“Will the real disciples please stand up?” (p. 14) Very early on the authors ask this question of our congregations. Yikes! Are we really being authentic to God’s mission and call in our churches? I think that most churches have fallen into society’s expectations that we must be all things to all people. This is a very slippery slope, and faith communities need to stop and think about where they are in their identity crisis. For the last 20 or so years, every church has pulled ideas and concepts from this megachurch and that megachurch instead of trying to figure out where God is calling us in our situation. I believe that each church has been uniquely gifted by people who are able to carry out the mission and vision of each individual church. So shouldn’t ministries be based on the needs of the community matched with the gifts of the congregation? Somehow we turn this around and create ministry then find people to fill spots. In all of this we lose the mission and vision of our own church and focus on numbers, and how many people are attracted to whatever we are doing. I love this quote from page 16 of the book, “We confuse church membership with Christian discipleship. We confuse tithes and offerings with dues and tips.” We want all the benefits of what it means to be a part of a church, but none of the responsibility of what it takes to be a disciple. ” Everything we do needs to answer the question, “How is this helping us make disciples?” If we say that is what we are about (it is part of our mission statement) then all of our efforts need to be towards discipleship making as the end result. Authenticity is a lifestyle not something we just “do” on Sundays. Authentic congregations are focused on the community around them and are usually the go-to place for community gatherings and meetings. Their leaders are community leaders; their pastors are community pastors. Millennials want authentic people and authentic relationships. They also require transparency when given to charity. They must know that what they are giving will matter and know where it is going. Authentic faith communities are made up of disciples who know that they are students, learners and contributors to a bigger picture and a greater good. They are not consumers expecting served and worried about their own benefits. Millennials are attracted to these authentic communities, and maybe it’s time we see that it’s time we are real with our call.
What do you thinK are marks of authentic witness and identity in your church?
Is your congregation doing everything they can to make disciples of Jesus Christ?
Are you being authentic to who you are called to be individually? Are you an example to others?