Leadership: The Commodity of Trust

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and good conscience and a sincere faith.”  I Timothy 1:5

As ministry wives, we lead formally and informally. Whether we are leading by just living our lives as examples of Biblical womanhood, or by mentoring, discipling and teaching, we need to be able to bank on the trust of community we are called to lead. The trust of those you are leading is a precious commodity. Without it, your mission will be hindered. Here are some basic observations I’ve made and things I’ve learned about trust over the years as God has developed me as an often times reluctant leader.  

1. Earn trust through vision: A leader needs to create a consensus of purpose and help others have a clear mental picture of the result of what following you to that end will look like. You cannot over-cast a vision. Never miss an opportunity to define it and proclaim it. The people you lead need to be inspired and motivated to follow you toward a shared goal. Vision brings energy and motivation to the tasks.They need to trust that you will ask them to join you at the tasks because of the extreme value of the result (God’s glory and man’s salvation) not because of your position of authority.

2. Earn trust through integrity: A leader needs to be able to display authentic Christ like purity of deed and of motivation. We need to build in accountability and moral/emotional/spiritual guardrails. We need to remain above reproach and never pretend to be beyond question. Show them that your motivation is not for personal gain or self-promotion, but for seeking the Kingdom and His righteousness. Communicate to your followers your desire to live holy and how important it is to you that they be able to rely on your walk with God being up to date.  

3. Earn trust through visibility: Be active in the culture of the church as a whole and in the community. Be present. Let them see you at the schools, the stores, they gym, the social gathering outside of your local ministry area. Be one of them. This also goes for not just being visible in your area of expertise. An example of this would be, that a worship leader who desires the congregation to trust them enough to follow them into deeper more vulnerable worship expressions, will need to establish themselves as trustworthy in more areas than just the platform during a service. They would need to be visible and accessible and serving across the entire life of the church. They would need to build personal connections in areas outside the music ministry etc… 

4. Earn trust through longevity: Just be there. Be there for a long time. Jim Henry said it takes about 5 years for a congregation to fully bond with a new leader. Sadly, many ministry relationships never last that long. Being faithful, battling for the kingdom, forgiving and forgetting, pushing toward a goal, over time wins hearts. Comfort is established through familiarity. Don’t be cashing in chips without building buy-in via a track record of history behind you. Stick it out.  

5. Earn trust through vulnerability: Be willing to risk a certain degree of transparency. Admit you don’t know. Ask for help. Confess doubt, weakness, and imperfections. Be willing to absorb blame and deflect glory. Don’t shirk the dirty work. Sharing your need for grace will make them see you as normal, relatable. Don’t over-share or air your dirty laundry. Revere the dignity of your office and protect its honor.  But, be real. Show emotion. Stay humble. Don’t allow yourself to be put on a pedestal. Take off your mask.Your people will be moved by the struggle as much as by the victory.  

Published October 23, 2013