can you be trusted?

I believe that every situation is a chance to either gain trust or lose trust.  I have had many conversations with technical artists at churches all over and trust seems like a common topic of conversation.  Can you trust a volunteer to do a particular task?  Can you trust a band member to be prepared for rehearsal?  Can you trust your 16 year old with the keys to the car?

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What informs the decision on whether we trust someone or not?  History.  The collection of events that make up your life and inform others what you will most probably do.

What is your history say?  What do the sum of your choices and responses add up to?  If I were to ask the people you work with, what would they say?  Can your decisions be trusted, or are you known for blowing smoke?

As a technical artist in the local church, I am guessing that you are familiar with the stereotype of tech people…The first reaction is no.  Always complaining about the process not being good enough.  Asking for things that are expensive.  Having an excuse for why something is working right…(need more gear).  If we hope to be a driving force in our churches, and be able to influence how are churches do ministry, we need to have a past history that enables people to trust us.

The challenge is what to do when your leader/boss doesn’t take your recommendation.  It is really easy to feel trusted and a part of the solution when people take your advice.  But what about when someone decides to do the exact opposite of what you think is right?  Obviously each situation is different, but each one is an opportunity to be trusted; another chance for people to add something positive to the history they know of you.

A few instances from my early ministry life stand out, where decisions were made that went against my recommendations.  One in particular involved opening a new video venue in the high school where our church met.  Since we hadn’t really gotten into video until then, I suggested that we have a one week test, where we set up all the cameras and the large screen in the overflow room, before we invited the congregation to attend.  I think you could probably write the rest of the story:  leadership decided to open without a test weekend, the team worked through the night to get the system up and running, the room was packed on the first week and the projector wouldn’t work, we had to ask everyone to go back to the main auditorium.

The natural response for me was to say “I told you so.” and to jump on the idea of how little non-tech people understand my world, and such a typical church leadership decision made in a vacuum, etc.  In reality, I had given my recommendation and they didn’t go with it.  I still put everything I had into trying to make it work, but then when it went south, I didn’t rub my superiority into anyone’s face.  As a result, the leadership above me had a data point that said, “Todd said this was a bad idea, he gave it everything he had and it still didn’t work.  We might want to listen to him next time.”

Each decision, each interaction, each choice you make speaks volumes about what kind of person you are.  It is important to leverage each one, the good and the bad.  Every time you have a chance to speak into something, you should.  You should also know that every one of your ideas will not be acted on, yet how you handle yourself in these moments speaks more about you than handling the good situations. 

Most of us can respond well when people take your advice.  How will you respond when they don’t? 


Creative Commons License photo credit: Profound Whatever