by Scott Nelson, Lead Pastor
Authenticity is one of the key values of our church. For the last couple of months, when it’s my turn to write on the blog, I’ve been writing about the key values of our church. This time, I’m going to write about authenticity. Here’s how we like to phrase it:
“We are authentic about our faith and our failures. We, devotedly, live for Jesus as an example of His transforming power. We honestly share our mistakes as an example of His grace and forgiveness.”
Authenticity is about being genuine, telling the truth about who you are and what’s going on. We are authentic about our faith and our failures. Some people think authenticity only means being real about what is wrong in life. It includes that, but authenticity is more. As a Christian, it includes being genuine about your love for Jesus. We don’t hide the fact that we are passionate about God. We let that shine through and everything we say and do. It changes our attitude and our outlook.
Our world has embraced the power of authenticity, and everyone from social media personalities to Fortune 500 CEOs are sharing more of their personal lives. For us, being genuine is not about scoring points but pointing to Jesus and His work in our lives. We don’t bleed our problems on everyone; rather, we have godly support systems where we are appropriately vulnerable and receive love and accountability. It is from this healthy support that we have the confidence to share the right amount about of our inner lives with others. Authenticity comes from being loved by Jesus in supportive community.
Probably the best example of authenticity in the Bible is the apostle Peter. Peter made a lot of mistakes, and many of the mistakes—including Peter denying Jesus—we only know about because Peter was honest and told others about his failure. He authentically loved Jesus and he genuinely made some huge mistakes. He didn’t hide either of these facts. He was authentic, told others, and let his life be an example—not of perfection but of the process of devotedly following Jesus.
We try to live out that same example. We give God our best, but we know that we will fall short. We don’t hide our failures, and we don’t glorify them either. Our lives are surrendered to Christ, and we live to follow Him. We share our mistakes as proof that God is working on us as imperfect people. We all make mistakes—including our pastors, leaders, and every person in the church. And together we are all trying to follow the Lord. We love being a place where people can be authentic and faith in failures. There’s no need for religious masks, there’s no need to pretend you don’t let the Lord, and there is no need to try to be cool by the world standards.
We get to love every person who walks in the door, we get to love lost people, and we get to love the Lord with all our hearts. We love being authentic. Jesus gives us the freedom to be authentic about who we really are, while we are transformed into the people He made us to be. God is the One who truly knows our authentic selves. As we draw closer to Him, our people-pleasing, self-righteous masks fall away; in His arms of love we discover who we truly are. Only with Him can we discover who we truly are, and authentically follow Him in love.