Authenticity costs, but it's priceless

The world continually fails to discern the gaping chasm between “He’s a real character” and “She has real character.” Consequently, character (in the Biblical framework, a reflection of God more commonly referred to as godliness) seems to be in short supply, although its necessity, especially among God’s people, has never been greater.

What are some elements of godly character? Honesty, principles and humility can be observed in trials that bestow a key trait: authenticity—simply put, to be real or true. One might assume there is always sufficient moral polarity to give a thumbs up/thumbs down in assessing the trustworthiness of a person or his claims. Yet as individuals we can aspire to being authentic while failing to recognise the creep of compromise even in our beloved church or mission.

It’s human to appear (if not be) successful, well-liked, respected, in control. Tension arises when we put those desires ahead of reality, effectively warping truth. We can be guilty of telling half-truths that tip the balance to our favour. By speaking only of victories and not of struggles or failure, we spin one-sided stories to credit our success. Companies that engage in that often disintegrate in spectacular fashion because the truth will win out in due time. We have lots to learn from best practices of other organisations; however, as God’s children there is never a need to plaster over cracks to secure continued support. After all, the whole point in accountability is to identify problems and rectify them openly. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25, NIV).

I hear you…maybe

As one devoted to communication, I find many examples where authenticity can be tested. Do we really expect anyone, even our mothers, to believe that all we touch turns to gold? Often we tell the ‘happy ever after’ version of a story, sanitised to assure people that our ministry is a winner. That is not to deny that, in spite of our weak faith and strong egos, God is pleased to bless our endeavours. But hiding the other side of the coin, filled with struggle, doubt and old-fashioned error, fails to engage the vast majority of readers/listeners for whom life is a lot messier and unresolved. When we make it all look easy, it becomes harder for others to imagine their own abilities being useful in ministry. In this we sin against them as much as God.

Every time we communicate, there is potential to inform and inspire others for mission. Shall we not then covenant to ‘tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’? Paul typically leads the way as our instructor: “A great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me” (1 Cor. 16:9, NIV). Are you finding great doors? Then include us in the celebration. Are there many (forces) that oppose you? Bring us into your confidence. Are you going through a time of testing? Tactfully admit it, for some of us might be able to help. Did you try your best but simply got something wrong? Your confession and analysis will endear us to you no matter what, for you are showing yourself to be authentic. In contrast to the Christian marketing ‘industry’ of our day, Paul said, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9, NIV).

Occasionally we receive affirming feedback from partners whose hearts resonate with our candid reporting of the good and the bad. It is risky, but we need Christ’s power resting on us, and we need His strength, displayed amid our weakness. So be authentic.

Greg Kernaghan joined OM in 1978, serving on the ships Doulos and Logos until 1989, when he and his wife, Anni, moved to Finland for nine years as Eastern Europe opened. He has worked in international communications for the past 20 years, helping people to tell God stories. He lives in Canada.

Share this Resource

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Administrator International    Go & Live    January 2023MediaWorks is looking for an Administrator to support their creative media ministry. Use your administrative skills to be part of communicating  God’s love through print and digital media.
Full Details
Sportslink International Team Communication Facilitator International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe see God at work through our sports ministries, but we need someone to help us to tell our stories better. We need someone who is dedicated, dynamic, creative, team minded and has great communication skills. Are you the person who can effectively tell the story of what God is doing through Sportslink?  Join us and use your gifts and skills to share God’s stories across the globe.
Full Details
Incarnate Manager – Inspiro Arts Alliance International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you love to organize complex events? Can you imagine touching every corner of the globe with beauty by helping equip artists to serve cross-culturally?

Inspiro Arts Alliance cultivates and empowers artists globally to awaken the world to God's beauty. Incarnate is our flag-ship training that runs over over 4 months in multiple locations.

We’ve got the program and connections. We need a manager to make it work smoothly and efficiently. Could that be you?

Full Details
Database Administrator (IT) International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleReporting to the Head of the IT Infra Team in this newly created role, you will be responsible for the management and maintenance of database systems (Microsoft SQL, Azure SQL, MySQL & PostgreSQL) across our entire estate.
Full Details
Software Developer – INT Carlisle International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDevelopers are urgently needed to work on the software tools provided by the international IT team. These include desktop applications for finance and HR, web applications for our custom intranet solution and integration tools for third-party cloud-based ERP systems.
Full Details
Graphic design / Illustration or Motion Graphics International    Go & Live    January 2023Do you have skills in graphic design, animation, user interface layout or illustrations? Use your creativity and skills to help share God’s love with least reached people groups through high-quality print and digital media in different languages.
Full Details
Personal Assistant for AIDSLink Director International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOur AIDSLink vision is to see hope restored in individuals and communities, as we work together to overcome the challenges of HIV and AIDS. Our AIDSLink Director is looking for a detail-oriented individual who is gifted in administration to help ensure meetings, programs and the AIDSLink office operate efficiently. If this sounds like you, consider using your skills and talents to ensure every facet of this ministry is accomplished with completeness and attention to detail.
Full Details
B4T Developer International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you an experienced business owner or manager? Would you like to use your business skills, experience and contacts to build entrepreneurs?  Join us as a B4T Developer. You will work to grow Kingdom Businesses in some of the most needy parts of the world. Select entrepreneurs, train them in business skills, bring in investors; it is a tough job and not for the faint hearted. Our vision is to see Kingdom Business fulfill its vital role in the Great Commission.
Full Details
IT Infrastructure Engineer & Helpdesk International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleYou will be part of a team whose overall goal is to design, secure, integrate and provide access to information for OM International. We also support and give advice on how to do this.
Full Details
Personnel Officer – Inspiro Arts Alliance International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleIf you love the challenge of bringing clarity to a growing, global movement of artists – then step this way.

The Inspiro Arts Alliance cultivates and empowers artists globally to love through beauty in worship and witness.

Your part in this will be to ensure this alliance of artists is provided with a clear, consistent structure in which to thrive.

Full Details
Director of Media & Communications – Inspiro Arts Alliance International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you love to communicate creatively? Experience leading a team?

Inspiro Arts Alliance is looking for a leader for our Media & Communications Team to develop and deploy a variety of media to help mobilize artists globally to love like Jesus.

As director of media & communications you will be key to inspiring and equipping this global movement of artists!

Full Details
People Care International    Go & Live    January 2023MediaWorks is looking for a People Care worker to join our media ministry. As you support a creative team, including graphic designers, software engineers and video editors, you are making it possible to produce Christian media in the heart-languages of the least reached around the world.
Full Details