Pastor-Jonathan-CliffI’ve worked for bullies that demanded trust. I’ve worked for weaklings that demanded trust. I’ve worked for very few that legitimately worked to build my trust in them.

Trust, like loyalty, is a two-way street that instead often looks like people driving three cars down the wrong lane, headed in the entirely wrong direction. As a leader, one has to think of trust as something built, not won in the lottery. It’s done in so many different ways.

1. Show people that you care about them. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Is that saying cliche? Yes. Is that saying correct? Yes.

2. Take an interest in people beyond where you currently know them. Don’t intrude into somebody’s private life, but it’s all right to ask about their kids or their kids' baseball teams. Go ahead and ask!

3. Let people know you’re interested in their success and future. It so often goes without saying, but if we’re leading other people, we have to be that person in their life who genuinely cares if they succeed.

4. When mistakes are made, don’t respond in anger. Instead, calmly explain the situation and why their actions are troublesome. When people know you aren’t going to make them walk the plank, they’re much more likely to listen to you describe what you expect in the future. When people know you have their best interests at heart, they’re going to trust you.

Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (ESV).

Jonathan Cliff is the director of family ministries at Athens Church in Athens, Ga. He is a huge advocate for the family and believes the family is God’s primary way of reaching the world. Cliff has been named one of the Top 20 kids’ ministry leaders to watch by Children’s Ministry Magazine and serves on the board of directors for the International Children’s Ministry Network.

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