Tag Archives: Deep & Wide
The 2012 Leadership Journal book awards were recently announced. I was thrilled to see a good number of Zondervan ministry titles on the list. If you’ve not read these books, I hope you’ll give them a shot.
Category: The Leader’s Inner Life
- Sifted: Pursuing Growth through Trials, Challenges, and Disappointments by Wayne Cordeiro with Francis Chan and Larry Osborne
- Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus in the Mess of Organized Religion by Dan Kimball
Category: The Leader’s Outer Life
Best of the Best: Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City by Timothy Keller
- Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend by Andy Stanley
- Your Church is Too Safe: Why Following Christ Turns the World Upside-Down by Mark Buchanan
I’ve been making my way through Andy Stanley’s new book, Deep and Wide, and came across yet another thought provoker by this seasoned pastor. While an earlier post focused on the medium—the space in which the church gathers for any number of reasons—this one’s about the message, the “what” and the “how” of what’s said when the church gathers. Though this post might lean more toward people who regularly teach for a larger gathering, I think there’s something here even for small group and bible study leaders, too.
No only does Stanley urge us leaders to get fresh eyes on our ministry environments, he suggests we need fresh eyes on our ministry messages, too. He challenges teachers to look freshly at both our content and especially our presentation, beginning with quite the statement on presentation: “Churches aren’t empty because preachers are lying. Twentysomethings haven’t abandoned the church because pastors have abandoned the Bible. The church isn’t suffering from a lack of truth-talks. What we are missing is engaging presentations. The reason more people aren’t engaged with the local church is…we aren’t all that engaging!” (174) He suggests that if you want more people in your community to engage with your church or bible study, you should become more engaging.
What do you think about that? Are people avoiding church because it’s boring and unengaging?
What’s Your Space Communicating? Appealing Settings Matters to Creating Churches UnChurched People Love to Attend—From Andy Stanley’s New Book, Deep & Wide
I’ve been thinking a lot about space in the past few months. No not that space, the one Hubble Space Telescope explores every waking minute. I’m talking about the space in which we do ministry—the space in which people encounter God in worship, kids grow in the knowledge of the Lord, small groups explore the Bible.
If I asked you, What’s your space? I would guess an image immediately comes to mind. Perhaps it’s big and open and filled with modern lights, Panera-esque colors, and thousands of theater-style seating. Maybe it’s more modest and ancient, accented by stained glass windows and the residue of yesterday’s incense. Perhaps it’s a cozy living-room or a room that’s been made to look like a living room with plush, comfy chairs.
Regardless, this morning’s question is an important one: “What’s your space communicating?” It’s an important question because creating an appealing setting matters to creating church experiences that unchurched people love to attend.
The reason I’ve been thinking a lot about space the past few months is because I have the privilege of relaunching a church that peaked at a few hundred people and has dropped to 10-15% of that peak. A number of reasons have contributed to that decline, but one of the big ones was where the church was gathering the past 18 months.
You see the church launched in a high school cafeteria and thrived there for sometime until it was forced to relocate to a 900 seat auditorium elsewhere in the school. An intimate, family feel was exchanged for this massive room that created a distance and formalism that killed the vibe big time. They tried different things to compensate until they moved to the location we’ve just moved from: an aged gymnasium at an inner-city, neighborhood church that was difficult to find and even more difficult to enjoy.
When I came to candidate for the position I remember two things: it was hard to find and felt creepy. It wasn’t creepy because of the people or what went on there—we’ve got great, kind people and a wonderful sense of community! It was creepy because it was down and around this dark hallway, in this not-so-clean gym with flickering, buzzing fluorescent lights, and in a space that was too big for our current size.
Now, for a number of reasons I’m thankful God provided this space for our church for a season, but I’m even more grateful God recently provisioned a new space that fits who we are and the message we’re trying to send our community: You are important to us! Let’s face it, an environment goes a long way in sending that message.
In his new book, Deep and Wide, Andy Stanley makes this exact point:
“Every ministry environment involves a physical setting. It may be a large room or a small room. It may include chairs or circular carpets for seating. It may be a park or living room. Regardless of the type of setting, it needs to be appealing to the target audience. You know from experience the physical and emotional effects a comfortable, inviting environment can have. You’ve walked into offices, homes, and vacation spots and immediately felt at home. You’ve walked into those same environments at other locations and felt just the opposite.” (164)
We’ve all experienced those types of environments, haven’t we? The homey and not-so-homey? How much more important is it to have a comfortable, hospitable, normal environment for people who want to encounter God and explore His Story?
