Recommended Reading: Deep & Wide by Andy Stanley

After reading Andy Stanley’s latest book, Deep & Wide, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you. This book is written specifically for church leaders (the subtitle is “Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend”) and includes principles here that any church, regardless of denomination or size, could leverage.

#1: Writing style

The overall “voice” and style of the book feels like a conversation you’re having with the author. There are a few sections that could be pretty uncomfortable and these are handled with directness yet well seasoned with humor and grace.

#2: Capture their hearts

The book reveals how North Point Ministries operates – it’s a glimpse into the reasoning behind why they do what they do. Of course, being a church, part of the approach involves volunteers. This quote is one I’d recommend mulling over before you do the next big recruiting campaign for more volunteers. “If you capture someone’s heart, you will eventually get his hands and feet as well.” How can you capture their hearts? What do people need to see or hear that will convince them to get involved?

#3: Create irresistible environments

Another aspect of the behind-the-scenes tour includes why it’s important to create irresistible environments. This includes the entire church property from the parking lot to the children’s classrooms to the main service area. Part of creating irresistible environments includes defining what excellence looks like for your staff and volunteers so they can work with you to hit that mark every time. Another element is organization. These quotes really stood out to me: “Organized communicates that you take what you do seriously. Organized says: We are doing something important here.” “If your church is disorganized in the places they can see, they will assume it is even worse behind the scenes.”

#4: Pursue continuous improvement

Chapter 12, “Coming to Blows with the Status Quo,” includes a discussion on continuous improvement and why its important to not become so enamored with how you do things that you neglect why you’re there in the first place. “There is an inexorable link between an organization’s vision and its appetite for improvement.” We must constantly be looking for ways to improve that will support the vision. We can’t allow ourselves to become too comfortable with the current approach or process. We have to continually adapt and improve to be successful.

#5: Lead the way

Since the leader has the responsibility to drive towards the vision, the last part of the book includes a challenge to the reader to consider his/her leadership potential and provides some great questions to ask in your next leadership team meeting.

 

This book is a challenge to reconsider methods and examine whether you’re creating a church that people who haven’t grown up around faith (or were frustrated by it) would be attracted to attend. You may want to toss the book at some point. You may be both inspired and uncomfortable with what you read. Read it anyway. You may not agree with every concept but I think it’s worth your time regardless. Actually, I’d recommend reading the conclusion first. You’ll know why when you do.

There’s way too much great material in this book for me to cover in a short blog post, so I’m not really doing it justice here. However, I hope that I’ve given you just enough information to entice you to add this to your reading list. Enjoy!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This mean if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend items I use personally and believe will benefit my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”