If you like the topic of Leadership or if you are in, or want to be in a leadership position in a business or church, or really any group; then you need to know the name Patrick Lencioni. He is one of the top leaders and speaks and writes primarily about how teams function. In fact he has a Team Pyramid and he suggests that there are five healthy characteristics that create a healthy team. Those traits are Accountability, Results, Conflict, Trust, and Commitment.

Think about which of these characteristics form the base of the Pyramid? Which is the most important? Which one enables you to successfully do the other 4?

The foundation of any healthy Team/Marriage/Church Leadership is Trust. Results are the outcome of a functioning, cohesive, healthy team; not the foundation.

Without Trust you cannot build a Team. Without Trust you will never enter into healthy Conflict because you don’t trust the people you are talking with. Without healthy Conflict you can’t reach an agreed upon
Commitment. Without Trust there will be an avoidance of Accountability. The results become more about Individuals & Ego’s rather than the team.

Watch the video in this link. This is an article about the Cirque de Soleil, which is a trapeze entertainment group.

In the act there is a flier & a catcher. Each one must have individual discipline, strength, & training. You must bring your disciplined and trained trustworthiness to the team.

Are you trustworthy? One Study: 60% of people lie during a typical 10 minute conversation. And surprising to all of us; Men lie almost twice as much as women.

In an interview the flier says “I know he will catch me everytime.” The catcher does his job and does it consistently.

“We can be in something exceptionally adventurous because of our training and our trust”

If you don’t trust, you don’t take risks, you are less willing to be adventurous. Think about a marriage that lacks trust, it stagnates and it loses any sense of adventure because of the lack of trust.

“Trust is the currency we use to form relationships” Think about it. In your marriage, friendships, and business, are there $1 bills being exchanged or $100 bills being exchanged? Is there a Low or High degree of Trust. For the Trapeze Artist, $1,000 bills are being exchanged!

With that said,  this morning I want to address the issue of Trust. I want to think about Trust, your level of Trust, by briefly examining 3 Gauges.

1. Personal Vulnerability:

You know there is a high degree of Trust when there is a willingness to be Vulnerable. The leader must express that he has needs as well.


Jesus called 12 men to be his disciples; not simply to train them but because of his human need for companionship. And you see this need for companionship at Jesus’ most vulnerable moment in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John just to be near him in his time of distress. He tells them “I need your help. I need your nearness.”
Jesus wept. Jesus got tired and slept. Jesus wasn’t afraid to show his emotions or his limits to his disciples.
In Luke 8 it Mentions Jesus being with his 12 disciples but also a group of women accompanied him in his ministry “providing for Jesus out of their means.” Jesus needed outside financial help in order for him to accomplish his mission. In human form, he couldn’t work for money & have full-time ministry, he needed others to help him.

Here are some phrases you hear when you have a high degree of trust and a willingness to be Vulnerable: “I messed up”, “Your idea is better than mine”, “I need help”,  “I admire your ability.”

When I am appropriately vulnerable as a leader then I am real and not a robot. This is one primary way you build the foundation of trust in your teams.

2. The ability to “Speak the Truth in Love”:

The Apostle Paul say in Ephesians 4 that “Jesus gave to some people the gift of leadership in order to equip, build, and bring people into mature manhood, speaking the truth in love, in order to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”

Paul knows that in order to grow as a person, leaders will need to enter into crucial conversations, and conflict, “As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another”. Yet these conversations require speaking the truth in love. So there is the question: Are you willing to hear the truth spoken to you in love? And if you are in a leadership position are you able to speak the truth in love to others?

Jesus is described as “full of Grace & Truth” in John 1:14. He was the Master at being able to speak the truth in love, in hope to build Trust, and help people mature. I love his conversation with the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10.

Wow, the blindness or arrogance of this guy. He is talking to Jesus and telling Jesus that He himself is perfect. This is laughable. Before Jesus offers him the Truth what does Jesus do? He looks at this guy and loves him. Jesus is just about to enter into conflict with this guy. First, he loves him then tells him the truth. When you are in a conflict conversation, what is going through your mind about the other person? Is it love, hate, superiority, or are you trying to “win” the conversation?

I can remember being on a Team with someone who I thought every conversation was a battle to see who could win. This was exhausting and ultimately led to me avoiding those conversations altogether.

When you have a foundation of Trust you are pulling for the other person to see something and grow, and for them to know that you care for them enough to enter into a difficult conversation.

When arguing with your wife what is running through your mind? Is it “I love you”?

You know there is a high degree of trust when your team is willing to embrace healthy conflict at the team table rather than avoid it.

3. Your Willingness to Delegate Authority:

Real trust is displayed when the leader is able to delegate Authority. If you can’t give away real responsibility with real risk then real trust is nearly impossible. Obviously this doesn’t happen all at once but it is something you should be moving toward, because all of us are moving toward leaving our positions. Whether you are a Business owner, Pastor, or Father; all of these require us to give away authority. Jesus models this perfectly.

Jesus hands over authority to his disciples which we see in Matthew 4:23 & Luke 10:1 & 9. You take my power and my message and proclaim it. WOW!

In Matthew 16: 18-19 Jesus gives away authority to disciples to open and close things dealing with the Kingdom. What a profound partnership. Consider the risk Jesus was willing to take by giving humans this kind of authority.

Of course as you read through the book of Acts and you immediately see the Church forming and delegating authority to those in the local church. The Disciples learned to follow Jesus’ lead. When they were heavily persecuted, it was critical to delegate authority.


1. Why is Trust so critical to building a healthy Team? What happens to teams when there is little trust?

2. What’s your comfort level in being vulnerable? Is it really necessary for a leader to express vulnerability? Why/why not?

3. Talk about your ability to “speak the truth in love.”

4. What’s your biggest challenge in either receiving authority from your leader or (if you are a leader) giving away real authority with risks?

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips

Pastor, Christ Community Church

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