Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend

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Deep & WideI recently finished reading Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley. It’s his newest book, and it’s certainly one of the best books I’ve read this year. (I’ll share that list later.)

There are several things I appreciate about Andy. He’s laser-focused on building a church that’s focused on reaching the unchurched. He understands the value of not only establishing clear vision, but also developing healthy systems that fuel the fulfillment of that vision. He teaches and writes for application. And, when he does that, he always includes a healthy dose of sarcasm. (My favorite example in this book is when Andy talks about “God’s man” or “God’s anointed mouthpiece.” Classic!)

My copy of the book is filled with highlights, but I tried to narrow it down to a dozen that really grabbed my attention. Here you go:

  1. “The best performers usually build the biggest churches but not necessarily the healthiest ones.”
  2. “Read the Gospels and you will have a difficult time finding even one example of Jesus being fair. He chose twelve apostles from among hundreds of disciples. He gave preferential treatment to three of the twelve. He didn’t heal everyone. He didn’t feed every hungry crowd.”
  3. “I love everything we do and I love the way we do it. But that doesn’t make it right. That just makes it comfortable. Predictable. But perhaps ineffectual.”
  4. “If you want a church full of biblically educated believers, just teach what the Bible says. If you want to make a difference in your community and possibly the world, give people handles, next steps, and specific applications.”
  5. “Nearly all the senior pastors I’ve ever talked to would swear (well, maybe not swear), would claim adamantly that they want unchurched people to attend and connect with their churches. But then they turn right around and create weekend services that assume everybody present is a believer and attends every week.”
  6. “Our goal on the weekend is to create a setting so appealing, a presentation so engaging, and content so helpful that unchurched people would not only want to come back the following week, but that they would be both comfortable and motivated to invite a friend.”
  7. “New ideas are generally considered bad ideas. Then they become normative. Then, eventually, they are yesterday’s news. Nothing is new or innovative forever.”
  8. “Vision is the place to begin every discussion pertaining to change. Start the discussion anywhere else and you will experience resistance.”
  9. “One of the primary reasons churches are empty is because church leaders love their models more than they love people.”
  10. “The primary reason churches cling to outdated models and programs is that they lack leadership.”
  11. “If no one is following you, if you are uncomfortable asking people to follow you, if the only people following you are people you secretly wish would follow somebody else, you may not be the one to introduce and implement change in your local congregation.”
  12. “What does your church pray for? What does the staff pray for? What do your elders or deacons pray for? God’s blessing? The presence of God? A pouring out of the Holy Spirit? Safety? As far as the ‘presence of God’ and ‘a pouring out of the Holy Spirit,’ you’re a bit behind. Both of those were covered on the day of Pentecost. Regarding God’s presence, Jesus promised to be with those who were making disciples, not gathering for worship. So besides you, and what you and your congregation want God to do for you, what does your church pray for?”

That’s my list. What were the top highlights from your reading? Join the conversation by sharing your comment.

By the way, I’m going to be interviewing Andy about Deep and Wide in the coming days. What questions would you ask him about the book? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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About Author

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.

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