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Book Review: Deep & Wide by Andy Stanley

March 15, 2013

I found Andy Stanley’s book, Deep & Wide: creating churches unchurched people love to attend (Zondervan, 2012) to be compelling and convicting. In keeping with Stanley’s subtitle, I subtitle this review “writing a book church people won’t like reading,”  for that is exactly what the book presents in content, style, and directness.

Stanley engages in a conversation in his writing, a great style for writing to the 20-50 generation, but a style that may be confusing, distracting and even “offensive” to the 60+ generation. He lays the opposition’s arguments out in print and shows in most cases the absurdity of the critique, even though he readily acknowledges he has heard and/or received the criticism frequently in his years growing up in a church and pastoring a congregation. He is so direct and blunt, though not ungracious, it is refreshing.

The book is divided into five sections: My Story (growing up as Charles Stanley’s son and how North Point started), Our Story (how North Point emerged), Going Deep (how North Point rethinks spiritual formation), and Going Wide (how North Point develops services that are attractive to the unchurched) and Becoming Deep and Wide (advice for a local church/leadership on transitions). Again, though all five sections are rich, Going Deep and Going Wide contain superb analysis and explanation of how disciples are developed in 21st century North America and provides the biblical basis/support.

Simply put: The best book about being and doing church I have read!

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