Book Review: Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley

Deep and WideAndy Stanley’s Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend  is part memoir and part instruction manual on how to create churches for those outside the church. Deep and Wide is divided into five sections, “My Story” is Stanley’s personal background, “Our Story,” is the story of the planting of North Point Community Church in 1995, “Going Deep,” covers North Points’ spiritual formation technique “Going Wide,” is about how North Point structures its programming for outreaching and “Becoming Deep and Wide,” is about helping churches to transition to the type of church Stanley advocates. My thoughts on what Deep and Wide gets right and what it gets wrong are detailed below.

What Deep and Wide gets right:

Transparency

In section One, “My Story,” Andy Stanley shares his experience as a kid with a famous preacher for a father (Charles Stanley, for those who don’t know), his time as a youth pastor working for Charles Stanley, his father’s divorce and all the strife it caused between Andy and Charles as well as Charles and his church. Recounting a story about Charles coming over for dinner Andy writes,

By the time the night was over, we were standing in my driveway yelling at each other like a couple of middle-school girls. Meanwhile, we were getting up every Sunday in front of our respective congregations acting like everything was fine (p. 40).

Given that Andy Stanley and his father Charles Stanley are both famous preachers, the transparency in these stories is to be commended. Stanley begins his book by telling how God has used the broken situations of his life to lead him to where he is now and he doesn’t attempt to whitewash his past. He tells a story about being convicted during his morning prayer of a prank he played years earlier that he never confessed to for fear he would go to jail and talks about the anger he felt as a teenager towards people who didn’t respect his father. The first few chapters make it clear, this book isn’t written by a saint, and he wants you to know that.

Expertise

Andy Stanley is, without a doubt, a masterful organizational leader. Deep and Wide’s greatest strength is the information Stanley shares on how North Point is organized. Chapter 9, “Creating Irresistible Environments,” is a particular highlight. Stanley points out that every single aspect of any organization, from the appearance of the parking lot to the quality of the presentation, communicates a message to outsiders. He asks, “Fair? No. True? Absolutely.” Stanley provides some helpful advice on creating this message and avoiding the inattentiveness familiarity brings. Everything we do or say communicates more than we intend for it to and it would be wise to learn to manage that communication.

Section five, “Becoming Deep and Wide,” also gives practical wisdom. Here Deep and Wide gives some pointers on managing change in a congregation. Anyone familiar with Stanley’s work won’t be surprised to find that the focus here is on developing and communicating vision. “The catalyst for introducing and facilitating change in the local church is a God-honoring, mouthwatering, unambiguously clear vision (p. 270).” He gives good definitions of mission, model, vision, and approach and discusses the ways confusing these things with each other can cause problems in a congregation (i.e. making your model your mission instead of creating your model from your mission). This is, in my opinion, the most useful section of Deep and Wide.

History

In Deep and Wide Andy Stanley gives one of the clearest and most concise histories of the word “church” I have ever read. Beginning with the New Testament, Stanley defines ekklesia (which means something like “called ones”) and then recounts the path of Christianity after the conversion of Constantine, the rise of Basilicas, the use of the Germanic word kirche (which is a holy place), and its confounding permanence in our translations as the word church. Here Stanley writes my favorite words in his whole book:

What began as a movement, dedicated to carrying the truth of Jesus Christ to every corner of the world, had become an insider-focused, hierarchical, ritualized institution that bore little resemblance to its origins (p. 63).

Stanley wrote that about the Church pre-reformation, but we should ask ourselves if we have done this in our own congregations.

