Students need more authenticity. More specifically, they need more examples of what authenticity looks like. Whether you like it or not, we now live in a time where it is so easy to hide behind whatever wall you want to put up. With Instagram, Facebook, Twitter we can put out whatever perception we want others to see rather than what is actually happening. I’m sure we all have done a series on it at some point in our ministries. Students are so wiling to only put up the best parts of life to give off the perception of a “perfect” life. If we are honest, as their ministers we tend to lead them in this don’t we? Don’t we do the same with our friends and followers and only put up the “wins” in ministry and life?

One of the best compliments I think a student can ever give a pastor is, “Whoa, you messed up too in your life and you are still going and loving God.” Are we portraying a real life as well? Are we talking about our mess ups and hang ups when we teach? Are we showing our students how to be authentic in life and not hide behind the filters of social media to give off a false perception? Are we living a life that is authentic as we try ourselves to follow Jesus and realizing students are watching our every move and how we talk and how we react compared to what we are posting online or teaching in our sermons?

One of my favorite and true quotes I love is from Craig Groeschel who says, “Be yourself. Authenticity trumps cool every time.”

As pastors, one of the most effective ways to minister to people around you is just to be real.

Some steps I’m trying to be more authentic with:

  • Being more aware of what I’m posting online. Not only good stuff, but real stuff.
  • When I teach, I teach about my own mess ups. How human I am.
  • I don’t want to use social media as the main interaction with students and friends. Pick up the phone and have an interaction with them either by voice or set up a coffee hang.
  • Nothing beats live interaction.
  • Nothing beats being able to pray for someone that is right in front of you.
  • Ask great questions and listen to the answers.
  • Answer the questions you ask yourself, and be real with the answers. Be open, honest.
  • In blog posts, don’t just write what you think will get you hits, talk about your hurts and disappointments. Some of the best ministering comes out of your own pain.
  • I laugh at myself. I do stupid things. When I don’t myself too seriously and can laugh at me, others will laugh too and because of this, we can bond over it.
  • I’m trying to focus on being on being interested over interesting. Instead of posting things that I know will get a ton of likes, I want to focus on others and ask them about them to get to know them better.
  • Realize there is such a thing as over sharing.

Anything else you would say would be a great example to students?