Deep and Wide

deep and wide - andy stanley Recently I finished Andy Stanley’s latest book Deep and Wide. This book is written for pastors and is all about the strategy we use to build the local church. I’ve always liked Andy’s tendency to say things that are a bit aggressive in confronting the status quo, and this book delivers that in bundles. There are parts where I chuckled to myself when Andy would challenge the reader and then pause to reflect on how harsh he was being in the process. In addition, Andy delves deeper into his own story in this book and I found that particularly fascinating. I highlighted forty-three passages in this book so picking which ones to include here is no easy task. I would categorize my favorite quotes into three sections: leadership principles that can be applied in multiple settings, church specific ideas, and illustrative material and quotes.


As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else’s cup. Our responsibility is to empty ours. Never assign a task that is gift-dependent to a staffing position. Never. Assign responsibility, not tasks. 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. If you make people discontent with where they are, they are likely to loosen their grip on their current way of doing things. But if you try to pry their fingers off, get your resume ready.

Church / Spirituality

That’s the beauty of grace and truth. They complement. They are both necessary. They are not part of a continuum. They are not opposite ends of a pole. They are the two essential ingredients. Without massive doses of both, you won’t have a healthy gathering. Practical teaching that moves people to action is one of the primary things God uses to grow our faith. People are far more interested in what works than what’s true. The way you talk about the Bible on the weekend will determine their interest in the Bible during the week. Let’s face it: 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! The key to successfully engaging unchurched people in a weekend message has more to do with your approach and your presentation than your content. The catalyst for introducing and facilitating change in the local church is a God-honoring, mouthwatering, unambiguously clear vision. When a church fails to distinguish between its current model and the mission to which it has been called and mistakenly fossilizes around its model, that church sets itself up for decline.

Illustrations / Quotes

In 1522, William Tyndale determined to translate the Bible into English. When a fellow clergyman challenged Tyndale, suggesting people “might be better without the law of God than the law of the Pope,” he replied, “If God spares my life, before many years pass I will make it possible for a boy behind the plow to know more Scripture than you do.” Once again, I agree with Howard Hendricks, who was fond of saying, “It is a sin to bore a child with the Word of God.” In most instances, the presentation is what makes information interesting. It’s the presentation that creates and maintains interest. Just about every time you go to a restaurant, you order chicken, beef, or fish (unless, of course, you are a vegetarian). Your favorite restaurant is not the one with the exotic meat selection. It’s the one with the best presentation of chicken, beef, or fish.

The Most Important Quote of All

With all forty-three of my quotes in mind, there was one that stood above the rest. It is an easy quote to miss so I’ve taken it upon myself to ensure that it doesn’t get lost. I submit the following for your consideration…
And this makes the team that creates the weekend worship experiences one of, if not the most important team in your organization.
Bam! Preach it Andy! Like his book Communicating for a Change, if you are in church ministry this latest book is a must-read.

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Jeremy Jernigan

Speaker | Author | Founder of Communion Wine Co.