No Perfect People Allowed

If you want to reach people no one else is reaching, step one might be building a “come as you are” culture that accepts, loves and includes people who are different.  In No Perfect People Allowed, John Burke describes how this culture emerged at Gateway Church in Austin, TX.

Against the backdrop of the planting and early days of Gateway, Burke carefully articulates “five main sociological struggles Christian leaders now face to reach emerging generations; struggles with Trust, Tolerance, Truth, Brokenness, and Aloneness (p. 33).”  Where some books on the Postmodern Experiment are largely sociological theory, No Perfect People Allowed is equal part story and application.  Although he’s “changed some names and details where necessary to protect the privacy of [his] friends at Gateway,” there is the steady sense that the situations and conversations Burke recounts are the real deal; gritty and fully authentic.

Beginning with part one’s very readable overview of the five sociological struggles, No Perfect People Allowed tackles each struggle with a kind of prescription for the development of a culture that allows for inclusion; for a “come as you are” culture.  For example, in discussing the postmodern struggle with trust (as a result of failed families and disappearing dads, latchkey kids as a result of single parent families or instances where both parents worked outside the home, as well as the impact of abuse), Burke makes the case for creating a culture of dialogue and authenticity.

I should point out that each prescription for developing a culture that counters the postmodern tendency is more than an overview.  Every chapter concludes with a set of study questions and can be used for self-study or in a small group.

If you want to reach beyond the usual suspects, to develop the ability to reach people no one else is reaching, No Perfect People Allowed is required reading.  If you haven’t picked this one up…you’re really not prepared for the challenge ahead.

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Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.