Last night I finished reading Andy Stanley’s latest book, Deep & Wide. It was written to tell the story of North Point Ministries, how they started and why they do what they do. While Stanley doesn’t insist that the way they do it is the best way or the way everyone should do it, he does explain their philosophy, core values and how they evaluate what they do. He also makes a point to explain how they continually look at what they are doing so they don’t stray from their intended purpose.
What I heard most about Deep & Wide when it was first released was the opening chapters where Andy Stanley reveals some of his personal life, including his parents’ divorce, and how his life experiences lead to the start of North Point. It was a pretty transparent telling of events and more than most pastors would reveal. If you have been through a divorce or are close to those who have, you are familiar with the pain and lasting impact it has on those involved. Stanley’s sharing of his story illustrates that God can redeem even the most difficult circumstances.
Deep & Wide shares a lot of good insight for those who work in the church, whether in a leadership role or serving in a specific ministry. Stanley offers some challenging thoughts and intentionally creates discomfort for the reader in some of what he writes. He shares some of the things they have learned at North Point in regards to creating a welcoming environment, communicating to both church and non-churched (or de-churched) people, leading a church through change and the importance of leadership.
Stanley is a good communicator and has some good statements in the book. Here are a couple I highlighted:
“The most ineffective way to begin a conversation about change is to talk about what needs to change. You should never begin a conversation about change by addressing where you are now. You should always begin with where you want to be.”
“Knowledge alone makes Christians haughty. Application makes us holy.”
“We ask of every environment: Was the presentation engaging? Not, was it true? Churches aren’t empty because preachers are lying.”
Deep & Wide is a good read and a good resource for those involved in the local church. Andy Stanley’s passion comes through in what he writes and he offers some good insight, questions and suggestions for church leaders to consider and then implement in their setting.