Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Deep & Wide

I've just finished the latest book by Andy Stanley.  It was given to me by Zondervan for free, if I would be willing to write a review.  I didn't have to be positive about the book; just honest.  I jumped at the chance. Now, let me say that I've not read much by Andy Stanley.  Other than one book he co-wrote which I read about 6-7 years ago, this is the first book of his I've read.  Sure, I've read articles, heard his leadership podcasts and even his sermons, but I was interested in reading another book.

What grabbed me about this one, and made me want to read it, was the subtitle: "Creating churches unchurched people love to attend."  This, to me, should be the call of every church as we join with Jesus searching for the lost sheep.  Of course, this book does have a "deep" element to it.  We should have churches which those who are following Christ grow in.  But too often, that is the only point.  We want to make Christians comfortable.

I could write a lot about the book.  To be honest, there were a lot of things which challenged me, and I'll be spending some time over the next few weeks/months examining different things around the church I pastor to see what we can improve on.

His own story is how Stanley begins the book, challenging me with statements like "Over 83 percent of our regular attendees marked that they have invited at least one person to church in the past twelve months."  That is a staggering statement, and I'm not sure how many churches can boast numbers like that.  This is what happens when you have a church people feel comfortable inviting their friends to.

One of the important portions of the books, for me, was the one on preaching.  I'm always looking for ways to improve the way I communicate the Word to people on Sunday, and this gave me a lot to chew on.

Whether you're a pastor or a church leader, I recommend the book.  Take some time, and don't rush through it.  Thanks to Andy Stanley for a great book, as well as his refreshing honesty.