Stanley goes on to say, “Every physical setting communicates something. There are no neutral settings.” (168) So let’s get honest at the beginning of a new ministry week: What’s your space communicating? Is it comfortable? Clean and Tidy? Organized? Safe? Is there design, décor, and attention to detail?
I would encourage you and your team—whether you’re the executive pastor, a youth group leader, or small group leader—to consider these questions that Stanley offers: “What’s distracting? What’s tired? Where do you need to paint? What needs to be thrown away? Replaced? Are your settings appealing?” (172)
No, getting your ministry environment “just right” isn’t a magical pill that will solve your ministry woes. But it will go a long way in creating church environments unchurched people love to attend, not to mention your own people! There are already plenty of barriers in this world between unchurched people and the church. Let’s not let something that we can control—our space, our environment—be the make or break between people exploring and experience Christ or not.
Jeremy Bouma has spent a decade ministering among our postmodern culture, first in Washington D.C. and most recently as a pastor in West Michigan. He is the founder of THEOKLESIA—a content curator dedicated to helping the 21st century church rediscover the historic Christian faith—holds the Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and writes at www.novuslumen.net.
Of all the things the iPhone can do I think its greatest impact on our culture could be large scale proliferation of bad photography. As a result of owning an iPhone I take more low-grade pictures now than I ever have before. (This reminds me of a Jim Gaffigan joke from “Mr. Universe.” I’ll leave it to the Gaffigan fans out there to figure out which one I mean…)
All of that said, I thought you might enjoying seeing some of my iPhone pics from the 2012 Catalyst Conference.
Here’s a shot of Andy Stanley giving the opening talk to about 14,000 people at Catalyst. He told a pretty compelling story about his old church’s response to a gay pride parade. The story is found in the opening chapters of Deep & Wide, which he told everyone to “just go to the bookstore and read the first two chapters if you don’t want to buy it.” It made me laugh out loud.
This is a pic of one of the book store displays of Deep & Wide. As a book marketer it’s always really gratifying to see something like this. With God’s blessing this will be a meaningful, ministry-growing read for a lot of folks who work and volunteer in our churches. It’s exciting to see it out and ready for the public.
After his first talk Andy Stanley did a book signing for Deep & Wide. Here’s a publishing trade secret for you: book marketers don’t like author book signings. They’re too unpredictable. We can’t ever guarantee that people will actually show up. What if no one comes and our author ends up sitting there looking foolish?
Fortunately, Andy had no problem attracting a crowd of folks who wanted to meet him and get their books signed. So many people came we had to cut it short and have some books signed later. All in all, the event turned out really well.
Author and pastor Andy Stanley draws from Scripture and over 25 years of pastoral experience to communicate to church leaders how they can create a church where believers can have a growing faith in Jesus and at the same time unbelievers can make a vital and lasting connection—a ministry that is both deep and wide. Download a free team discussion guide and learn more at www.DeepandWidebook.com
This week bloggers will be posting their reviews and thoughts on Andy Stanley’s new book Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend. I’ll be keeping a running list of the blog reviews below. Also, if you’re not yet familiar with this book, be sure to check out the promo video.
The Deep & Wide Blog Tour
“Killer Church” blog by Rich Birch – “I really do think it’s the most important church leadership book in a very long time maybe since “Purpose Driven Church” was published in 1995. Get some copies of it and read it together with your leadership team.”
Panorama of a Book Saint (Conrade Yap) – Conrade is a frequent reviewer of books on ministry. He’s also a pastor and holds DMin. Here’s what he has to say about Deep & Wide: “Deep and Wide may very well be one of the biggest paradigm shifters or difference makers for anyone of us wanting to bring our churches to the next level. More importantly, this book is immediately useful, gradually helpful, and overwhelmingly hopeful.”
Father Michael White at the Church Nativity blog – This post is about the difference between the Greek word Ekklesia and the German word Kirche, and what that means for the church today. The fact that it’s written by a Roman Catholic makes me rejoice. God, and his ekklesia, are so much bigger than our denominations. Praise God for Catholic brothers building the ekklesia of Christ.
Andy Vomsteeg’s Blog – Andy provides a lot of great quotes from the book.
“Steps” Blog – This review says, “This is truly a great book for ministers and lay leaders.”
Kuya Kevin’s Blog – This is a great blog post. The reviewer includes some personal connections to Deep & Wide and also lists a series of questions anyone in ministry should ask themselves. Here’s one that gets my head spinning: “Are people rejecting the gospel or are they rejecting all the man-made “baggage” I/we’ve attached to it?”
