Friday, January 11, 2013

Deep & Wide by Andy Stanley

This book is for anyone who wants to gain a strong vision of how to create a church that unchurched people love to attend.  The church I attend was created for this purpose.  Since I am lay leadership I wanted some fresh inspiration, and I wasn't disappointed!  I had some hesitation that the text may get dry and boring while talking about church models and such, but Andy Stanley did an amazing job writing in a way that was engaging for all audiences.  I highly recommend this book for anyone (especially those in church leadership) who has a passion to reach those who are far from God.

The book starts out giving some background about the author and how he began North Point Ministries in Atlanta.  He next presents the biblical justification for their approach to church.  The third section gives the "why" behind what they do.  Their spiritual formation model is designed around growing people's faith, and the author presents 5 faith catalysts the ministry focuses on to build spiritual maturity.  The next section illustrates the "how".  How can you make your church environment and message welcoming to the unchurched without watering down the truth?  The final section gives some pointers on how to transition the local church to be open to change, which begins with a "God-honoring, mouthwatering, unambiguously clear vision."

Speaking as a former skeptic and a more recent member of a church plant - this material is right on target!  Andy Stanley is a vision caster.  One word of warning...this book could cause you to feel some discontent with your local church if it is not prepared for this mission.  You may no longer be satisfied by the way you have experienced "church".  North Point's model is certainly not the only way to do things, but it will at the very least get you evaluating why your church functions the way it does and if your model is being effective in reaching its goals.

While I have things underlined all throughout the book, there was one quote in the intro that really stuck out to me.  "As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else's cup.  Our responsibility is to empty ours."  Thanks for emptying your cup, Pastor Andy!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.

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