What Deep and Wide gets wrong:

Theology

In section two, Deep and Wide gives the “Biblical justification for [North Point’s] approach to church (p. 16).” Within a page Stanley begins a false foundation that will taint his whole approach. He writes:

In the beginning, the church was a gloriously messy movement with a laser-focused message and a global misison. It was led by men and women who were fuled not by what they believed, but by what they had seen. that simple fact sets the church apart from every other religious movement in the history of the world. After all, it wasn’t the teaching of Jesus that sent his followers to the streets. It was his resurrection. The men and women who made up the nucleus of the church weren’t simply believers in an abstract philosophy or even faithful followers of a great leader; they were eyewitness of an event (p. 51-2, bold emphasis added)

There are two problems with Stanley’s interpretation of why the church preached. One is the great commission. They did preach because Jesus had taught them to. Jesus taught them another thing. In Acts 1:4 Jesus tells them to wait until the Holy Spirit comes to do anything. So they returned to the upper room where they were staying and prayed and waited. And in Acts 2 the Holy Spirit comes and Peter preaches and 3,000 people are baptized.

So, according to Acts, what sends the church out preaching? Commissioning from the Holy Spirit.

Deep and Wide completely misses this. In his whole discussion of the Church he only mentions the Holy Spirit while anticipating objections (saying things like “I know what you’re thinking, ‘Doesn’t having a service template limit the Holy Spirit?’” and answering with “You already have an unspoken template, I’m just saying make it purposeful.”) and in the epilogue. For Stanley, the Holy Spirit is an afterthought. This is telling. It changes the Church from an entity empowered by a Divine commission to a group of strategic reporters. When the early Church is believed to be based on what it saw in the resurrection then the current church can be based on what it sees. What can we see besides what works and what doesn’t work (and with almost 30,000 members what North Point does works)? This is a sly way to make utilitarianism the foundation of ministry instead of the work of the Spirit. The importance of this error can not be overstated. While his leadership and vision skills can not be dismissed, they must be taken in light of his incorrect theology of ministry.

Church purpose

Stanley sets out to answer a question which he rightly claims the church has been asking throughout its history. “Who is the church for?”He even rightly answers, “The unchurched.” But he still misses the point.

Stanley is asking the question in the wrong way and so his correct answer gives him wrong information. The question of who the church is for is meant to ask who the church advocates for or who it exists for. Like asking a friend during the Superbowl, “Who are you for?” When he answers he is simply implying that he wants them to win, not that he only exists for them.

Stanley asks it as if it means “What kind of people use this service I am offering?” It is shocking that after such an excellent explanation of the history of the church he still manages to miss that the Church is believers throughout time and history with the mandate to serve the world. Unchurched people, by definition, can not be the church.

The church, as the body of Christ that exists throughout time and space, is for the unchurched, but the local expression of a meeting for worship is not. The unchurched are welcome and should be made to feel welcome in our worship, but in Stanley’s attempt to make the church for the unchurched he advocates not asking people to worship. He asks,

“As a Christian, if you were attending a weekend gathering at a mosque, and the person upfront invited everyone to worship, what would you think? I know what I would think: Uh-oh! Can I do this? Am I betraying my faith? Putting unbelievers or differeing kinds of believers in situations where they feel forced to worship is incredibly unfair. It’s offense. Its bait-and-switch. It’s insulting (p. 215).”

Of course, if I were in a mosque for a religious gathering and they asked me to worship I would think “What did I expect? I came to a mosque during a time of worship.”

Taking  the Deep and Wide approach, services are supposed to be as inoffensive as possible so that we can lull them into feeling comfortable so that the offensive nature of Jesus message and existence (Luke 7:23) can slip through their barriers. He plainly says as much when he writes “As a preacher, it’s my responsibility to offend people with the gospel. That’s one reason we work so hard not to offend them in the parking lot, the hallway, at check-in, or in the early portions of our service.” Do you know what this is called? Bait and switch.

It is impossible for the church to operate in a way that makes reaching the unchurched the primary purpose of its gatherings without leading to a bait and switch. For all of Andy Stanley’s attempts to make people feel welcome, uninsulted, and untricked, he plays the most insulting trick of all.

