Whenever I work with non-profit or religious leaders in trying to brand their organizations, I usually ask the man or woman at the top, “What makes you different?” In other words, “What personal trait separates you from the pack?” The first response I invariably get is “authenticity.” I get that answer over and over. Many pastors and ministry leaders are especially proud of their authenticity, and feel like they are one of the few who have it.
But that usually leaves me a bit depressed. Not because this person really is authentic, but because they consider it so special and rare. After all, shouldn’t “authenticity” be normal for pastors and ministry leaders? Shouldn’t authenticity be the baseline behavior for any spiritual or non-profit leader? Isn’t it a bit sad that we live in an era where “authenticity” is considered a rare trait for pastors and ministry leaders?
But then again, after seeing the divorces, lawsuits, legal actions, and financial questions non-profit and ministry leaders have been facing over the last number of months, perhaps being authentic is more rare that we’d like to think.