I haven’t read a Christian book that is so honest and discomforting; a book that will unveil hidden ideas; a book that will definitely hurt feelings and convict beliefs; a book that will start out murmurs to minds; a book that initiates new thoughts on change- until a book entitled Deep and Wide written by Andy Stanley was introduced to our church.
About the Author
Andy Stanley is the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. (NPM). Each Sunday morning, more than 33,000 people attend one of NPM’s seven Atlanta area churches… Over one million of Andy’s messages are accessed from North Point websites monthly, including both leadership and sermon content. Andy and his wife, Sandra, live in Alpharetta, Georgia and have three children. (http://andystanley.com/about/)
North Point Ministries, Inc., was founded in 1995 with the vision of creating churches that un-churched people love to attend. Since its inception, NPM has grown from one church to five in metro-Atlanta and has developed a global network of more than thirty strategic partner churches. (http://northpointministries.org/)
Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend
I will not make a book review here or a commentary. I’ll just share how this book has touched my heart. To top all of it, I listed all my favorite lines I got from the book.
“Write your vision in ink; everything else should be penciled in. Plans change. Vision remains the same. It is natural to assume that what worked in the past will always work. But, of course, that way of thinking is lethal. And the longer it goes unchallenged, the more difficult it is to identify and eradicate. Every innovation has an expiration date. The primary reason churches cling to outdated models and programs is that they lack leadership.”
“As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else’s cup. Our responsibility is to empty ours.”
“As a leader it is your job to protect the missional integrity of the Jesus gathering to which you have been called. It is your responsibility to see to it that the church under your care continues as a gathering of people in process; a place where the curious,the unconvinced, the sceptical, the used-to-believe and the broken, as well as the committed, informed and sold-out come together around Peter’s declaration that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
“Marry your mission. Date your model. Fall in love with your vision. Stay mildly infatuated with your approach.”
“Don’t fall in love with a tactic and defend it forever. Instead, decide once and for all if you’re in a market or not.- Seth Godin”
I couldn’t agree more on things Andy discussed. I’m now into his vision and passion. I love how he sincerely pointed out the significance of change and the role of leaders and church members to successfully execute their vision and mission. Leadership is vital. Once a leader refuse to accept change; acceleration, growth and moving towards a new chapter will be very challenging or worst, all of these will stop and the church will just be a place full of attendees and “Sunday Christians”.
And yes, the church is not just for those who believe Jesus but it is for the unchurched people as well. There are a lot of unchurched people whom we have to extend the unfailing love of everlasting King.
Amongst the lines above, here is the most unforgettable statement that really captured me.
“You want to see change? Ask God to start with you. Ask him to burden you with something worth risking your career for. And no, that’s not hyperbole. That’s the nature of a God-ordained vision. It’s not simply something that could be. It’s something you are convinced must be. When that’s clear, and when you think you’re ready to begin talking about it in terms people can understand and get behind, then and only then are you ready to start talking about what needs to change.”
Change is up to our own choices. Change is sacrifice. Change is a risk. But change is what we need to understand what God has laid for us. Let us love change and read this powerful book.