Charles Spurgeon, one of my favorite writers, spoke often about the minister’s responsibility to guard himself, to “take heed, therefore, to yourselves first, that you be that which you persuade others to be.”* He pushed leaders to be people of integrity and credibility. Hearing Spurgeon’s challenge, here are some simple “Word-based” ways to build your credibility:
- Know the Word. When you genuinely and intensely know the Bible, people recognize it. They will trust you more if they believe you’re a person of the Word.
- Memorize and quote the Word. Not only will these steps give you the Word on a moment’s notice, but they will also help you guard your heart (Psa. 119:9-11). So few believers memorize the Word today that people take note when you do.
- Preach the Word. Some folks who know the Word still don’t focus on it during sermons. You’ll gain credibility if you use your preaching time wisely to proclaim the Word.
- Keep your word. If you make a commitment, keep it. If you say you’ll pray, be sure to pray. Every time you do what you said you’d do, you strengthen a trust bond.
- Watch your word. Don’t let your conversations slip into sin. Avoid ungodly speech and coarse jesting (Eph. 5:3-5) unless you want to weaken your integrity.
- Explain your word. If you want to be more credible as a leader, explain the why’s for decisions you make. I’m convinced most believers will follow us better if they understand the reasons behind decisions.
- Restrain your words. There will be times when you want to say more out of anger – and others might expect you to do so – but you’ll gain credibility if speak only words that honor God.
- Be truthful with your word. This one’s simple: don’t lie. Few other actions will harm your credibility as quickly as a lie will.
- Live your word. Hypocrisy destroys credibility.
- Pray according to the Word. Not many people will know how you pray, but you will know. When your prayer life is genuine, you yourself will feel more credible when you lead God’s people.
* Spurgeon, Charles H. Lectures to My Students (p. 12). Fig. Kindle Edition.