Trust And Understanding


Denine Blevins shared her story of working in the Dominican Republic and being called out for being arrogant and culturally insensitive: “One of my teammates who was probably about 10 years younger than me, but he came to me and said, ‘You think you know my people, you don’t know my people. You haven’t even lived here enough to understand our culture.’ And he was right. I realized that I had been trying to give advice for situations that they really didn’t want my advice about, or I’ve been making assumptions that just weren’t true. And so, because I wasn’t fluent in the language at the time, it forced me to shut up, to listen, to observe and to learn, and to gain credibility through relationship, through trust, and through understanding. And so what that taught me about cultural competence is that when that is lacking, there’s no real trust and authenticity in relationships because we end up making a lot of assumptions about the very people that we claim to love” (Denine Blevins, “Leading Organizational Cultural Competency,” The Gospel Coalition, December 17, 2020,