North Point Community Church
North Point Community Church

Ultimately, the problem with the Deep and Wide approach is that it isn’t new. It is trying to create churches that transcend what most people think about church, but over the last 20 years the seeker sensitive mega church has become so standard it is the new stereotype. Look at the above picture. Does that look like anything besides a church? Meanwhile, 1 in 5 people who leave the church say its because they didn’t have any real experience of God (this was certainly my experience). Because of that the last decade has seen the decline of churches that downplay the religious jargon and the rise of churches that embrace it (Mars Hill, The Village, Mars Hill Bible, Bethlehem Baptist). The seeker sensitive movement put seekers above the One being sought. But when Christ is lifted up people come (John 12:32) and they stay.

Arrogance

In the same way Deep and Wide spot on history of the ekklesia and the kirche didn’t keep Stanley from missing the point of all of it, the transparency in early chapters didn’t keep him from sounding arrogant and off putting. Some examples:

on Pastors who don’t prioritize practical application over theology in their sermons :

“ . . . at the end of the day, you won’t make an iota of difference in this world. And your kids . . . more than likely your kids, are going to confuse your church with the church, and once they are out of your house, they probably won’t visit the church house. Then one day they will show up in a church like mine and want to get baptized again because they won’t be sure the first one took. And I’ll be happy to pastor your kids (p. 115).”

on Pastors who don’t preach for the unchurched:

You may have no desire to tweak your communication style so as to be more appealing to the unchurch and biblically illiterate in your community. That’s okay. There are a whole bunch of us out here committed to doing exactly that. And eventually we we will get around to planting a church in your community. And if you are like most church leaders, you’ll have a bad attitude. And we won’t care (p. 258).

to his children’s future Pastor:

“Please don’t steal their passion for the church because you are too lazy to learn. Too complacent to try something new. Too scared of the people who sign your paycheck.”

The thing that bothers me about this kind of arrogance is that it is dismissive of his critics. It isn’t an honest appeal to reach the unchurched, it is mocking those who disagree with him and don’t have churches of 30,000 people. Their theological objections should take a back seat to his utilitarian success.

Read Deep and Wide if:

Those who have a strong theological foundation and want some insight on leadership and organization would benefit a great deal from looking inside the mind of Andy Stanley. I plan on sharing the last section, entitled “Becoming Deep and Wide,” with leaders in my own church since it so clearly and concisely explains how to execute a change in your church based on vision, a topic on which Andy Stanley is an expert.

Don’t read Deep and Wide if:

Those who are strong organizational leaders but not strong theologically should avoid Deep and Wide. Since Deep and Wide misses so much theologically, I can’t recommend it as a book to help develop a theology of ministry.

 

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. You can purchase Deep and Wide here.

  • Thanks for the review, Wil. I’m unlikely to read anything by Stanley (unless his publisher starts sending me books), and I think your criticism here reinforces my feeling. One issue that I have with the seeker-sensitive mega-church model (whether it be emanating from Willow Creek or North Point) is that they seem to have this “we’re doing it the RIGHT way” attitude. This is summed up in your “Arrogance” section above. This discounts, of course, the whole notion that the Church is meant to be full of diverse members (cf. the Apostle Paul). To my mind, this also means that there are many and varied ways of doing worship. Last night I went to a service here in Boston that describes itself as “R&B rhythms mixed with monastic chant.” There were only about 30 people there. Is this group doing it wrong? What would Stanley say about this? Is there no room for this sort of thing in the Body of Christ? Must we all fit his mold? (To be fair, I suppose if you’re reading his book, then you’re probably interested in doing what he’s doing…) I used to volunteer for a church that was obsessed with growth and numbers; invariably the way that these groups seem to pump up numbers is by either (a) doing the bait-and-switch you describe above, or (b) watering down the Gospel. Let me be perfectly clear, however, I think there is a time and a place for that. I’ve had conversations with very earnest, well-informed Christians, who needed the feel-good message of Joel Osteen for a time in their lives. This wasn’t the right place for me to be serving. I had to leave. It was the right place for some people to be attending during that season of their lives…

    I’m also bothered by the desire on the part of some church leaders to forget about the Holy Spirit. Thanks for pointing this out.

