Just a few days ago I had a late night dinner with my youth ministry hero, Doug Fields. Doug is the student ministry pastor at Saddleback and author of Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, the runaway best selling book in youth ministry history!
I had just spoken at his first ever Purpose Driven Student Leadership Conference when we decided to catch some chow at a local bar/grill afterwards (only grill and Diet Cokes for us boys though!)
We sat down in a booth in the middle of this clattering and chattering hole-in-the-wall and talked until the last customer had gone home. We talked about youth ministry, life and evangelism. It was very intriguing for me to get his take on stuff. The man has got a lot of wisdom.
Doug is one of those kinds of guys that impresses you from afar, but impresses you even more up close. Why? He is the real deal. There is nothing that even hints of superiority, fakery or arrogance with him. He genuinely loves youth and youth leaders.
Whoever you are, whatever your station in life, whether it be pastor, student, parent or ministry leader just remember to be real. Authenticity will speak louder than your words, your clothes, the type of car you drive, the size of your ministry or the number of books you’ve written or read.
If you are the real deal people will always know where you are coming from and, whether they like it or not, they will respect you for being straight up and honest. People who don’t even like you will trust you. Why? Because you aren’t faking it. Your “yes” is “yes” and your “no” is “no.”
Maybe that’s why Jesus was so hard on the religious leaders of his time. The Pharisees wore fancy pants robes (oxymoron or foxy morons?) and strutted around like they were all that. Jesus called them on it and they killed him for it. But even in the throes of death Jesus spoke the truth. He wasn’t out to impress anyone but his heavenly Father so every word he spoke erupted from the catapolt of authenticity. Jesus was and is the ultimate real deal, the gold standard of authenticity.
I’m so thankful that we serve an authentic God. We don’t have to ever wonder if he’s telling us the truth or trying to impress us. Jesus always shoots straight with us.
After my encounter with a famous rude Christian (see previous post) it sure was a breath of fresh air to meet a famous humble one like Doug. In the words of another ministry hero of mine, “May his tribe increase!”