In early September last year I was invited by John Groves to come to his house along with a bunch of other young guys from the Church.
The aim of the meeting was to pray and to listen to John’s heart for the young men in the Church, and to form a sort of discipleship group. Towards the end of this meeting we were challenged to read a book, No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke.
I completed the book within the deadline and found it encouraging, shocking, and provoking all at the same time. It was encouraging because we can read how the gospel still radically transforms lives. It was shocking because of the situations people found themselves in before knowing Christ, and because of the types of conversations the pastors had to deal with. It was provoking because it challenged how we might respond to new Christians that are doing things we disagree with.
No Perfect People Allowed was written to encourage and challenge Christians to create a “come as you are” culture in the Church. The Bible says that Jesus wants us to be real with Him; we can come to Him with all our personal mess and He accepts us just as we are (though God begins to change things in our heart.) As people come into Church looking for God, it’s important they feel accepted. We need to treat people like Jesus treats us.
A question I’ve been struggling with for a while, and maybe you have too is “what if your friends never want to come to Church?” To my knowledge, none of mine want to come to any of our meetings. “No Perfect People Allowed” has encouraged me to find ways to demonstrate the Gospel in normal life, perhaps without the safety net of Church meetings.
My hope is that we can find ways of including and empowering people to seek God in as many different ways as possible, without them feeling like they have to deny who they are in order to not offend religious people. God accepts us as we are and so we should do the same to others. We have the privilege to allow the Holy Spirit to change us, and we can have faith that He will work in the lives of those who don’t yet know Him too.
by Tim Vaine