One trend that I am seeing in Student Ministry is the lack of depth in relationships. Blame it on our hyper-active way of life, blame it on technology or texting, or blame it on where our society is going as a whole (or a culmination of all of the above). Whatever it is that has led to this walk from the deep end to the shallow end of relationships – we need to do everything we can to rectify, revitalize, and restore AUTHENTIC Community amongst our students (and our churches as a whole).
Here are THREE simple ways that I challenged my students this past week to start living in Authentic Community. I think they are applicable to our lives as believers in every day life.
1) Embrace the Awkward
There a certain amount of awkwardness that comes with every new relationship. Aside from those rare “did we just become best friends” moments – where you meet someone and find that you are exactly the same, most of the time when it comes to building deep relationships, it’s awkward. Not all of us are the same, we have different views, personality, pet-peeves, history, plans for the future, and the list goes on and on. When you get a random group of people together and your trying to establish Authenticity – you will have to EMBRACE the Awkward and be intentional about working towards depth, acceptance, and growth.
Don’t believe me? Just read the call for us to be the body, even though we are many parts in 1 Corinthians 12:12-20. We need all the different to be ONE.
2) Commit to Being There (in attendance and for one another)
You want Authentic Community? It helps to be consistent. Authenticity takes work – and if there are constantly people in and out of your life, it’s even more difficult to establish. People need to know that you are going to BE THERE for them and that they can lean on you.
The other part of the Being There is being an advocate for ONE ANOTHER. Go read John 13:34, Romans 12:10, Romans 12:16, Romans 14:13, Romans 15:7, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 4:2, and Ephesians 4:32. You will find a variety of mandates and commands in Scripture to ___________ ONE ANOTHER. What you will find is to love, be devoted, honor, live in harmony with, don’t pass judgment on, accept, encourage, live in peace, serve, be humble, be gentle, be patient, bear with, be kind, be compassionate with ONE ANOTHER.
If we are not willing to be there fore One Another like God’s Word commands us to, then we will never find Authentic Community.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”
3) Be Real
Duh! If you want to be authentic then you should be authentic. Sounds so simple. But, let me tell you, there is a reason why this is so difficult and not many people are living it out. Our natural human tendency (especially as Americans) is to protect whatever ego, reputation, dignity, status, etc. that we have. We try SO hard at doing this, that we become different people and slowly DIE on the inside. We are literally rotting on the inside, because of the secrets and pain. We are like the Pharisees who cleaned the outside of the cup, but left the inside dirty. Who tried to pray perfume on a coffin while the inside was filled with stink and death.
We need to be REAL with each other. We need healing from this slow death we are all dying. Look at the promise from Scripture that we have when we live this out.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much.”