Another ingredient of an environment of TRUST..
As a group leader you must be pursuing to live the kind of life that will give weight to your words. Or to put it another way, trust will be built when your living matches your speaking. There is a great deal of skepticism in our world towards the Church that is a result in large part to leaders saying one thing and acting another way.
This does not mean that a leader’s life has to be perfect. We will always make mistakes. We will say things or do things from time to time that we will regret. That is where grace is so powerful. But, there must be a consistent life of integrity and even repentance when failure occurs for trust to be built and protected.
Paul says in 1 Thess. 1:5 that their “gospel did not come in word only but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” Paul also said in 1 Thess. 2:10, “You are witnesses and so is God how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved towards you.”
The power of God was seen among them as they lived out their convictions, proving that Jesus was worth following. It will be difficult for us to earn the right to challenge others to live in a Christ like manner if we are not pursuing to do the same. Paul goes on to say in 1 Thess. 2:11-12, “For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, Who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” It is our behavior, like that of a trusted and loving father that gives us the place to challenge people towards transformation.
We as leaders can make some of our biggest mistakes right here. We can’t say that we love people then make derogatory jokes about certain groups of people. We can’t tell people to sacrifice for others if we do not do it ourselves. We can’t preach holiness and then live in sin. We lose the trust of those we are trying to disciple when our faith and our lives do not match up. Integrity builds trust.
Challenge: Take some time to ask someone that you trust if they see any inconsistencies in your spiritual life that you may not be aware of. Ask them if they see areas in your life where you need to grow. If they share something with you, don’t be defensive, just listen. Then ask them to pray for you and hold you accountable as you pursue growth.