Book Review: Misfits Welcome by Matthew Barnett

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Authored by the founder of the care-giving, hope-inspiring Dream Centers, this book is a source of encouragement to anyone who ever felt they’re simply too marginal to make a central difference.

The son of a line of pastors, Matthew initially felt the pressure to really make it out there when he went to Los Angeles (USA). However, soon enough he realised that God was interested in his availability rather than any attempt to accomplish perfection.

The author gets real about the way one’s calling often unfolds as life goes on in steps of obedience. ‘We are often put in places where we know we are called to do something but really don’t know how it’s going to be done.’

His approach radically challenges anyone’s ‘prevent lifestyle’, speaking out against fears of failure and danger that prohibit the church to serve those who most need grace.

‘Don’t overanalyse kindness … you start seeing people who can be helped from your willingness to think outside of comfort and ease.’

The effect of the ‘twenty four hour non-stop outreach’ movement that he has helped to establish one city has now spread across the states and in nations beyond to more than 100 centers.

Matthew ia a passionate advocate of allowing God to work through you with what you have – even if it’s only brokenness. ‘Brokenness is the greatest gift we can give God. It’s a gift that God can work with ; it’s a gift that moves His heart,’ he writes.

The book includes some heart-breaking and miraculous stories of people whose lives have been changed because of the discipleship programme.

‘They couldn’t believe someone would love them, believe in them, and give them such a great title … [as] street deacon,’ the author relates his experience upon an account of ‘gifting’ one of their disciples with a role and responsibility within their church community.

Accounts from the experiences gained on the streets and the expansion of the ministry is however devoid of exalting human work. Instead, he shares Holy Spirit-led revelation he received, making it clear that it is an honour to serve those who have started to believe that they are invisible.

“Messed up people helping messed up people really messes up the devil”, – so he summarises kingdom servanthood.

He believes we are all called to serve in our own way. “I am totally unqualified for every single assignment of my life and that’s what makes life so exciting.’

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