I got to go on a mini vacation with my wife after easter services. She also works at Saddleback, but on the worship arts team. So she had to be at all of the services with her team. So I planned a little get away for us because she worked her butt off the weeks gearing up to Easter weekend and the entire weekend itself. We went to Palm Springs and literally did nothing but sit by the pool and eat. It was glorious! I got to read. I read all of Deep & Wide by Andy Stanley in the two days we were there. I couldn’t put it down. It got me thinking about my ministry I am serving in, my church, and the Church. This is a must read to move forward in anything you are working on.
I know one of our goals in HSM is to have our weekend service for students who are not believers want to be there. To expose them to gospel. And our small groups are to help them experience Jesus in their walk with Him. This book at some parts made me feel really good because we are doing some of the things he was saying and then at other times made me cringe because we were not doing anything near what he was saying. We want to be a place for unchurched students to come to so it was a really well written, really challenging, but great get-your-mind-thinking about your own ministry book.
This has to be read if a church wants to move from irrelevancy to relevancy. Yet, he challenges us because typically when we hear the word “relevant” we automatically think “unbiblical” or “conformist.” In this book you will be surprised by and even comforted by Andy’s challenges for us to be relevant AND biblical.
Here are some quotes from the book I really liked. Go get it and go through it with your leadership team.
- As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else’s cup. Our responsibility is to empty ours.
- I think every church should be a church irreligious people love to attend. Why? Because the church is the local expression of the presence of Jesus. We are his body. And since people who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus, people who are nothing like Jesus should like us as well.
- We don’t grade ourselves on size. We grade ourselves on how attractive we are to our target audience.
- It’s a shame that so many churches are married to a designed-by-Christians-for-Christians-only culture. A culture in which they talk about the Great Commission, sing songs about the Great Commission, but refuse to reorganize their churches around the Great Commission. These are often the same churches where members talk about grace, sing about how “amazing” it is, but create graceless cultures where only those who play by the rules feel welcomed.
- Some of my favorite messages are the ones where I open up with a statement that makes everybody uncomfortable. Create tension and you’ve created interest. Iron out all the tension and you will eliminate interest.
- The church needs leaders who are willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we hand it off to the next generation in better shape than we found it.
- Our messages and lesson preparations are not complete until we know what we want our audiences to do with what they are about to hear. To grow our congregants’ faith, we must preach and teach for life change.
- Pastors, preachers, and teachers who are not gifted in the area of leadership default to management. Best-case scenario, they take what’s handed to them and nurture it, protect it, defend it, and in some cases, improve it. Worst-case scenario, they focus on pastoring, preaching, and teaching, and delegate key leadership decisions to committees.
- If our church suddenly ceased to exist, would our community miss us? If so, why? What value do we bring to our community? How do people outside our church view our church?
- All my critics are religious people. (It may be the only thing I have in common with Jesus.)
- …healthy local churches can be, and should be, both deep and wide. It’s not either/ or. It’s both/ and. Local churches should be characterized by deep roots and wide reaches. Churches should be theologically sound and culturally relevant. We should be bold in our proclamation and winsome in our approach. In the Gospels we find in Jesus the embodiment of both. As his body, we should be as well.