10 Ways to Build Trust as a Church Leader

Trust is essential in the church. The church needs to trust their leaders. Leaders need to trust one another. Members need to trust each other. Too often, though, trust is broken among the people of God. To counter this tendency, here are some simple ways to build trust in the church:

  1. Keep your word. This suggestion is basic, but much too often ignored. So much of what we do as church leaders is based on the integrity of our word that we can’t afford to lose trust. If you say you will do something, do it – or be certain to explain honestly why you can’t.
  2. Pray for people when you say you will, and then check on them. Even if we do pray for folks when we say we will, they often don’t know we did because we never followed up. A simple check can build long-term trust.
  3. Cite sources when preaching or teaching. You don’t need to give full bibliographic information, but you certainly need to avoid the impression that somebody else’s material is yours. Plagiarism in ministry is lying.
  4. Be godly on days other than Sunday. I want to trust what you say on Sunday, but I can’t if I know you talk differently on another day of the week. Hypocrisy breaks trust, not build it.
  5. Learn and remember names. It’s hard to overestimate the power of knowing another person’s name. Remember my name, and I’ll sense that I matter to you. Know me personally, and I might be more inclined to grant you the benefit of a doubt when my trust is challenged.
  6. Return phone calls and emails. When you don’t return correspondences, you’re almost forced to come up with good excuses to explain your failure. Avoid that temptation by getting back to people in a timely manner.
  7. Genuinely listen to people.  Most of us can tell when you’re not really paying attention. We watch you look beyond us, stifle a boredom yawn, or discretely check your phone. It’s tough to trust someone who fakes listening to me.   
  8. Ask forgiveness when needed. If you mess up, admit it. I’ll trust you more then than I would if you keep trying to explain away your actions.
  9. Wisely share your own struggles. If you share too much, you might appear to live in defeat. If you share too little, though, you might come across as fake. Learn the proper balance to show me I can trust you as we fight the same battles.
  10. Know and teach the Word well.  When I know you know the Word well, I assume you’re working hard to learn it, study it, and teach it. Never get to the Word in your teaching, however, and I’ll wonder what you’re doing with your study time. 

What else would add to this list? 


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