I recently finished Andy Stanley’s Deep & Wide, which came out in September of last year (2012). Deep & Wide is honest and direct: Andy Stanley wants to change the way you do church. Part auto-biography, part philosophy of ministry, Stanley unpacks the what, why, and how (“the secret sauce”) behind North Point Community Church’s approach to making disciples. This is an opportunity to look behind the curtains at one of America’s most impactful churches.
Some people love everything Andy Stanley does. Others are less impressed (to put it kindly). But here’s the take away: Whatever your gut-level response to Andy Stanley, every church leader in America needs to read this book. I don’t say that because I subscribe to every idea and approach that Stanley describes. Because I don’t. However, Deep & Wide starts a conversation that we so desperately need: “What are we doing to reach the lost?” If you’re in church leadership, I hope and pray that this question keeps you up at night. And Stanley’s book, even if you don’t like all of his answers, will begin a conversation that helps you become more intentional about your approach to reaching the lost – whether or not your approach looks anything like North Point’s.
To further whet your appetite, here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else’s cup. Our responsibility is to empty ours. (11)
Jesus taught for a response. He taught for life change. He didn’t come to simply dispense information. We rarely find him chastising people for their lack of knowledge. It was almost always their lack of faith evidenced by a lack of application. (112)
Truth without handles is static. Truth with next steps grows people’s faith. (116)
Knowledge alone makes Christians haughty. Application makes us holy. (184)
As in all things, purpose should determine approach. (193)
The gravitational pull of every church is towards insiders. (214)
When people are convinced you want something FOR them rather than something FROM them, they are less likely to be offended when you challenge them. (235)
The resistance to change experienced by leaders in every discipline may be summarized by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner when they write: “Any system will unconsciously conspire to maintain the status quo and prevent change.” (267)
The catalyst for introducing and facilitating change in the local church is a God-honoring, mouthwatering, unambiguously clear vision. (270)
There is an inexorable link between an organization’s vision and its appetite for improvement. (274)
Marry your mission. Date your model. Fall in love with your vision. Stay mildly infatuated with your approach. (284)
Once church leaders are able to see each program in your church as an answer to a specific ‘what’s the best way’ question, it will be easier for them to loosen their grip on the way things have always been done. (290)
Seven Questions: (1) Do we have a transferable vision or mission statement? (2) What have we fallen in love with that’s not as effective as it used to be? (3) Where are we manufacturing energy? (4) If we all got kicked off the staff/board and an outside group (a group of leaders who were fearlessly committed to the mission of this church) took our place, what changes would they make? (5) What do we measure? (6) What do we celebrate? (7) If our church suddenly ceased to exist, would our community miss us? (302)