Be Authentic

CarlosI want a tattoo! There are a ton of people I know who say “do it” and look forward to seeing it soon. It seems to be more acceptable these days, even in the Christian community. (By the way, Carlos goes to our church so I stole this pic from him. I’m sure he doesn’t mind, as long as I give him some love… www.ragamuffinsoul.com) Here’s what is stopping me… for now. I have a strong desire to be authentic and with the popularity of tattoos these days, I want to make sure I get one for a great reason and not just because it’s the thing to do now.

I think this struggle has taken place in the church for years and today is no different. Conferences are a great example of churches coming together to share “best practices” and inspiration for leading in new ways. The problem though is there are a lot of church leaders who attend these events, see a successful church or ministry, and go home to implement the exact things they saw and heard about. Now don’t get me wrong… there is a time and place for best practices or “plug-and-play” resources being put into place to help improve systems or effectiveness. But it seems like often times, the message of courageous leadership is lost in the results that are seen on hand.

What would it take to evaluate our current situation and make some bold new leadership decisions to ensure a healthy organization, and more importantly, an effective ministry to the community? Or better yet… what could the church be doing to lead the way as an example of healthy spending, saving, and giving habits whether the economy is in the tank or not? It’s a tough gig these days to try and keep up with culture and high levels of expectations without breaking the bank to make it happen like everyone is. Or maybe, this is the perfect opportunity to step out and create a culture in which God is edified through excellence, pure hearts, and a desire to thrive in a way that is counter-culture to the rest of the organizations in America. Maybe it’s time to extend a collaborative hand to the denomination down the street, to maximize resources and capitalize on the opportunity to model for the community, God followers working hard together to express His explicit love for everyone…

I’m sure it’s not easy, or we would have figured out how to do it already. I can’t help but wonder though if God’s willingness to allow us to make massive mistakes in the way we handle resources and people is just another facet of His undeserving grace for us. I pray that we take this opportunity to evaluate how we have been living, both as individuals and organizationally, and how our learning can be a catalyst for truly authentic ministry.

- Nathanael

One Comment

  1. Posted May 28, 2009 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    You make a good point about the balance between the church being a good steward (regardless of the economy) on the one hand – and stepping up and promoting excellence (which ain’t cheap) on the other.

    The older I get, the more I tend to lean toward wanting to see the church (and myself) be less focused on the material (and in this case, the ‘excellent’ or the ‘relevant’) and more focused on helping to meet the basic needs of the poor. How we balance all of this, I am not sure.

    But if people want a faith that is relevant, shouldn’t we take it to the streets using more than just a tract and an invitation to a cool, hip service?

    Just thinking out loud. Love the blog. Keep it coming!

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