[Book Review] Deep & Wide by Andy Stanley

I just finished reading Andy Stanley’s newest book, Deep & Wide. It was a great read!


Stanley gets vulnerable about the way North Point got started with a high-profile divorce and a church split (I would have bought the book to read that story alone). Then he breaks down the systems and thinking behind how North Point’s focus on creating a church unchurched people love to attend.

In my opinion, this is one of Stanley’s best books to date (I would put it on the shelf right next to 7 Practices of Effective Ministry and Communicating For A Change). If you haven’t picked it up yet, you really should.

Specifically focusing on preaching, since that is what we are all about here at Pro Preacher, Stanley devotes an entire chapter to “Double-Barrel Preaching” and also includes many other insights throughout the book.

As I wrote about earlier, I always archive all my highlights from books. Here are some of my favorite highlights from Deep & Wide about preaching:

PREACHING HIGHLIGHTS

“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!”

“Jesus understood what too many of us have either forgotten or were never told in the first place. To seek and to save the lost, you must first capture their attention.”

“To present the Scripture to a child or a teenager in an unengaging manner is to teach the very opposite of what is intended: Lesson #1: The Bible is boring. Lesson #2: The Bible is irrelevant. Lesson #3: Church is irrelevant.”

“Knowledge alone makes Christians haughty. Application makes us holy.”

“Preaching. It’s by far the most stressful part of my job. Compared to the pressure of message preparation and delivery, everything else is easy.”

“The key to successfully engaging unchurched people in a weekend message has more to do with your approach and your presentation than your content.”

“My goal on the weekend is to present the Scriptures in a way that is so helpful and compelling that everybody in the audience is glad to have attended and drives away with every intention to return the following weekend.”

“When people are convinced you want something FOR them rather than something FROM them, they are less likely to be offended when you challenge them.”

“My approach is to entice the audience to follow me into one passage of Scripture with the promise that the text is either going to answer a question they’ve been asking, solve a mystery they’ve been puzzled over, or resolve a tension they’ve been carrying.”

“Choose one passage and stay with it until everybody gets it. Make it so interesting that your audience wants to go home and read it again on their own.”

“Don’t assume. Always start on the bottom rung of the ladder. Bring people along with you.”

“We do ourselves and the unbelievers in our congregations a disservice when we forget to pause and consider how weird some of what’s in the Bible must sound to someone who wasn’t raised in church.”

“…a general rule, say what you suspect unbelievers are thinking. When you do, it gives you credibility. And it gives them space.”

Conclusion

Deep & Wide gets two big thumbs up from me. It is one of the best books I have read so far this year.

What do you think? Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/john.s.bohannon John S. Bohannon

    For a vision of exalting and exulting in the glory of God in preaching I would recommend John Piper’s work, “The Supremacy of God in Preaching” and for a great read about contextualizing the message in our current context–or any context–I recommend “Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine.