Let’s be honest, there are very few leaders in the church who don’t struggle with the feelings of inadequacy. It’s a reality that plagues the best of leaders. But the question isn’t whether or not we are inadequate (The simple answer is, yes. The Bible clearly says, we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God. And as Spiritual Leaders, we feel that more than anyone at times.), but how do we handle the inadequacy in our lives, ministries and leadership without feeling fake, while still safeguarding authenticity?
That is a question I have asked myself many times. Have you?
You see, apart from the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives and our church, I believe authenticity is the characteristic (or the secret sauce if that works better for you) that will encourage those far from God to see and discover His Son alive and at work in us.
So what’s the answer?
Picture a Travel Agent and a Tour Guide. Both the Travel Agent and the Tour Guide work within the tourism industry, engage with people regularly and direct people on a journey. But there is a big difference between the two.
A Travel Agent sells you tickets to places they may have never been before. Sure, then can adaquently tell you about the destination, describing all the possible benefits, opportunities and cautions that they have read in a book, or have researched online – but until they have actually been there themselves, they are simply pointing you in the right direction.
A Tour Guide however, takes people where they have been many times before. They know the landscape, opportunities and cautions intimately, not because they have researched it online, but because they have experienced it personally many times before. Their passion, knowledge, creditability and understanding is built and based on their personal experience.
When it comes to safeguarding authenticity, my desire to be Tour Guide; still discovering, but committed to taking the journey. I want to lead people to places I have been with God, experience what I have experienced with God, and learn what I have learned from spending time with Him. I’m not saying I wont trip up at some point along the way, but I’ll deal with those steps as they arise.
I know that is the desire of every spiritual leader when they begin, but for some reason, over time our guard drops and the danger of becoming Travel Agents begins to set in. We begin to point people in the right direction, but become unwilling to risk, explore, get dirty and discover Jesus all over again with them.
That is when authenticity begins to fade.
Let’s not fool ourselves, this is not suit and tie job, it’s going to get messy. But that’s what makes it so fun, exciting, and worth sharing with others. So strap on those boots and begin to explore for yourself once again; taking as many people as you can with you.
How do you safeguard authenticity?