A church highlighting  Authenticity on thei new sign
A church highlighting Authenticity on their new sign

Racing along the boulevard in my Corolla at speeds exceeding 35 MPH made
reading the church sign’s new slogan almost impossible. But, hey, I was late for
a lunch meeting at the sushi restaurant.  My teriyaki bento box was whining for my hungry
presence. I sped on!

The church slogan read:


And “AUTHENTICALLY” hitched a ride to sushi with
me since “Authenticity” is the theme of this post.

So, on my way home, I pulled into the church driveway, got out, and took the
slogan photo you (hopefully) see at the top of this post.

In the old days (the 50s and 60s) growth-minded churches called themselves
“friendly.” That was radical. Bible-thumping hellfire messages
weren’t working as well to draw a crowd—new methods seemed needed.  

It’s intriguing to read “a relationally engaged authentically loving
church.” It’s a thoughtful approach to the “friendly” church. I am
appreciative of the prayer and discussion that went into creating it.

I’ve always struggled with the way to reach out to others.

When I started in ministry 50-plus years ago I was trained that church size
matters, bigger is better, and faster is finer. My role models were big-name
speakers with the fastest-growing churches.

I swallowed that bait—hook, line, and sinker. 15 years into taking the bait and surrounded
by “success” the big-tent church world I’d gulped down created indigestion and pain. 

And that’s when Authenticity became more interesting to me.

Nowadays, I’m super-intrigued with what Jesus was after when he taught: “For
where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew
18:20, ESV)

Jesus’ church-slogan sign might read, “I’ll be with two or three who
want to be with me.”

Imagine a church of two or three. How would that be? I mean if we really
called that gathering church.

I believe it’s a great “lab” for Authenticity.

Authentic is defined as: Not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.
having an origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified:
an authentic document of the Middle Ages; an authentic work of the old
master.” Dictionary.com

We become authentic as we become more loving and more truthful.

Other methods seem to result in pretense, chaos, and corruption.

Paul of Tarsus proposes: “That we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and
carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in
deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in
every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” (Ephesians 4:14–15, ESV)

Is the laboratory petri-dish for authenticity found in churches
of two or three?  And, is small the new big?

I can only imagine.

Giv’m heaven,

John Parker, Your Neighbor

Please write me at: Coachingparker@gmail.com

Or, comment below

Today we considered Step 2. AUTHENTIC Christianity  (click for Previous Step)