What does it mean for a church to be “authentic?”

This word has been thrown around a lot lately, becoming almost as irrelevant as “relevant.” But amazingly, no matter who whom (h/t: Sam’s Dad) you ask, this adjective will likely be used to describe what is desired from a prospective church.

But what does it mean? What are the implications of an “authentic” church? If you were to walk through the doors a church building, how would you know whether or not you were entering a sanctuary of authenticity?


  1. Kristin
    August 16, 2007 at 9:37 am — Reply

    Yeah I dont like authentic. I like genuine, maybe but not authentic.
    To me that implies that there is some original form of the church that we are still supposed to be like…and I agree less and less with that notion.
    If by authentic you mean that it is ‘the real thing’ then I think that has a whole less to do with us than we think…or at least a whole lot less to do with the thing we think it has to do with 😉

  2. Megan
    August 16, 2007 at 9:49 am — Reply

    I think that we are to be like the original churchin this wa:. They were made up of imperfect people with a WHOLE LOT of problems. Read Paul’s letters if you don’t believe me. 😉 I think that a church is inauthentic when it portrays itself as not having any problems. Everyone dresses up and smiles like everything is dandy, no one goes forward b/c they obviously don’t have any confessions or testimonies, and prayer requests are rarely for themselves and the sin in their lives because there isn’t any (we pray a lot for the OTHER guy). I am being very sarcastic but, sadly, many of our American churches look like this. We shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to feel like sinners in church… that is who we are and we shouldn’t be there if we aren’t those people.

  3. August 16, 2007 at 10:06 am — Reply

    thanks for the offer!
    if they’re lookin’ for someone without experience who loves to hear himself talk, i’ll mention your name. 🙂

  4. Kristin
    August 16, 2007 at 1:35 pm — Reply

    I don’t know about you, but my identity is “Saint.” 🙂

  5. Sam's Dad
    August 16, 2007 at 7:16 pm — Reply

    “no matter WHOM you ask.”

  6. Sam's Dad
    August 16, 2007 at 7:22 pm — Reply

    Seriously, when I enter an assemblage of Christians, I always look for the people who appear to be poor. Sometimes, you can tell by their dress, or the car they drive. Then I watch and see whether they are “mainstream.” If they are, then I’m gonna like this church. If not, then maybe this church is lacking authenticity.

  7. August 18, 2007 at 5:49 pm — Reply

    It’s not really important if the “church” is authentic. What is more important is I am striving to be such.

    A church full of individuals who, in their individual lives on a day-to-day basis, are striving for authenticity (whatever that means) is what makes a church authentic. It is what makes THE CHURCH authentic.

    THE CHURCH is valid and real because they people who make up THE CHURCH are fleshing out the words on the pages of Scripture.

    Scripture is nothing unless the people who read it flesh it out.

    THE CHURCH and churches are nothing unless they people involved flesh out the values thereof and therein.

    It is very difficult, if not impossible, to make a determination of authenticity of a given community if one is an “outsider” of said community. To judge or measure a church’s authenticity or relevance or validity of values or anything else, I must devote myself to serving in and participating with a given community and contribute whatever it is I have to contribute to ensuring this community I am observing will be authentic.

    Each community will get and become that to which I as a part of it contribute; be it my authentic life or skills or whatever.


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