Interim Trust: A Qualitative Research on an Ecclesial Practice of Trust

in Journal of Empirical Theology
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This article reports on an explorative, qualitative-empirical research on the meaning of trust between church boards of Dutch protestant congregations and the interim ministers they temporarily employ in-between incumbent ministers. Trust, or the perception of trustworthiness, is analyzed as a social constructed, multi-dimensional phenomenon. Research shows the coherence of several theoretical variables (Risk, Accountability, Encapsulated interest, Autonomy, Reciprocity, Credentials, Performance, and Context) that constitute trust in this particular and specific context. A theological evaluation of the data analysis suggests the emergence of another variable, the ‘givenness’ of trust. In the particular context of the pastoral profession, trust is induced by how the trustee, i.e., the interim minister, in his performance embodies the social identity of the trustor, i.e., the church board, but there is also a dimension grounded in faith in the presence of God.



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  • Hypothesized configuration of trust dimensions
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  • Meaning of trust in the temporary relationship between an interim minister and a church board (process, variables, and construct)
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