Training vs. Trusting

By Ken Behr

One of the words we hear often when it comes to people and a particular responsibility or assignments is the word “trust.” I remember my children often saying, “Don’t you trust me?” when we were setting boundaries, limits on activity, or checking to see if their homework was completed. As parents, my wife and I often had to explain that it’s not about trust but about training. The concept of trust, while important, is not as important as other things. Other things like training, equipping and generally gaining experience are the way people establish trust.

This concept and understanding of training and trusting is important in our churches and ministries. When we have important processes, tasks and responsibilities, it’s best not to rely solely on trust. It’s only through training that we can truly expect that important processes, tasks and responsibilities are executed properly. Training provides the appropriate knowledge transfer and an adequate period of time for the employee or volunteer to gain the experience needed to do their job properly.

No shortcut in training

While all jobs and assignments don’t have the same complexity or skill level required, all require some measure of training. Personally, I rely on the three-step training process:
I do it
We do it together
You do it, I watch

I’m not sure exactly when I first heard about this model, but I have learned that not only does it work but it also can’t be bypassed. This doesn’t mean that as a pastor, I need to train every staff member and volunteer, but it does mean that everyone being trained needs to have someone that personally demonstrates, supports and then supervises in order to verify knowledge and skill have been transferred.

Trusting is not a substitute for training

When we hear someone use the words “trust,” one of the things we can do is try to discover if the word trust is being used as a substitute for training. All too often we press new employees and volunteers into the job without adequate training. Most of us have experienced inadequately trained employees and volunteers from receptionists to preachers. When this happens, these newer and inadequately trained appear to be less “trust-worthy” when it really isn’t a matter of trust but a matter of training.

Trusting should not be a substitute for training. Trust is earned and developed through very intentional orientation and training processes that transfer knowledge and experience. The three-step training process: “I do it; we do it together, you do it, I watch” is a great and necessary part of developing trust.

Ken Behr is an executive pastor at Christ Fellowship, Palm Beach Gardens, FL.


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