    Lastly, your review points toward an issue in American evangelicalism that drives me absolutely nuts. Your description of Stanley’s pre-reformation understanding of the church points at a flaw that I think tends to go unaddressed amongst American evangelicals. This flaw has two parts to it — (a) Roman Catholicism is (somehow) not Christianity, and (b) the Reformation was awesome.

    While I’m thankful for the Reformers and their courage, I also cannot dismiss 1500 years of Catholic history as “all wrong.” I also cannot get on board with many of the new doctrines that come out of the Reformation (e.g., Sola Scriptura). Finally, I’m also not willing to say that Catholics are not Christians (as I’ve heard many of my friends say, though I realize Stanley may not have said it here).

    Thanks for the review.

  • Wil, thank you for the review. I occasionally consider buying leadership books from well-known church leaders to see whether I could learn things about improving how I see and serve in a church or simply get an idea of current trends. (There seems to be no shortage of them these days.) 

    Under the Expertise section you wrote, “Everything we do or say communicates more than we intend for it to and it would be wise to learn to manage that communication.” This is perhaps the most consistently telling aspect of not only this book but of so many leadership books that I ultimately avoid. That being the case, then, there seem to be two main options for this book. The first option is that Stanley would do well to re-read his own maxim of “Fair? No. True? Absolutely.” in regards to consistency, clarity, and “avoiding inattentive familiarity.” It would mean that there is still time for Stanley to redirect all of the places where this book is lacking, and that Stanley is, like most us, easily swooned by the power of rhetoric.

    The second option is that he is following his maxim. In other words, it would mean that he knows what he’s saying and that he is confident his utilitarian model and theological assertions somehow dialectically confirm one another, in his clear willingness to offend other Christians “for the sake of the gospel,” in his rhetorical use of false alternatives (teaching v. resurrection), and his avoidance of the importance of the Holy Spirit in the Church. It would mean that his work to define the history of the word “church” was not a real exercise in history — neither in Jesus’ own historical-eschatological context in and through Israel or those Spirit-led contexts that followed — but only for the illogical benefit of his point. No, this would be the far more disappointing option if true. 

  • Thanks for the cliff-notes review. I really liked what you wrote about church purpose. I think I had been dwelling on some of these issues in my heart without knowing how to put into words, or even into mind, what I was feeling about the church’s internal interactions with the unchurched, and this spoke to a lot of those feelings.

    My church, Redeemer’s Fellowship, adopts a lot of similar philosophies to Stanley, and we have used one of his books, 7 Practices, in our leadership development process. He has a lot of good tips for leadership development, and yes, some empty advice, and it all certainly depends on the applied environment. In my church’s own experience with being seeker-sensitive, I feel like we have been outstanding in our efforts to be a place that is accepting of and safe for the lost, the hurt, and the (church)-weary. My main caution as we live this out is that we might not sacrifice our identity as believers out of a sense of shame. I don’t want our worship to be filtered via the receptiveness of an outsider’s perspective. If we are to offend others with the preaching of the Gospel, I’m not sure why we wouldn’t intend to offend them with the genuine passion and with the sanctity of our worship.

    In everything, of course, the church must tread with a sense of balance. That said, I try not to let my concerns color too heavily my feelings of our imperfect expressions of the Bride of Christ at Redeemer’s, or for that matter at North Point or Argonia Friends, always keeping in mind that Jesus is patient and loving with his people, and I must be too. And, I think Jesus and I both appreciate a little constructive conversation, and the desire of imperfect followers to be more and more true in our devotion.

  • Kory, I think Stanley is, without a doubt, a brilliant mind in terms of management. The sections of Deep and Wide that deal exclusively with managing organizations are helpful for because it is not my strength.

    I appreciate what you say about sacrificing our identity out a sense of shame. I catch myself feeling that way often. The way you said it put into words what I have been trying to pin down in myself. Thanks for that.

