Authenticity means that we are able and willing to say what is so in spite of shame and fear. We are authentic when we are real, when how we present ourselves to God and to each other lines up with who we truly are. When we give up pretending and hiding and instead commit to “walk in the light,” transformation becomes possible.
Authenticity is crucial for missional living for two reasons: one, the world is unimpressed with our hypocrisy and pretense. It recoils not from our brokenness but from our unwillingness to tell the truth about our brokenness and our facade of self-righteousness. Two, when we live missionally, what is in us comes out. It is impossible to serve side-by-side with others without revealing who we really are. The efforts we make to look good and to protect what others think of us keep us defensive and ineffective. We need to be able to tell the truth about ourselves – the good, the bad and the ugly- and we need to hear truth about ourselves from others.