OK, if you had started with 1500 commited people you would hope to develop a great church, but even given the difference in context between the US Bible Belt and a UK setting this is an inspiring and practical guide to how churches could be so much more accessible, welcoming and nurturing to a far wider range of people than is often the case. Andy Stanley shares the warts- 'n-all story of North Point Community Church - 'a church unchurched people love to attend' with really practical insights into how the church has set out to tap into the 'unchurched' market with remarkable success. Unsurprisingly, you may not agree with all he has done or all he advocates, and it certainly needs some reinterpretation for a UK situation, but nevertheless the purposes he outlines, the cultural issues he confronts and the fearless and unrelenting questions he asks will provoke and stimulate any church leader worth their salt. The tried and tested approaches which the author shares, together with his own learning journey, puts this manual into the 'must read' section of any church leader's book shelf (or E-reader). Use this book alongside the available web resources, be prepared to ask yourself and others the rigorous and tough questions Stanley poses and, just maybe, you will find many of the tools you need to achieve purposeful, effective leadership and the kind of change which is both deep and wide.
this is an excellent guide to making sure that church is accessible to unchurched people. It should be read by anyone involved in church planting or renewal, and has lots of accumulated wisdom from Andy Stanley.
My only small issue is that it relates very much to his US cultural context; starting a church for the unchurched in the UK is a very different proposition in some areas, but the questions he raises are pertinent and helpful and have enabled me to think through my own answers more clearly. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to think practically about the way church looks and interacts with culture.
You are involved in church leadership? You NEED to read this book! For too long church has been aimed toward "Christians", but church is God's vehicle to change the world, not a vehicle to "feed his sheep" (although that should and will happen as well). We in the West particularly have lost the true focus of church and Andy Stanley makes it very clear how Northpoint Community church have made sure that every part of what they do is focused on creating a church that the unchurched want to go to; and most importantly Northpoint is doing it very effectively. You will be challenged and you will find things that need to be changed in your church regardless of whether you agree or not with all that Andy has implemented in Northpoint.
You won't regret reading this book, but the town, city and country you live in may regret you not reading it.
Andy Stanley's book was recommended to me by a good friend and my wife and I have read it from a Kindle on several car journeys and every page has something to challenge, encourage, action - a brilliant book written by someone who has been there and got the T Shirt. It's beyond the theoretical and into the practical application that we need to be culturally relevant whilst being timelessly responsible with the commission we have to see the Church of Jesus Christ making quality differences in the world. Worth every penny - and more!
This book is one of the most challenging books that speaks absolute sense and blatant truth! It's not for those who are reluctant to change but for those who are willing to consistently change in order to build and advance the church...as God intended it to be!
Why do we do things the way we do? Can we change, do we need to change, do we want to change?? This book doesn't give the answers but it does pose lots of questions which, if we answer them honestly will help us all in finding what works where we are at.
Andy Stanley's Deep and Wide has as its self-confessed aim the task of making 'your church more appealing to the people who are put off by all the shenanigans that give church...a bad name.' It's organised into five sections:
Stanley's own story of starting a church (North Point)
- a Biblical justification for North Point's approach to church - a spiritual formation model (the deep part) - planning for irresistible worship environments (the wide part) - how to lead a local church through change towards the deep and wide paradigm.
Whilst I didn't find all that much which was new here (indeed, some of it forms part of a previously-published audio series by Stanley on the church!), I did find the writing engaging and there were some valuable things to think about as a result of my reading.
I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.