    As far as our inability to get our expressions right, I agree. We need to know that there is grace even for our incorrect expressions. The more we depend on grace for that, I think, the more proper our expressions will become. Grace does not lead to abuse, but to righteousness.

  • I get the “we’re doing it the RIGHT way” attitude from churches of all shapes and sizes as well. I’ve seen smaller churches that pride themselves on being small because the “way is narrow.” These kind of places actively sabotage new comers to keep it the way they are. Not all large churches are bad (something I know you weren’t implying), but a lot of people take it as absolute evidence that the gospel is being distorted when a congregation is large.

    Thanks for pointing out the need for a variety of experiences at different times in peoples lives. Do you think it is possible for one congregation to meet its members at each of these stages? Or is it necessary for people to find a new place of worship as they change?

    I thought for a second that perhaps it was my over-emphasis that caused the reformation to sound the way it did, so I went back and looked at the book. He has a section called, “Reformers to the Rescue.” I agree that the reformation was necessary and that the reformers are to be admired. I also agree that the reformation wasn’t perfect and that the entire 1500 years of the church before were not completely wrong.

  • Stanley does say he surrounds himself with people who disagree with him because you can’t learn anything from people who think the same way you think.

    I get the impression, on the whole, that Andy Stanley is an earnest man trying his best to understand what it means to follow Christ and what it means to lead people as you follow Christ. I think he gets it wrong, but I also think I get it wrong. And I also think he wants to know when he gets it wrong.

  • Mike Spencer

    Dear Wil, I think your review is right on, and perhaps just a little too kind. It doesn’t take listening to too many Andy Stanley Sermons to realize that he isn’t offending people with the gospel either. I am not convinced that the ostensible success of mega-church pastors will withstand the scrutiny of time. Given Stanley’s “When Truthie Met Sally” sermon (fail) and his nonsensical and un-biblical assertion that we should stop referring to pastors as shepherds, we can expect Stanley (if he maintains his current trajectory) to become less and less concerned with good theology and doctrine. Personally, I am done with the purpose and seeker driven novelty. I do not see it producing mature Christians, but quite the opposite, shallow and stupid Christians who don’t know the gospel, and are relying on their mega-pastor to get the job done with some false-convert producing alter-call. Stanley accuses the church of the previous generation of creating an insider (we four and no more) environment, but he fails to understand that the gathering of ourselves together is for the health of the body primarily. Attractionalism is bait and switch, plain and simple, and it is, once again, counter to the message of Christ. We strengthen the body so that the body can do the work of evangelism outside the doors of the buildings we meet. The apparent humility of the Andy Stanleys of this malignant movement is eclipsed by their actual hubris.

  • James

    That is not a picture of North Point. Good try

  • James, it appears you are correct. It is the first image that pops up when you do a google search, and having never been there myself (but having been to megachurches) it didn’t seem wrong to me.

    I’ll update it with a different picture, thanks for the heads up.

  • Seeking Disciple

    Thank you for this post. Our small church was encouraged by the pastor to read this book. He is dead set on going down this road. For small groups he implemented us watching Andy Stanley sermons and his preaching style is now more in line with Stanley’s.

    He avoids theology as much as possible going so far as to warn me (when I was going to be teaching an adult Bible class for a month) to avoid theology and focus on application. I was teaching on the atonement of Christ but he wanted me to change and not teach on that. I assured him that we needed to study the atonement and while he agreed, he was clear that people don’t care about such things. They just want to know how they can overcome porn or be a better parent, etc. They are not interested in studying a theology topic such as the atonement. I was dumbfounded at his words.

    I am not sure at this point what to do. I enjoy the friends my family and I have made at the church. The pastor is a nice man and his wife is a wonderful soul. We love their family though I disagree with his leanings. I know he struggles as he looks down the street at a large seeker church that is stealing from smaller churches like ours each day. He is struggling to know how to attract people to our traditional church. Rather than resting in the sovereignty of God and being faithful to instruct the people of God (Eph. 4:11-16), he struggles with pragmatism.

    Thanks for this review. It helps much.

