Who Do You Trust?

Written by Burt Braunius /
April 15, 2014

Can you complete this phrase: “In God we trust. All others __________ __________.”? Society is experiencing a trust deficit.A leader writes, “It isn’t unusual for me to remind our volunteer team, ‘You are a primary trust builder in our ministry!'”*

Trust is one of the indisputable foundations of ministry. When the word is mentioned, examples come to our minds of leaders who have broken trust. There are too many examples of leaders having extra-marital affairs, using drugs, deceiving others by living secret lives, or simply not doing what they say they are doing.

Those in church leadership are to be blameless and of good behavior (1 Timothy 3:7); i.e., trustworthy.

Dan Rockwell, in one of his blogs, identifies ways to spot leaders whom you can trust. Here are a few of their observable behaviors.**

They honor others and make life better for them.

They listen and learn eagerly, actively, and openly. This can be seen in
 -How often they ask questions.
 -What their ratio is of speaking to listening.
 -What they are reading.
 -What they have recently learned.
 -How their thinking has changed.
 -References to themselves being made humbly and realistically.

They take responsibility for their mistakes or misjudgments. This is clear when they
 -say they messed up.
 -apologize or say, “I’m sorry.”
 -respond constructively to someone who has made a mistake or let them down.

They stand on their principles and take clear positions on tough issues – after exploration and consideration. Fence straddlers serve themselves. When push comes to shove, they’ll throw you under the bus. Don’t rely on someone who tests the wind before making decisions: When the wind changes, so will they.

They stay steady under pressure, providing a stable and calming presence.

Just as there are trust-breakers, there are trust-builders who come to our minds. Who are the trust builders that you know? How are they being supported to enlarge their spheres of influence? Are there ways that you can encourage their leadership development?

*Building Trust in Your Ministry by Gina McClain in “Church Leaders” magazine.

**For Dan Rockwell’s blog on 25 Ways to Spot Leaders You Can Trust, click here

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