Where do you feel safest dropping your mask and being who you really are, warts and all? If you’re like most people, church is not the first place that came to mind. But when you really think about it, shouldn’t it be? Church is designed to be a place people from all different walks of life come together, openly recognizing our imperfections and our need for help. Coming into church pretending to have it all together rather defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? So why do we so often treat church like a place we need to put on our best face before entering?
If you want to delve deeper into living out our relationships in a spirit of honestly, authenticity and depth—both within the church and outside of it– check out the Authentic Relationships discipleship guide. You can work through it alone, in a discipling relationship, or in a small group setting. But it’s designed to help you try to engage in relationships in a new, more deeply authentic way… a way that can help all of us find the community we’re looking for.

The five-week study guide takes you through these areas:

  • Showing respect for all people
  • Forgiving others and asking forgiveness
  • Confronting others with humility as necessary
  • Praying with and for others
  • Supporting each other honestly through life challenges

Each section includes thoughts on the topic, relevant scripture passages, practical ideas and exercises, coaching questions, and application. No homework required except living out the concepts.

Check out these sample sections:

God requires that we look honestly at ourselves and at where we fall short. For a faith that places such emphasis on repentance, this should not be so difficult for Christians, but it invariably is. We will sometimes go to great lengths to avoid looking ourselves in the mirror.

For that reason we need one another. Confronting others is not an enviable job, as any prophet can attest. But it is a necessary one. Sometimes God uses other believers to point out where we are failing and how we need to change. For this reason, we need to be willing to confront one another honestly when it is necessary, even if it means we risk others being angry with us.
At the same time we need to act and speak from a place of humility. We are no better than others, even when we need to point out a fault. Let us avoid the trap of the Pharisees.

  • 2 Samuel 12:1-13
  • Galatians 2:11-14

Discipleship questions:gold-street-reflection

  • When have you seen God in someone else? What has that looked like?
  • Where do you see the image of God in those who do not yet follow Jesus?
  • How can you more intentionally seek to see the image of God in people?
  • Who do you know right now who needs to believe that the image of God resides in them?
  • What are ways you show respect? What are ways you indicate it when you do not respect people?
  • Under what circumstances do you feel you must agree with a person in order to accept them?
  • When have you felt unaccepted, like you don’t belong?

Exercise: Forgiveness inventory

Write down wrongs you’ve done and wrongs that have been done to you on scraps of paper. Then, one by one, throw those scraps of paper into a bonfire.

If you are looking for ways to engage in deeper, more authentic, more honest relationships, this guide is designed to help you do that. Taken across a whole church, it has the power to transform the relational fabric of the congregation for the better.

Click here for the 20-page downloadable Authentic Relationships discipleship guide.

Click here to browse the selection of the rest of the discipleship guides.