Tag Archives: authenticity

What Does “Authenticity” Even Mean for the Church?

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Colossians 1:3-5

authenticity

Why Authenticity Matters

There is a lot of talk these days about authenticity. According to most “experts”, authenticity is among the very highest values in our culture’s two youngest adult generations. That reality has brought authenticity to center stage in most churches’ efforts to more effectively reach those two generations. All of us, after all, are deeply troubled by the mass exodus by our adult children’s generation from the church. But, while everyone seems to understand how important authenticity is (especially for the church), I wonder how much consensus there is among church leaders about what authenticity even looks like in the church corporately? When it comes to being authentic (as a church), what does the “win” look like? More specifically, are there metrics? Are there particular, measurable characteristics or attitudes in a church that translate into actual authenticity? I believe there are. And, while there are probably many places we could find such descriptions in scripture, the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians is particularly compelling.

Why the Letter to the Colossians is Helpful

Paul wrote his letter to the church in Colossae having never met them. He did not start this particular community of believers and, to our knowledge, did not know them as of the writing of his letter. So, his introductory remarks wherein he found them to be particularly authentically Christ-centered, were grounded strictly on characteristics that were observable and measurable by others. In other words, he was not biased by any personal relationships within that church. For …

The Lies of a Generation

…the devil… He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

At Christian Unity Ministries much of the conflict we face in congregations centers around generation gaps and the very different values within those generations. It seems that our culture is moving and changing so quickly now that there are huge differences between the various (most agree, at least 4) adult generations in our culture. The two largest adult generations are Baby Boomers and Millennials. No disrespect to the Greatest Generation nor to Gen X, but Boomers and Millennials  are just so large in number, they come with their own cultural gravity force. Much has been written about both generations.

What we are seeing now in our culture is a passing of the mantle of leadership from an older generation to a younger one. That, of course, is not new. It has forever been so and it has forever been wrought with challenges. But I’m pretty certain the differences between entire generations has never been so big. So, in walking with them through conflict, we often find ourselves wading knee-deep in those differences. But here’s an interesting observation: in that work, I have also learned that they have both been lied to. Considerably. The enemy (i.e., spiritual forces of evil) has tailor-made some lies for each of these generations of Christ followers. Here are some examples…

1. Lies About Community and Church 

The lie to Boomers: You need church, but you don’t need community.

My generation largely still respected the idea of church; so much so, in fact, that we invested quite a bit of our …