Church revitalization demands change. Change is essential if churches are to move ever closer to the goal of becoming intentional missional congregations that make more and better disciples. Churches that resist change will inevitably die for the lack of change.
What makes change possible? Trust! Stephen Covey pointed out that change happens at the speed of trust. When leaders are trusted the possibility of organizational change is greatly increased. Given that reality, it’s essential that congregational leaders build trust accounts so courageous change can take place.
Here are 7 investments leaders can make to build trust accounts:
Investment 1: Connect with and care for people
People driven leaders (as opposed to agenda driven leaders) build trust accounts. Teddy Roosevelt said it well, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
Investment 2: Demonstrate a clear Jesus focus
Trusted leaders are clearly focused on Jesus’ passion. Everything they do reveals they have the singular desire that Jesus’ people live the Jesus life wherever they go and whatever they do.
Investment 3: Keep your promises
Jim Herrington points out that the integrity of leaders depends on doing what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it. Integrity gaps develop when leaders are not faithful to their promises.
Investment 4: Own your stuff
No leader keeps every promise. Mistakes will be made. Leaders add to trust accounts when they own failures. They don’t deny, blame, dismiss, or minimize. They name their mistakes and seek forgiveness.
Investment 5: Keep hope alive
Leaders build trust when they name current reality with love and hope. The constant re-telling of a hope-filled God-preferred future ignites trust in a leader.
Investment 6: Develop a record of success
Leaders who are successful in daily things are trusted for larger things. Invest in doing the core work of ministry well including preaching, teaching, pastoral care, prayer and leadership/equipping.
Investment 7: Be courageous
Trusted leaders have the courage to lead faith communities to places they know they should go but lack the stamina to get there. Trusted leaders help their faith communities move from “here” to “there.”
Here are a couple final thoughts about trust.
First, never put trust at risk. Trust, like buildings, take years to build and seconds to destroy.
Second, trust is a precious gift given for the purpose of helping communities navigate change. It is self-serving to build trust accounts that do not serve the community’s future.
Written by Keith Doornbos