“From My Overly Cluttered Desk” blog – “Deep and Wide is a book that is worth reading, highlighting, and dialoguing with. You likely won’t agree with everything Stanley writes, nor should you. He anticipates that point and even issues some arguments in the book. However, I think every church leader can find some leadership nuggets and some programmatic challenges worth talking about in the book. It would be a great book to read as a staff.”
“My World” blog – “This might be one of the best books I’ve ever read on church ministry or leadership. It is chock full of wisdom, things churches can learn and ways staff’s can grow together to be effective.”
The Exponential Conference blog (Brandon Cox) – Though not officially part of the blog tour I wanted to be sure to list this post. Brandon does a great job of excerpting key ideas from the book and also has this to say: “This is one of those books that will be among the dozen or so that testify of great movements of God in recent history.”
Bramburst blog – “Written with the same humor, insights and clarity I’ve come to expect from Andy’s messages each week “Deep & Wide” is a great book for any leader in the wider Christian church not content with running a club for the righteous but a hospital for sinners or in other words the rest of us.”
JR Forastero’s blog – This blogger must have attended Catalyst and heard Andy’s first session. He’s written up a nice summary of Andy’s talk. If you missed Catalyst this year, visit this link.
27Gen Blog – Here’s another blogger who highlights key quotes from the book. His quotes focus mostly on ministry environments.
The Church Health Blog – This blogger highlights 3 key points from Deep & Wide: The importance of making church engaging, appealing, and helpful.
HD Nazarene blog – “I’ve read the first 50 pages and if you’re connected to ministry in North America the story is a page-turner.”
Dr. Carlus Gupton’s Life & Leadership blog – “This [book] is a good description of the philosophy and practice of a church that is effective in reaching unchurched populations.”
The Blog Pile (Peter DeHaan) - “This book is primarily written for ministers, but applies to all church leaders, both paid and volunteer. It’s also for the laity, for all who want to create churches that unchurched people will love to attend. Read it, apply it, and then do it. Your church will never be the same.”
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“It is completely false that churches must sacrifice quality to get quantity, must artificially choose between evangelism or discipleship, or cannot have depth and growth at the same time. Few prove this fact better than the ministry of Andy Stanley who has grown North Point Church on purpose and with passion. No Christian leader can afford to miss this book.”
Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church
“The most common question I get from pastors is, ‘How do I get the people in my church to be open to change?’ From now on my answer will be, ‘Read Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley’. Thanks Andy. Great book!”
- Craig Groeschel, Pastor, LifeChurch.TV
With surprising candor and transparency pastor Andy Stanley explains how one of America’s largest churches began with a high-profile divorce and a church split.
Deep and Wide provides church leaders with an in-depth look into North Point Community Church and its strategy for creating churches unchurched people absolutely love to attend. Andy writes, “Our goal is to create weekend experiences so compelling and helpful that even the most skeptical individuals in our community would walk away with every intention of returning the following week…with a friend!”
Later he says, “I want people to fall in love with the Author of Scripture. And while we can’t make anyone fall in love, we can certainly arrange a date.”
For the first time, Andy explains his strategy for preaching and programming to “dual audiences”: mature believers and cynical unbelievers. He argues that preaching to dual audiences doesn’t require communicators to “dumb down” the content. According to Stanley, it’s all in the approach.
You’ll be introduced to North Point’s spiritual formation model: The Five Faith Catalysts. Leaders responsible for ministry programing and production will no doubt love Andy’s discussion of the three essential ingredients for creating irresistible environments. For pastors willing to tackle the challenge of transitioning a local congregation, Andy includes a section entitled: Becoming Deep and Wide.
If your team is more concerned with who you are reaching than who you are keeping, Deep and Wide will be more than a book you read; it will be a resource you come back to over and over!
“Couldn’t be prouder of my son, Andy. And I couldn’t be more excited about the content of this book. I wish a resource like this existed when I was starting out in ministry.”
- Dr. Charles Stanley, Founder, In Touch Ministries
“Deep and Wide pulls back the curtain for all of us to see what is required behind the scenes to build a prevailing church. I was both challenged and inspired by this book.”
- Bill Hybels, author of Just Walk Across the Room
“No one has given me more practical handles for establishing a focused vision than Andy Stanley. Deep and Wide is a rich resource to help all of us stay intentional about the main thing – building a church that reaches people who are far from God.”
- Steven Furtick, Lead Pastor, Elevation Church