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Authenticity is when who we really are matches the image we portray to others. “Esse guam videra,” means, “to be rather than to seem.”

Look up the word authentic in a dictionary and you will find clarifiers like real, genuine, credible, dependable, faithful, reliable or trustworthy. The Bible uses some of the same words in reference to a steward’s (worker/leader) responsibility.

1 Corinthians 4:2

Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. (NKJV)

The requirements for a good guide are reliability and accurate knowledge. (The Message)

There are many characteristics that contribute to authenticity of leadership. Here are four I believe are necessary to prevent an authenticity deficit in leadership.

  1. They Love Much – Building Relationships (John 3:35; 1 John 3:11-16)

Authentic Christian Leaders see people as a ministry not a job. They invest their lives in others, loving the unlovely and reproducing reproducers. Discipleship to them is about individuals not groups.

“Discipleship is not ‘one-size’ fits all!”

  1. They Give Much – Disciplining Self (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Hebrews 12:1-2)

Authentic Christian Leaders give their best defining and living their values based on the Word of God. They have established priorities constantly streamlining their lives according to Hebrews 12:1-2.

A desire for God which cannot break the chains of sleep is a weak thing. (E. M. Bounds)

  1. They Hate Much – Forsaking Sin (Psalm 97:10)

Authentic Christian Leaders allow the Word of God to permeate every area of their lives striving to agree with God about sin. They do not cover their sin but confess and forsake it, keeping short accounts with God.

“Lord, make me sensitive to and intolerant of sin.”

  1. They Abide Much – Cultivating Worship (John 15:1-7)

Authentic Christian Leaders know the value of cultivating worship and consistently drawing their strength from God. Through an established personal plan (2 Peter 1:5-11; Colossians 1:9-10) they are involved in personal discipline (Deuteronomy 4:29; Daniel 1:8), study (2 Timothy 2:15) and devotions (Psalms 5:3,143:8).

You cannot maintain the illusion of authenticity in your own power without faking it.

I close with a quote that has highly impacted my life. These words give me pause…make me think…and drive me to my knees!

Our greatest need is not to be sending out large numbers of missionaries, pastors and evangelists, but rather to send out a few who are worthy of being imitated. (Don Kelso, Sr.)

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  1. Thank you for the article. As a young Pastor, the outline of characteristics with supporting scripture is invaluable! I pray God continues to use your ministry in a Mighty way.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Pastor Chris Taylor
    Horizon Ministries International

    • Chris, I want to add value to and support ministries just like yours as I believe in what you are doing. Thank you for investing in the lives of youth. I trust you will continue to find the website beneficial to your life and ministry. Please pass it along to your friends. Mike

  2. Mike this is the third article of yours that has increased my desire to be real and relevant to our church. Thank you for taking the time to write. It was great to sit under your leadership at WOL and these writings continue that work in my life.

    Johnny J. Aseltine
    Central Community Church

    • Johnny, music to my ears! I appreciate your desire to make a difference and to continue to grow. Keep in touch. Mike

  3. Really great post, each of those four points is so true and so convicting. May I be able to be that kind of man, great post!!!

    • John, thanks for affirming the post and for willingly embracing the challenge of matching your private and public life! We need more leaders like you. Mike

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