  • Cobus

    I am busy reading the book. Find it a blessing in many ways and yes there is a mistake or two. I studied theology and yes a person can concentrate on that and miss what Stanley actually try to communicate. The problem with theology is the different views depending on the school of theology. A Baptist or Anglican will not agree on all aspects of theology with a Pentacostal. That is a fact, even all studied theology and obtained a degree in theology. Even in my preaching I do not get it right, with good training in theology behind me! I admit, I do not get it right. In any book, teaching and preaching there will be meat and bones! Some will concentrate on the bone in the meat and others will spit the bone out! I ate in restaurants and I ordered chopps! I never told the waiter I will not pay for the chopp as there was a bone. I eat the meat and leave the bone. During one of my classes in theology our lector pointed out that it is good to have bone in the meat and at times it is good to suck on the bone. My experience is that all churches from Mega to small, denominations, homegroups etc have flaws, the one I am the pastor of do have flaws. We not Jesus Christ, He is the Way, the Truth and Life! What I love about the book, I can see Acts 1:8 working in Stanleys case. I also see that he is satisfied with the ordinary work of the Holy Spirit. In some churches people are only satisfied with the extrodanary works of the Holy Spirit. I also see the strong sense for him is that Christians must have unchurched friends. Let us face it, most Christians do not have unchurched friends. The reason why many churches are dying out! The pastors preach to Christians every Sunday! I will allow my church leaders to read the book as it is a good challenge. Not to become a North Point Church but to trust the Lord to lead us as a church to do what He called us to do!

  • Jim

    ‘Church exists for the unreached’. Really? Got a text for that? I’m open to suggestions but can’t think of one. The Great Commission is a function , perhaps the most important function, but that’s not the same things as why it exists.

  • Jim

    You seem to be be making the assumption that because people disagree on a topic there is not a correct perspective. The Bible is variously interpreted but that does not make all interpretations valid. The JWs are wrong. Gasp! The Mormons are wrong. How intolerant of me!

  • There is no Bible verse that says, “Church exists for the unchurched.”

    But the whole book of Acts seems to be a steady moving of the church to unchurched areas. The book about the foundation of the church certainly makes clear that they are working for the unchurched.

    It also is a logical conclusion from things like the great commission as well as the idea that we are the “body of Christ.” Christ commissions the apostles (and one can say, by extension, all Christians) to continue his work, which is undoubtedly the work of incarnation and kingdom proclamation.

    I think the most telling verse is Romans 9:2-5, where Paul says he’d be cut off from Christ if it would save his “kinsmen.”

    The Old Testament is similar. Remember that Abraham was to bless all nations. God blessed him so he could bless all nations. The people of God have always been (and always will be) a city on a hill, a blessing to the nations, and a group that exists to serve others.

  • I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I was just telling my wife yesterday about how I’m tired of hearing “People don’t really care about theology.”

    Things like the incarnation, the atonement, the resurrection are the basis of all of our actions. How can we understand “how to be a better parent” if we don’t understand the relationship of THE father to THE son. How can we overcome pornography if we don’t really grasp that through the incarnation God became a man and overcame all sin, even though he was tempted in every manner?

    It’s hard to watch your church shrink. And even harder to watch one right next door grow. I don’t know your exact situation and can’t offer any real advice beyond pray for your pastor and for whatever elders, session, committee system y’all have.

  • I feel as if my review was mostly positive. When I reviewed it on Amazon I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. I learned a lot from it, and as I said in my review, shared sections of it with people who I think would benefit from it.

    That said, my blog is set up to examine three things I think are necessary for spiritual formation, orthodoxy, orthopathy, and orthopraxy (http://www.wilramsey.com/spiritual-formation/). Because of that I focus on theology when reviewing books, because I think orthodoxy is important.

    I believe Andy Stanley is my brother in Christ. I believe people have come to God because of the work of North Point. I also believe that he leaves the Holy Spirit out of his discussion of what the church does. I’m going to point that out, because he has published a book and when you do that you are asking people to engage and critique. That is a flaw.

