Credibility is an important character trait for successful business leaders. It is also important for Christians to display when they proclaim the gospel.
Impactful leaders cultivate credibility. People will be more willing to trust, follow, and listen to what leaders have to say when they have exhibited credibility.
In “10 Ways to Cultivate Credibility” by Sherrie Campbell, she defines credibility as a display of character that becomes a part of a person’s demeanor. It is in how they behave, speak, and respond with an air of confidence when the pressures of life can be overwhelming. And people notice these things.
I believe her “10 Ways” can be applied for Christians who have a desire to actively proclaim the message of the gospel to others.
One: Evangelists do not seek approval
When a person is dependent upon the approval of others, they will refrain from saying or doing anything offensive. Leaders with credibility have “self-acceptance”. They are comfortable with who they are, committed to doing that which is most important, and are not afraid to take risks. When evangelists know who they are in Christ, they prioritize their life to follow through on what matters most to God. They do not allow the approval of others to get in the way of taking risks to make that happen.
Two: Evangelists smile only when it is genuine
Smiling is not a defense mechanism to cover up discomfort or to try and be pleasing or influential. A genuine smile typically comes from a person who has learned through difficult circumstances that trusting in God is far more important than trusting in themselves. A genuine smile exudes peace and profound joy that they are already perfect in Christ and comfortable in talking with others about what he has done.
Three: Evangelists welcome silence
Have you ever noticed that the words “listen” and “silent” are made up of the same letters? People today are desperate to feel heard, understood, and considered. When those needs are met, they will be drawn to a person. Evangelists understand God’s timing, the power of His Word, and are patient with their tongue by extending their ears to listen. By listening, you will receive a clearer view into the hearts, minds, and character of the person you are speaking with. When evangelists reflect before they speak, and use the words from people they are listening to, they will speak more intelligently and be taken more seriously.
Four: Evangelists take responsibility
Credible leaders own up to their mistakes and by doing so, they appear confident, mature, and disciplined to deal with the stresses and challenges of a business. Evangelists take responsibility when they have responded poorly. When evangelists make mistakes, quite often it’s not in the words they have proclaimed, but when they have spoken out of anger or frustration instead of love and respect. We can own up to that by apologizing and asking for forgiveness. By doing so, they build credibility with the listener.
Five: Evangelists refuse to flatter people
The motivation to flatter comes from a desire to be well-liked. Cultivating credibility means being authentic and consistently providing straight, honest feedback to others. Evangelists understand that flattery does not build bridges to proclaim the gospel. They take the time to learn about the person and discover their unmet needs, personal challenges, or stresses. Instead of flattery or flippantly using Christian catch-phrases, evangelists are more prone to share the consequences of sin rather than hide it.
Six: Evangelists are sincere
Leaders who build credibility manage their thoughts and emotions by gearing them towards gratitude and solutions. Sincerity is fundamental in the life of an evangelist. They consistently display and provide God’s solutions for life in a world of sin. Evangelists build credibility by processing their thoughts and emotions through God’s Word. This means that they must be who they say they are, never promise more than they can deliver, and never misrepresent God by declaring promises that he doesn’t give in the Bible.
Seven: Evangelists are openly vulnerable
Credible leaders are willing to be transparent. They express humility by their willingness to reveal their weaknesses. They never claim to know it all and ask for help whenever necessary. Evangelists are humble enough to admit being a saint who struggles with sin and confident enough to confess being a sinner who rejoices in being a saint – all because of God’s grace.
Eight: Evangelists have a strong sense of self
Credible leaders are made, not born. This often comes through many difficult lessons and hard knocks. They learn the value of persistence and resilience… the ability to hang in there when situations are stormy. Evangelists have a strong sense of self by understanding that they don’t have to be somebody that they are not or what others expect them to be. God uses the ordinary to do extraordinary things – even proclaiming the gospel to others. They recognize or have a strong sense of self by acknowledging that self needs to be routinely placed on the shelf if they are to serve God in a meaningful way.
Nine: Evangelists never judge
Credible leaders rarely judge until they have received all the facts. They have learned that silence is far better than speaking judgmental or unkind words. Evangelists understand that it is impossible to judge human hearts and have learned to discipline their tongue against words that are critical, argumentative, or judgmental. They also understand that God commissions all believers to generously plants gospel seeds, not judge the soil.
Ten: Evangelists accept failure
Credible leaders are unafraid to fail. They understand that risk often comes with failure, but without risk there can be no success. Failure doesn’t define them, but are looked upon as opportunities to learn and grow. Evangelists understand that there are risks associated with sharing the gospel. They know that most people will reject their message. Evangelists understand that a soul dead in sin cannot receive eternal life without hearing the Good News. That’s what God has called them to be – his heralds, ambassadors or couriers – to deliver this high priority message.
Credibility is an important characteristic of a faithful evangelists, but that only comes through Christ. The Word that is proclaimed is the only credible source for life and salvation. When evangelists proclaim this message, they are going under Christ’s authority, reputation, and power, and not their own. And that’s enough credibility to enter any home or castle to witness what Christ has already done for the entire world.
Evangelism means sharing our treasures