If you are a church leader, trust really is everything. It doesn’t matter whether you are a preacher, an elder, or a volunteer with the youth group, trust is everything. A congregation’s present and future are greatly impacted by whether or not the leaders within the church can be trusted.
If people trust you, that is huge. If they don’t trust you, well, I’m not sure what you can do. As a church leader, you may preach sermons, make important announcements, or initiate special projects. However, if the members do not trust you it is awfully hard to move forward.
So what damages the trust that people might otherwise place in a particular church leader?
- Trust is often diminished when a church leader appears to be incompetent. One youth minister promised the teens in his group that in a few years, they would be traveling throughout the United States involved in special projects. He got their hopes up regarding cities they would be visiting. None of that happened. Parents really questioned just how competent this person was in his ministry.
- Trust can be lessoned when a church leader seems to be unethical in his practice. One minister received rave reviews for his sermons. Then the church members learned he was plagiarizing these sermons from a rather well known preacher.
- Trust can be damaged when a church leader is found to be involved in immorality. At the same time this person may be preaching about holiness, marriage, or discipleship. Such a situation can be a severe setback for a congregation.
- Trust can dwindle when one exhibits a spirit that is mean, rude, and abrupt. As one person said, “After dealing with him and seeing his temper, I have lost all respect for him. I respect his role, but not him as a person.”
- Trust can be lost when congregations sense that a church leader is not being transparent. A congregation may sense that a particular leader has a hidden agenda that he is not revealing to the church. Consequently, an emotional wall may be built between that leader and the congregation.
Again, trust is huge. When church leaders have earned the trust of people in a congregation, they will often give those leaders the benefit of the doubt. When church leaders are trusted, they will often find that people are very gracious and forgiving. In fact, it may be that trust is the one factor that enables the congregation to go forward.