My last post mentioned a friend’s church where he is enjoying being the pastor of people who feel the freedom to be real … something that many people do not seem to experience. In fact, my own extenstive research of almost a dozen participants seem split on whether it is easy to “real” in their own churches.
So … how does a church where people can be real, or authentic, happen? It would have to be a work of the Holy Spirit, yet I think we will see some character traits in the flesh and blood players as they cooperate with the Spirit. Starting with the pastor. Take my friend and his church …
- He is an intelligent, well-read, and skillful communicator – yet he is humble in is relationships, never condescending,
- He seeks to help individuals think through issues and develop conclusions themselves. He is always asking questions, not out of a sense of superiority, but out of a true desire to help people learn.
- He is transparent and honest about his own struggles without fearing that he will undermine his qualifications to lead.
- The church is accepting of those who are “less-than-perfect” … not just those who are not yet believers, but those who already believe and don’t have “perfection” down yet.
- There is no culture of “mask-wearing” … again, modeled by the pastor and leaders first.
- While completely committed to a biblical Christian lifestyle, they are just as committed to freedom where the Bible is silent.
It also seems to help churches be real when there is a significant commitment to men. Challenging and helping them to be biblical, godly, kind, generous, strong and courageous, and real. Posers (and men can be great at that game) are not celebrated. Sin is confronted as sin, and forgiveness is granted quickly. There is a freedom to be who God has wired you to be.
My friend might add that it helps to have cigar nights every so often.