Ministry Monday: Looking for Ways to Increase Trust in Your Church Community?
Written By: Glenn C. Stewart
Trust, like an eggshell, is a fragile commodity – it breaks easily. It is an essential element in all good relationships, whether that relationship is between a husband and wife, a team-leader and team, or between an organization and its stakeholders. Trust is the glue that bonds us together.
If you’re a leader – and you are – this impacts you. Others look to you for direction, encouragement, and confidence. You set the pace. And every person involved in church, no matter their role, carries influence and sets a tone. Therefore, every individual plays a part in setting a trusting and trustworthy atmosphere. So, what does building trust entail?
Improving Trust in Your Church Community
- Participation –
Be open to others’ ideas, concerns, and opinions. Be receptive to the input of those around you and listen (really listen) to what they have to say, even your critics. Facilitate an exchange of perspectives as you seek to gain buy-in to new ideas.
- Communication –
Carefully and clearly communicate what you are doing and why. When introducing change, increase the communication and take time to explain the data and reasoning behind the change. Often the negative reaction is not due to the change itself. Rather the reaction correlates to the surprise as well as not having time to process the reasons and benefits of the new direction.
Be intentional in your communication. Don’t wing it, but plan what you will say as well as when and how you will say it. Practice the conversation or presentation out loud so you can become comfortable hearing yourself say the words.
Express your personal passion for the shared vision. It’s contagious! Show how each person’s efforts will contribute to success. Be the cheerleader, the encourager, and recognize the contributions of others. Be solution oriented rather than problem focused.
- Acknowledgement –
Failure happens. Not every idea or initiative becomes a success. When you haven’t met expectations or when you’ve underperformed, be transparent. Admit the lack of intended, positive outcomes and outline the path to improved performance.
- Alignment –
Be sure your language and actions align with your thinking and feelings. This assumes you think and feel positively about what lies ahead, about those you influence, and about your combined ability to meet the inevitable challenges that will arise.
Your underlying attitudes and beliefs drive your behavior. Therefore, building trust begins with an examination of your mind-set. Trust doesn’t come with a position, can’t be demanded, and isn’t guaranteed forever. You must consistently add credits to the “trust account” within your community.