Trust: “the belief that someone is reliable, good, honest or effective (Merriam-Webster).” Healthy ministry teams make trust building a priority. Patrick Lencioni, one of today’s best writers on leadership believes that absence of trust is the biggest problem among dysfunctional teams (see his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team). Stephen M. R. Covey wrote an entire book that shows how teams can build trust called The Speed of Trust. So, how do you know if your team has a deficit?
Honestly answer these questions to gauge the trust deficit in your team.
- Does a spirit of suspicion lurk in team members’ minds?
- Do team members overly rely on email in lieu of talking?
- Do team members often wear facades?
- Is there too much “happy talk” which masks true problems?
- Are team members reluctant to share their honest feelings and opinions?
- Do team members resist meeting together?
- Has the team lost enthusiasm?
- Has grumbling and complaining become the norm?
- Is the leader inconsistent?
- Do some team members intentionally withhold information from others?
How did you do? If you answered yes to more than one or two questions, your team may be facing a trust deficit.
So how do you rebuild trust?
In my next blog I will suggest a few ideas. But here’s what I suggest as a first step. Get the book The Speed of Trust for you and your team and read it. It’s a great read. Here’s a summary of the book to get you started.
What other behaviors have you seen that may indicate lack of trust in a team?
Zombies are big today. Big budget movies, popular TV shows, commercials, and even zombie action figures have invaded our culture. Even before they became popular, when someone said, ‘I feel like a zombie,” we knew what they meant… they felt exhausted, lifeless, listless, and were simply going through the motions.
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As a pastor for over 30 years, at times I’ve felt like a zombie pastor. Ministry stress, disappointments, and pressure sometimes seemed to sap my soul of life, energy, and joy.
So how do you know if you are a zombie pastor? Take the Pastor Zombie Zone Quiz. (Tweet this quote here)
Each year Leadership Network offers an amazing two day online leadership conference called The Nines. The 2013 conference is scheduled for November 15-16 and will include dozens of today’s most influential pastors and Christian leaders. I’ve been asked to be one of the presenters this year.
On August 1 Leadership Network gathered 40 of these leaders at Saddleback’s retreat center for a one-day forum. I attended and although I felt like a tiny guppy trying to swim upstream with large powerful dolphins, I came away very encouraged by my experience.
If I mentioned the names of these pastors and leaders, you’d probably know them for they headline the major church conferences and write best sellers. Many pastor some of the largest and most innovative mega-churches in the country. Here’s what I observed.
Unless you stay at the same church your entire life, you will leave one ministry or church and go to another, perhaps several times. In fact, the average pastor in the U.S. stays at one place about four years.
I’ve served at five different churches in my 33 years in ministry and have always sought to leave well. I’ve learned that leaving is more of an art and is often difficult. Here are 7 insights I’ve learned that have helped me make a graceful exit.
- Deal with your baggage. Leave with a clear conscience that relationships have been made right, as much as is possible.
- Acts 24:16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
- Rom. 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone
- Don’t leave angry. Process your pain. If you struggle with anger after you leave, get coaching or counseling to avoid bitterness.
- Hebr. 12:15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
- Leave on top. That is, leave your ministry as healthy and as strong as possible.
- Col. 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men….
- Speak well of the former leaders, both lay and paid. Don’t leave a trail of gossip. Don’t undermine the leaders or anyone else who may have hurt you. Don’t burn bridges. Leave in such a way that your and Christ’s reputation remain intact.
- Prov. 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
- Let go of ownership. You are no longer in charge. You may be tempted to still influence it from afar. Guard against that.
- Pray that God would bless the ministry even more with the new leader who replaces you.
- 1Kings 1:37 “May the Lord be with Solomon as he has been with you, and may God make Solomon’s reign even greater than yours!”
- Grieve well. Change brings loss. You will lose familiarity, relationships, and influence even as you gain those in your new ministry. Don’t be surprised if you grieve. The Apostle Paul grieved when he left the church at Ephesus for the last time.
- Acts 20: 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: `It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 36 When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
Years ago I heard a talk by Ellen Goodman about leaving well. This quote captures the spirit of a leader who makes a graceful exit.
There is a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over-and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on, rather than out.
What insights would you add to this list?
“I just learned some good insight about how to gracefully leave a ministry.”(tweet this quote).