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Do You See the Mud or the Masterpiece?
by Tom Goodman
March 15, 2013

To the Christians who complain that they're just "not being fed" at their church, John Burke suggests they look to the food that nourished Jesus.  When his disciples pressed him to eat the lunch they had brought for their Master, Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34).  He said this in the context of his outreach to a lost Samaritan woman.

Burke's latest book is designed to help believers enjoy this kind of food.  It's called Mud and the Masterpiece.  The title comes from an illustration in John's first book, No Perfect People Allowed.  Suppose you discovered a Rembrandt masterpiece in an alleyway -- discarded, neglected, stained.  Would you focus on the mud or on the masterpiece?  And wouldn't you make it your ambition in life to get that masterpiece to a skillful art restoration specialist?

This edition of LeaderLines isn't a pitch to get you to buy Burke's new book (though I hope I'm doing a pretty good job of that).  Rather, it's a pitch for you to take an hour to watch Ed Stetzer interview John on "The Exchange."  I'll supply the link in a moment.

John is a national author and speaker, but he's a local Austin pastor.  He founded Gateway Church several years ago.

Now, Gateway and Hillcrest have different programming but the same agenda.

Our programming is different, in part, because Hillcrest is committed to building a multi-generational culture.  I like being able to celebrate a baby dedication and recognize a 65th wedding anniversary all in the same service.  I like being able to assemble younger men with older men into monthly men's breakfast groups -- and thus get to sit in one group as astonished younger men listened to a man in his 90s talk about watching Marines raise the flag on Iwo Jima.  It's not easy to create a multi-generational church, but it's worth it.

As to programming, then, Hillcrest and Gateway are very different.  Our agenda, though, is exactly the same.  We want both churches to be places where Austin can find and follow Jesus together.  And that's why an hour watching this week's episode of "The Exchange" is worth your while as a Hillcrest leader.

How will this help you lead Hillcrest?  Well, Gateway started out as a church consciously, deliberately focused on engaging those far from God in Austin.  As Gateway has grown, though, Burke admits that he's drawn in a lot of believers that need some training if they're going to stay the kind of church he started.  In other words, Gateway is now at a point a lot of "established" churches are at.  And so he's now in a good position to write a book for churches filled with long-time believers who need help in engaging with the lost masterpieces all around us.

So, get a cup of coffee, carve out an hour, and watch the following.  It's not about a new product to buy, but it's about a new mind-set to hold.  Click here to watch.


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