Authentic Relationships = Authentic Discipleship

Because you’re never too old to learn, and because two young kids weren’t taking up enough of my time, I went back to grad school this semester. One class has focused on missional leadership, and the other on the growth of the church in the East during the first millenium. Exciting stuff, right?

The amazing thing has been how intertwined the classes have been; lessons from Persia in the 7th century can apply to missional contexts in the 21st. Mistakes made in China 1100 years ago guide our actions and movements today. The perseverance of the Church in Arabia in the midst of the rise of Islam can inspire all of us in a rapidly changing modern world. But the best piece of information I’ve gotten hasn’t come from a professor or a textbook, but from a classmate of mine. He’s currently serving as a missionary in Rwanda. (Yes, I’m in class with someone in Rwanda. And Germany. And South Africa. And all over the country. Technology is cool.) Experiencing his share of successes and setbacks, he’s learned the hard way that there’s one main factor in determining the outcome of a project or relationship: authenticity.

In his words, “authentic relationship = authentic discipleship,” and that hit me right between the eyes. Our friends know when our faith has become about words instead of Spirit. Sometimes the world sees Christianity as it’s “advertised” instead of what it is. Our students know when we aren’t being truthful, or when we talk about things we don’t really believe. Being a kid is hard–sometimes you’re authentic even when you don’t want to be, because hormones won’t let you hide. The best thing we can do for them is to return the favor. Be real about life, about struggles, about successes; share your heart and be authentic with your kids. When we establish those authentic relationships, authentic discipleship and an impact for Christ will follow.

After all, God Himself set the model for relationships all the way back in Genesis. It’s a tale literally as old as time. We just get the honor of being a part of it.

Jason Henderson
Secondary Principal
Logos Preparatory Academy

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