Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Solving Problems not Symptoms

By Dwayne Deskins
Reaching People for Jesus: Building teams, building community, building His church! It’s what we do; it’s what we said YES to when we heard His voice calling! Do you remember when it became clear in you? When you stepped over the line, made the decision “I’ll preach the gospel for you Jesus.”? Then we began serving, ministering, leading...

One of the lessons I learned early on was that I needed to love people and that people fail. I also learned that building a loving, nurturing, trusting environment was what produced amazing disciples!

Booker T. Washington said, “Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.”

Trust. It’s so absolutely essential to a healthy culture.

Patrick Lencioni, in his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, lists Mistrust as the first dysfunction. Mistrust causes a team to fight within, to one-eye each other and not see or believe the best in the other person.

Jesus saw the best, spoke to the best in people, and yet knew people could, and would, fail. Yet He trusted.

If we aren’t careful we can find ourselves solving symptoms and not problems. We can work and work trying to resolve relationship issues when the real issues are deeper and keep surfacing.

I have found that if I don’t get the root of a dandelion, it will come back every time. It’s not what I see in my yard that is the problem—it’s what’s lurking beneath the ground. Get the root, get the problem.

At one of our sessions in Dallas at our General Headquarters last month, I mentioned that one of the root problems in the PCG is MISTRUST. I felt like I was stepping out on a limb, unsure of how people would feel or respond. What amazed me was that my statement was met with a unanimous agreement. We have a culture that does not promote, nurture, nor affirm the best in people. We have an issue of mistrust.

How did it get into our culture? Was there a cause, an event, or...?

Several possible reasons come to mind:
  1. It’s the culture of “normal” that we grew up in and, therefore, by default, are living in. If we don’t change, we will hand it off to the next generation.

  2. We trusted people early on in ministry but then we were burned by one or two or maybe even three, and we have allowed it to taint our heart-view of all future relationships.

  3. We ourselves have lived in such a way as to not deserve trust. Maybe we weren’t forthright in some dealings with people, or maybe we garnered support for a position or a job in a way that dishonored others, and now we are transposing our own issues onto others in a way that hinders the goal we have in mind for Jesus.
Whatever the reason, we have a cultural issue of “not trusting” that we must deal with so that we can finish well. We must first recognize it, then really want to change it, or all will remain as it was before.

Where do you think you are in trusting others 1-10 (10 being “I trust people automatically until they give me a reason not to trust them”)?

How do we make such a change individually if, in fact, we really want to?

How do we shape a different culture for the next generation?

Let me know your thoughts.


  1. Symptoms can overshadow problems and disguise what the real issue is. Symptoms are only the result of the problem. Dealing with problems is a must. Thank you Dwayne for calling out the problems. If we don't confront the problem, we will only medicate the symptoms and the problem will continue to haunt us. is it resolved!
    Just a thought. Realize we are on same team and give support to one another with trust that we are not in competition. When we support one another we should not be concerned with comparing and competing. Trust that nobody is trying to get ahead of someone else. The problem exist because of a lack of RELATIONSHIP!
    Time to engage, build, nurture and develop relationships. This has to happen in a relational environment not in business sessions.
    Business breeds Mistrust
    Relationships breeds Trust

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  3. Great insight. As a preacher's kid, and now a pastor myself, I've been around the church all of my life and I have found this to be true.

    One thought as to the root of the problem is that our inability to trust others is ultimately rooted in our ability to first trust our Heavenly Father. I don't think that anyone having truly encountered the living God through salvation, experience Him as anything but an amazing, loving Father. After this initial encounter, however, begins the battle to steal our confidence in the Father's love and commitment to us. I believe that this battle rests in understanding the grace of God and that salvation is by trusting in what Jesus did at Calvary, His resurrection, and in nothing else.
    It's the issue that Paul deals with in Galatians 3:1-3 where he confronts the misguided notion that somehow grace, not works, gets a person saved but after this we must do something beyond believing in the finished work of the cross to maintain our confidence as His children.

    Wittingly or unwittingly many in the Church convey the idea that after coming to Christ our confidence in our standing with Him hinges on how we behave, not what we believe. As a result many live unsettled in their relationship with God and then ultimately in their relationships with others. They teeter between a walk of faith and a walk of works. If their works don’t line up to whatever standard prevails in their church culture then they lack confidence to approach God. This awareness of either the self or others ultimately undermines our confidence and rest in the Salvation of The Lord. He saves us, He and His work alone.

    Freedom from the fear and uncertainty of my standing with my Heavenly Father frees me to trust Him for everything else. It also frees me to extend grace to others. “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Jn 10:8) This is where the ability to trust others begins. When I am confident of the Father’s love and commitment to me I can rest (Heb 4). When I rest I trust the Father to provide for my every need, to protect me and to avenge me. I know that nothing or no one can either hurt me or His work. It’s in this place that I for the first time see that extending trust to others is no longer about how it will affect me, but how it will bless them.

    Freedom scares many believers. I’m not sure why, but it does. But the Bible says that is for the sake of Freedom and Freedom only that Jesus makes us free. In other words, He doesn’t remove the chains of sin from us only to put us in the chains of religion. It’s about total freedom.

    There is a saying in the world that rings of truth; “If you love something, set free. If it loves you it will come back again.” I believe this to be true. I believe that true love hinges on this notion. In order for love to be pure and true the one giving it must do it from total freedom, otherwise, it is from compulsion. This is exemplified in the parable of the Prodigal that Jesus taught us about. The Father honored the son's request, letting him go. He was willing to give the son freedom to go but then to return when he comes to understand that it's only in the presence of the Father that He is truly satisfied.

    Thank you for this thought provoking insight and the opportunity to share.

    Blessings in Jesus name.