Leading From Authenticity

{Flourish kicks off a new blog category called “ABC’s for Ministry Wives”. These words will represent features we think every wife should consider as she walks out her role in ministry. Note for our orderly types-these will not be in alphabetical order.} 


When I became widowed I journeyed into corporate life at a software development company. Suddenly I was commuting downtown on public transit to a foreign world of a high rise in Denver. My workplace was filled with brilliant, quality people who readily accepted an untrained co-worker. It was no secret that my husband had been a visible pastor who had tragically died.

This job proved to be one of my greatest challenges and simultaneously my greatest blessing. Upon leaving after two years for a position back in ministry during an exit interview this was said: “I have found you to be a believable person of faith.”
Believable? The minute I heard “believable” I realized how naïve I was about the believability of Christians and especially ministry types.

Was I NOT credible or plausible?

This needs to be said: “Spiritual leaders WILL come under scrutiny, even suspicion.” Our sincerity, genuineness and motives will be questioned, from the culture and even within the church. We live in a world where “pretenders” have deceived and duped many. 

Plus if our context is far removed from a Biblical worldview or church culture our believability is inherently more critical in the face of disbelief and cynicism.

Read 2 Corinthians lately? Paul’s veracity is being questioned. His authenticity, believability is being challenged:

For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity as commissioned by God….” 2 Cor. 4:17

Paul often uses some form of the word “sincerity” in his writings, frequently directed to leaders. We see clues of the disingenuous early in church history.
What makes us believable? Or better yet let’s identify what might make us UN-believable. Let’s look at this on two levels: Practically and Spiritually.

Practically speaking we are to be “set apart” yet that can be a tightrope both as a believer and leader. Here are some practical realities that if not held in the right balance can make our lives seem unbelievable. 

  • Culture: The Christian culture is weird, if not odd for those unfamiliar with it. We are a subset of culture within culture. Our language, lifestyle, apparel (jewelry, tee-shirts, etc) and mindset can seem completely foreign and out of touch. Most of the time we are unaware of the disconnect.  
  • Normality: Our lives can seem unusual and sequestered. We seem to cluster an inordinate amount of time with the like-minded. And “quiet time” what is that? 
  • Reality: Do we appear to be un-real? Do we mess up? Apologize? Kick the dog? Do we have hobbies/interests or do we just sit around and chant a lot? 
  • Transparency: This word means “able to be seen through”. Do we keep others at bay from the inner side of our lives? Do we appear plastic, superficial? 
  • Motive: Motives matter. What drives us? Money seems to be motive in “peddlers” but success, approval, power, esteem and identity are other motives. Even if it seems hidden from us it is rarely hidden from observers. 

Spiritually speaking we must be believable. Sincerity as used in Scripture means “without a mask, inexperienced in the art of acting”. Peddlers sell and in selling they pretend to be something. We are NOT salesmen yet we can dangle dangerously close to appearing that way.

Two simple yet crystal clear features of a believable, consistent spiritual leader: 

    “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” John 13: 35
    “The greatest of these is love1 Cor. 13:13

Love is the inescapable commodity of validity. It transcends culture and rises far above talent. We can believe the right things yet have hearts of stone. Love convinces people of our sincerity. Without love we are a “clanging cymbal and or resounding gong” and people SEE it. If we get too busy, too big, too selective or too convictional to love we have a HUGE believability problem.

    “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”  2 Cor. 2: 15.
    “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” 2 Cor. 2:14.

Aroma. What a powerful image for us. This mystical unseen thing gives off a beautiful smell. Despite the nature of perfume we cannot “bottle” the aromatic life of woman who “knows her God”. His nature and His love wafts through her life unconsciously. The knowledge of Him and our vibrant relationship with Him creates a beautiful life. We become attractive because of HIM. Our lives are to “adorn the doctrine of God”. (Titus 2:10)


  • Let audacious love mark our lives then we can toss the giant cross earrings.
  • Spread the aroma of His beauty as we extend grace, enter into pain, display irrational joy or encourage the broken etc, etc —His reality in us will be convincing.

      We will be believable.

Published October 21, 2013