If you only read one book this year, hands down it’s got to be Andy Stanley’s newest, Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend.
My copy is marked up, underlined, starred, and dog-eared. I laughed out loud (Seriously. And I was on a plane!). I got choked up several times. There’s a lot to really love about Deep and Wide.
Let me be quick to say that you don’t have to be in a church that resonates with Andy Stanley and North Point’s vision. You really don’t. The book is written in a way that invites you to take a look under the hood and see the thinking behind why they do what they do. Even better, there are many spots where Stanley references the internal conversation you might be having as you wrestle with their thinking! So good.
Deep and Wide is written in an extremely conversational style. It really does have the feel that you’re in a conversation or you’re listening to the story of North Point from before the very beginning and why they do what they do. Just when you’d expect it to happen–if you were really sitting at a table listening to the story–Andy makes the comment you’re already thinking!
Very, very practical, you’ll find lots of ways to apply the principles of Deep and Wide no matter your specific ministry role. You don’t have to be the senior pastor to end up with a marked up, starred, underlined and dog-eared copy. I found so much here that will work its way into discussions with my team, I don’t even know where to begin!
At the same time both propositional (doesn’t this make sense?) and permission-giving (we’re not saying this is the only way to do church, it’s just the way we’ve learned to do it), I know you’ll come across lots of sections you’ll just have to share with the rest of your staff.
I loved this quote from the introduction on the title:
I’m sure that somewhere in the world there is an actual “fountain flowing deep and wide.” But that has nothing to do with why I chose the title. By the time you finish the book, I hope you will be as convinced as I am that healthy local churches can be, and should be, both deep and wide. It’s not either/or. It’s both/and. Local churches should be characterized by deep roots and wide reaches (p. 18).
The thinking revealed and detailed in these pages about their plan for spiritual formation, for the way their services are designed, for the way they’ve built their small group ministry, and the way they’ve prioritized the five faith catalysts…well, it’s way more than a great read. I think you’ll come away from it just like me. Thinking about the conversations and team meetings that will be influenced by Deep and Wide. I really loved this book and I think you will too!