few years that genuine partnership is the way forward. When the church with all its passion and commitment is harnessed working with statutory bodies can bring long term transformation. You only have to look at Street Pastors, ROC, CAP and Trussell Trust Foodbacnk to see this proven.
In an instant society that moves so fast consistency, reliability and long term commitment are fading trends. Yet these are vital for society to function and grow. It is the best way to bring long term change. As other things come and go the Church remains.
The Church in the UK is such a huge beast that spans many hundreds of traditions and streams. How can I possibly effect it? I love the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the city walls. There is one bit in particular that always leaps at me. It was within the giant sized task of rebuilding the entire city wall the work of Benjamin and Hasshub. They simply faithfully rebuilt the bit in front of their homes as we see in Nehemiah 3. Lets repair the wall in front of us where we live.
Find out the unique needs of your community and review what you can do to start to fill the voids and gaps in provision. Meeting the felt need of a community is a powerful statement of intent. If you don’t know what it is go and ask the Police, Council or schools in your area. Our greatest success have come from asking the questions to the right people because your contribution becomes targeted and tangible.