    Remember that in Galatians 2 Paul opposes Peter “to his face.” In Acts 15 they have a whole meeting to discuss theology and its implications. Discussing and correcting wrong belief has a biblical precedent and it is of utmost importance.

  • Aaron Marcelli

    What you call arrogance I call boldness. You admit your lack of exposure to Stanley and that you’ve never been to North Point. Those who follow him closely would know he is not arrogant. Rather, I believe the texts you quote are him saying things I wish more would have the guts to say. We have the belief in Christian world that if someone is claiming God’s name then it’s wrong to condemn them (I’m not counting extremists or cults) but this is not so. There are a lot of people stuck in ineffective ministries and they would rather claim persecution and blame culture than make a few changes and begin reaching more people for Christ.

  • Jack Brooks

    To define the local church’s function as primarily evangelism is as limiting as defining it as primarily worship or edification. The church is commanded to do a great many different things. The preachers who are strong in one of those given areas seem to like to criticize other churches that are strong in the other areas — worship pastors complain about our lack of verticality, Bible-teaching pastors complain about the lack of exposition in the pulpit, and Andy Stanley complains that we aren’t reaching the lost.

  • Brendan

    Enjoyed your thoughts Wil. I have been a long time fan of Stanley and read this book. I actually really loved the book for its insight on leadership and vision, which you commended. I agree with your comments on his theology too though.

    I was on staff at a church very similar to North Point. Loved the people there but just found that I didn’t fit the DNA that they were going for. I slowly started to desire a different style of church. Its very difficult to catch what God is doing in those types of ministries because so many people feel like numbers equal God’s blessing. Unless you’re in the trenches of those big churches (which I would mainly just teach theology and build discipleship relationships) there isn’t much fruit. People getting saved into a relationship with Jesus every Sunday doesn’t really do much for them.

    I think of the moments in scripture when many times Jesus would have crowds on crowds of people but they would all leave Him because of the life He called them to.

    We gotta teach the hard stuff. Move from Cheap Grace to Costly Grace.

    Anyway thanks for your review! Be encouraged because its good stuff!
    -Brendan

  • Tony Houghton

    You can not have deep spiritual worship if all you are is aiming your message to the “unchurched” all you have are weeky tent meeting or revival meetings. All you are doing and can do ,because you are always dealing with baby’s in the faith or non Christians , is to feed them milk for they can not handle the meat of the word (Heb.5:13). Ewhat do you end up with ..a congregation of fat little babies,no maturity. If you want that you will have to go somewhere else. you in the end have a church that is a mile wide and a 1/4 ” deep. Just a persecution to that church and see how committed they are.

  • Tyler

    No joke, Wil, I was just reading this book and I got to the part where he says, “eventually we will get around to planting a church in your community. And if you are like most church leaders, you’ll have a bad attitude. And we won’t care.” And I just closed the book and said, “Surely I’m not the only person in the world who thinks that’s arrogant bull crap.” And so I typed in “Andy Stanley, Arrogant” into Google, and this was the first hit.

    I like a lot of things about the book, particularly the organizational structure, like you mention, but this book has to be one of the most self-important books I’ve ever read. Reggie Joiner’s Think Orange is the same way. It’s this idea of, “If you’re not doing it our way, you’re doing it the wrong way.” that just really rubs me wrong. The fact that Joiner and Stanley worked together strikes me as an interesting coincidence. Maybe that’s a part of the culture there – when they find something that works they latch onto it and reject everything else.

  • Chris Rees

    My brother, I am a Pastor of a small rural church. I love Theology, but see how Jesus made Theology accessible by using stories which explained the theology in a practical way. This I believe id my calling. how do we take the foundational truths of Scripture and unpack them in a way which is helpful to the congregation. Teach the head, capture the heart, release the hands…
    I am presently reading Deep and Wide and do not see the issues the writer of the article does.
    Every Blessing as we reach one more for Jesus, Chris