How to Build Trust

People will not follow you if you cannot be trusted, it is the foundation for doing ministry. Trust is the critical component for healthy and effective relationships and teams. David Horsager writes, “As trust within an organization increases, so do output, morale, productivity and loyalty” (in his book The Trust Edge).

Horsager suggest eight pillars for building (or rebuilding) trust with the people you lead. Think about how these principles transfer to the church world.

How do you rate in these trust-building qualities:

Clarity: This is straight from Simple Church, the message and process must be clear or people will not get on board. People trust leaders who provide clear communication, whether it’s vision for a new ministry or program goals.

Compassion: This is a lesson straight from Jesus himself, who had compassion people in need. It’s why everyone liked Mother Teresa, but you don’t have to be a saint to show people you care.

Character: This has been defined by Bill Hybels as, “the person you are when no one is looking.” We must do what’s right, not what’s easy. This may be a deal breaker if you don’t show your team biblical integrity. There is a reason I like this quality coming before competency; we so often emphasize competency and training for the task that we sacrifice the quality of character. Jesus invested into his disciples, not only for competency in the task, but also character. We must develop people.

Competency: Training is so important in the ministry; we want people to be successful in what they do, and sometimes just a little training will get them on the right path toward a fruitful ministry. You don’t have to be an expert is everything, but make sure you stay on top of your primary ministry focus. On the negative side, why do people so often resist training?

Contribution: People want to trust that you’ll get the job done, and get it done right. Don’t settle for less than your best. The body of Christ all working together makes “the body” of Christ, never minimize your contribution to the whole; everyone is important.

Commitment: The quickest way to build trust is to make and keep your commitments. Think about all the people you trusted to do what they said they were going to do, now think of those who fell through, failing to keep their commitments.

Connection: As John Maxwell teaches, “everyone communicates, few connect.” It’s all about relationships. Connect with those you lead, as friends, not just as workers accomplishing a task. Volunteers will walk away from a task sooner than they’ll abandon a relationship.

Consistency: It’s why we trust a restaurant franchise; we get the same food in Bangkok as in Birmingham. Leadership consistency lets people know you’re dependable.

DARING PROPOSITION: Ask your team members which of these trust-builders you demonstrate most, and which ones need improvement. Your commitment to trust-building will model this value and create a strong ministry team.