5 thoughts on “US confidence in religious leaders at all-time low”

  1. I’d say it’s a perfect storm. Lower confidence in general, ministers in scandals, and a general distrust of “organized religion,” are working against trusting us.

    I don’t think it means we can’t earn that trust, however. It just takes longer than it used to. And I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. Am I alone in thinking trust earned through consistent character is superior to blind trust because of my title?

    Perhaps this is more reason than ever for long-term commitment to one ministry (as opposed to the typical church-hopping . . . but I digress).

  2. I think part of the “blame” if you will, is that media can carry news of some scandal, be it political, religious, etc, quicker and to a broader audience now than in decades past. People hear about things a lot quicker now than they used to, and I believe it bears out in the lower opinions.

    And even if it’s because of decision-making, or whatever the reason, the fact that media can move faster means that whatever adverse effects it might have given a particular situation, it has a greater impact.

    As for fixing it, I think we can take a page out of a standard missionary’s life and learn to build better and stroner relationships. This alone would start to take us places.

  3. I think that it’s the same as with many other “institutions” in today’s society. People see faith organizations and, by association, their leaders basically using them to get the ends they desire. Political power. Support for third-rail political causes. Bigger membership. Larger budgets. More, more, more, more, more, more, more.

    It’s pretty simple. Jesus asked little from his followers and, yet, he asked for everything and showed he was willing to give even more than they. One thing he never asked for was power and prestige outside his realm. And, while our 35th president rightly asked the question that we should ask what we can do for our country and not what our country can do for us, today’s church leadership needs to begin the day–everyday–with the question of what the church can do for a lost, hurting, angry, hungry, scared world. Not what can that world do to advance the cause of the day.

  4. Good comments from everyone, pointing out different aspects of this problem. Yes, Dan, media coverage is more of a factor now because even an unknown pastor can make national headlines when he or she fails. Nephos has a point that lower trust in general, coupled with clergy failures and institutional religion is working against us. Richard’s point is well-taken. Some of our clergy problems are of our own making as we grab for power or prestige. A servant’s heart would go a long way to building trust, and changing our image. Thanks for the good, thoughtful conversation.

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