Most Life Teams can “feel the pain” when it comes to building trust in the life arena. There is more than just an inherent skepticism for those starting to build a life team or those laboring to grow their established team. For wherever you find yourself on that spectrum, what follows are five ways you can build trust with those in your church.
1. Attend to your relationships with key people
Think individuals such as your pastor and the receptionist. If they make decisions or control the calendar, then they wield influence life-teams need to flourish. What are you doing to build trust with him and the staff? Are you having coffee together to check in on them as your brother or sister in Christ? Have these people over for dinner. Make sure your getting to know them and they to you as well. Be reminded of the Apostle Paul’s writing in 1 Thessalonians 2:8: “Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.” Share your life with others!
2. Display the multi-faceted nature of the team
Being multi-faceted as a team over and against being a single-issue focused is something we stress often at CFL. If you are wanting to build a team that can go to your local abortion clinic, you might not be able to begin with that. Start with a life-affirming event for those that have had a miscarriage or lost a child in the church. By doing so you are showing that you care just as much about the babies in your church as you do for the babies outside of your church. Be encouraged and be patient. You may have to do three or four events like this before you have built the trust and relational capital to even bring up the lighting-rod issues like abortion. The key is, don’t be single-issued. Be empathetic for what others are passionate about.
3. Display your multi-faceted nature as a person
If you are not careful, you will become “that person” which only cares about their set of issues. Don’t be! Jump into being involved with VBS, small-groups, Sunday-school, being purposefully not up front when it comes to other aspects of the church. Show others your multi-faceted nature as someone who also likes to garden, watches certain sports, movies or reads “x” genre of books. As others can identify with you in other seemingly harmless areas, you can build trust with them and show an open-door for them to gain interest in the other aspects of your life you are even more passionate about.
4. Remind others of your love for them
Send your pastor, fellow team members and fellow Christians words of encouragement. Remind them of your love for them as it is rooted in Christ and what he has done for you. If you are the team leader this is especially important for you. Don’t let a single event go by without acknowledging the sacrifice and work others have done to bring it about. You can’t do ministry in the life arena alone nor should you try. You might be able to go faster for a time, but as you build up others and you are in turn built up, you can go farther.
5. Ask for feedback from people not on the team
Take warning! This will require you to shut-up and listen to others. Don’t use this as a time to make a defense for all your actions as a team. Put yourself in the position of the learner and humble yourself to inquire from others who are not involved in the life arena. Ask those who aren’t on the team what their impression of the life-team is. By doing that you can start to locate barriers others might have to being involved, barriers you can then work on eroding by building your relationship with them. When you ask for feedback and show that you listened, you will be surprised how far that will go to build trust with that person. Approach that individual a second time after some months have passed and thank them for their insights and then inquire of them again. When you do this, you are making an invitation for that person to share in the mission and vision of the life team. You are showing you will consider and ponder some potentially very harsh and negative feedback. Even if the person is wrong in their critique, look for the kernel of truth that is correct about what they said.
Give these a try! Let us know how they work for you. Are there some we’re missing? What would you add to this list? Comment below or share on Facebook!