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Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in Small Group Resources |

Creating a Trustworthy Group

Creating a Trustworthy Group


Mark Ingmire recently wrote an article called “Evaluating Trust in Your Group” for our training resource Are We Building Trust? Mark points out ten key factors that indicate a trustworthy group including authenticity, confidentiality, and listening. Two other factors, though, particularly caught my eye. Mark points to confession—sharing our shortcomings and a desire to change—and serving others in the group as key indicators of trustworthy groups.

We often think that confession in small groups only applies to the strongest, most trusting groups. However, any group that has an appropriate amount of trust should be a safe place that invites members to share their shortcomings. Even if members don’t share with the whole group, sharing with even just one other member is a sign that trust is present.

Serving one another, on the other hand, may not seem like such a big issue. Some might believe the group should be focusing on serving others rather than themselves. But Mark has a good point: “The age old adage is still true, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.'” Serving group members can show them just how much you care. And that can go a long way in building trust.

Here’s one of the evaluations Mark created. Be sure to check out Are We Building Trust? to read the full article and learn what your score means. You’ll also get seven other assessments to evaluate the level of trust in your group.

Group Evaluation of Trust
For each category, circle the number that best describes your small group in most situations. Values for 1 and 5 are indicated below.


1 2 3 4 5
1=No one expects anything from me
5=Our group could be titled “Great Expectations”


1 2 3 4 5
1=It’s like being at a Masquerade
5=Group members reveal their real selves


1 2 3 4 5
1=Our group is like a room full of strangers
5=Our group feels like we are peas in a pod


1 2 3 4 5
1=“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” 5=No secrets here


1 2 3 4 5
1=Loose lips prevail
5=Lips are sealed


1 2 3 4 5
1=I might as well be talking to the wall
5=My group understands me


1 2 3 4 5
1=I feel invisible
5=I feel like part of the team


1 2 3 4 5
1=It’s every man and woman for him/herself!
5=We’re constantly serving others


1 2 3 4 5
1=It feels like our group has been given a gag order
5=It feels like a family reunion every week


1 2 3 4 5
1=I might as well be aboard the Titanic 5=My group is my lifeboat