Book Review: Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley

I love Andy Stanley's work. I've enjoyed his books: Visioneering,Communicating for a Change,Seven Practices of Effective Ministry,and Next Generation Leader.When I heard that he had a new book out, my ears perked up.

Deep & Wideworks on so many levels. Andy's insights into why he and his church do what they do will get you thinking and rethinking why your ministry does what it does. On top of that, scattered throughout the text are wonderful asides that make this book more than a book about ministry strategy.

Some highlights to look for ...

Andy tells the story of the start of Northpoint in a way that both introduces his core values and shifts him out of the role of expert. Andy doesn't claim to be the model everyone should follow. He isn't claiming to be the Master Planter. And this made it so much easier for me to listen to him. The story about Andy's relationship with his father fits beautifully here.

In Sections Three, Four and Five, Andy really gets into the weeds.

In Section Three, he shares Northpoint's model of spiritual formation. He writes about what he calls 5 Faith Catalysts:
  1. Practical Teaching
  2. Private Disciplines
  3. Personal Ministry
  4. Providential Relationships
  5. Pivotal Circumstances
This model resonated so deeply with my experience in campus ministry. When I've seen students experience sustained growth in their faith, these five catalysts have always been present. Despite the alliteration, I have to admit I loved this insight. This model would be useful no matter how large or intentionally small your ministry is.

In Section Four, Andy gets into the work he and his team have done to create environments that unchurched people love. He believes that people hear a dozen sermons before the sermon even starts, from the signage to the parking to the entry to the greeters ... all of these communicate. Some environments communicate "We've been expecting you and we're glad you're here." Others communicate "Run!!!" Andy provides practical guidance to design helpful systems, from the overall Sunday morning experience down to the structure of sermons.

In Section Five, Andy deals with the reality that your ministry will require leadership if it's going to become and remain deep and wide. He talks about creating change cultures and challenges people in positional leadership to consider whether or not they are the right ones to lead the change (counting the cost, so to speak).

I would heartily recommend this book. It's a "best of" book, sharing the best ideas in many of Andy's earlier books in a way that's very focused, very clear and very fun to read.

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