Perhaps no Biblical leader faced the questioning of his leadership like Moses.
The Book of Numbers shares that every time Moses turned around, someone was murmuring, grumbling, and questioning his direction and judgement. It is not easy to lead any group of people, and the family of faith is no different.
Leadership is crucial for a pastor or spiritual leader within the church. A charismatic personality, natural gifts, and a seminary education are certainly important, but they are not the key to leadership. In challenging moments, the ability to lead hinges on trust. Very few will follow someone that they do not trust.
As I talk to church leaders today, I am amazed at their vision, passion, and knowledge. Most are far more gifted than me, and I am excited about the future of the church. Yet there is one area that concerns me as I talk with the next generation of leaders. I am concerned that many do not seem to understand the importance of developing trust as they work with people. It is my experience, that you cannot lead and influence people for the long haul without trust. I fear that this is one of the reasons that results in so many short pastorates and church conflicts.
Here are crucial insights that I have learned about developing trust that will strengthen your ability to lead effectively:
- Trust must be earned. Trust cannot be demanded or assumed. In fact, if you have to demand spiritual authority, then you probably have no authority or influence.
- Trust takes time. A congregation may love you and have even chose you to lead them, but it takes time for them to trust you. I have found that the ability to lead effectively develops with time and often begins to mature after 4-5 years. It was after 10 years that I saw my ability to lead move to new heights as I served as pastor in South Central Kentucky. Longevity increases trust. Hanging in there with people increases their trust in you.
- Trust comes with consistency. People are always watching us as leaders. If they see consistency in our message, approach, ethics, and our dealings with people, then it will develop trust.
- Trust will rise from integrity. Do you follow through with commitments? Do you honor your word? Do you keep promises? Broken commitments destroy trust.
- Trust will grow when we are willing to be transparent. Trust grows when we let folks see who we are, and admit our shortcomings and mistakes. People are more likely to follow a sincere leader than a phony pretender.
- Trust is more likely, if folks see that we lean on Jesus. Congregations do not need us to be the savior. They need pastors who will lead them to know and walk with our Savior Jesus Christ. People gain confidence in us when they see that we walk with the Lord, and are seeking His direction.
Without trust, it is difficult to lead. Trust matters.
” Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.”
(1 Corinthians 4:1-2)