Andy Stanley is fed up. He is fed up with churches that are more interested in protecting the way “we have always done it.” He is fed up with churches that invest millions of dollars into programs and ministries that are driving a generation away from Jesus. He is fed up with churches that are so “deep” that they are irrelevant to people who are far from God. He is fed up with churches that are so “wide” that they are ineffective in producing disciples.
Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend is Andy’s challenge to the church and church leaders to re-think the way we do church. In this book, he pulls back the curtain to reveal the secrets that North Point Church has discovered—showing how they created a church that un-churched people love to attend. Andy states that his goal in this book is not to convince everyone that they need to do church the way North Point does church. He wants to challenge church leaders to reach people that no one else is reaching … and then have the courage to make the changes to actually go reach those people.
As you can probably guess from the title of the book, the focus is twofold; creating churches whose impact is deep and creating churches whose reach is wide. In the Deep section of the book, Andy reveals the spiritual formation model that drives spiritual growth at North Point. Andy unpacks the five faith catalysts (practical teaching, private disciplines, personal ministry, providential relationships, and pivotal circumstances) that North Point focuses on to make attenders more like Jesus.
In the Wide section of the book, Andy discusses the three questions that North Point asks that help create irresistible environments—from their nursery all the way through to their weekend worship service. These three questions are relevant and challenging to every church leader, regardless of style, denomination, or philosophy.
Finally, the book concludes by discussing what it takes to not just dream about doing church differently but taking the steps to initiate change. Change is inevitable. No model, idea, ministry, or program will last forever. Andy writes, “Your best idea … will eventually go the way of hand bells and bus ministries.” But just because change is inevitable doesn’t mean that people will embrace it. No one ever likes change—which is why it is often met with resistance. Andy challenges the reader to make a choice: running out the clock on the model that was handed down from the previous generation or taking risks to do things that have never been done before, in order to change our world for Christ.
For those of us who have invested our lives in the idea that the local church can and must transform our community, this book is a must read … followed by a re-read. This book will challenge every church leader to evaluate whether the time and energy they invest for the Kingdom is being invested in the best possible way.