The exciting aspects of this wisdom quest unfolded tremendously this week for me. One of my favor authors and non-denominational speakers is Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Church just outside of Atlanta, GA. His writing and speaking have a credibility and consistency that seems to be lacking in many mainstream religious leaders and communicators. He’s well respected not just in religious circles but in the circles of business and leadership too. For these reasons I have begun to build a collection of his works.
My current collection includes:
- Next Generation Leader
- 7 Practices of Effective Ministry (and Reggie Joiner & Lane Jones)
- Deep and Wide
- Creating Community (and Bill Willits)
I will be adding soon
- Communicating for Change
- Choosing to Cheat
- Ask It
- Best Question Ever
8. Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley – By far my favorite book to date by Andy Stanley and the most exhaustive of his works regarding planting a church, designing environments to attract unchurched people, crafting messages for unchurched people and church people alike. Andy’s approach is very methodical and intentional.
Chapter 6 gives great insight into North Point’s concept of Spiritual Formation, which they use to quantify spiritual growth as follows –
They describe it as 5 Faith Catalysts which are 5 things God uses to grow your faith.
- Practical Teaching
- Private Discipline
- Personal Ministry
- Providential Relationships
- Pivotal Circumstances
Chapter 7 Describes these in detail and provide excellent leadership advice on how best to position people based on one of these 5 catalysts.
One of the major moments for me stood out in Chapter 13…
“Marry your mission.
Date your model.
Fall in love with your vision.
Stay mildly infatuated with your approach.”
Andy does a wonderful job at mapping the mission to the programming as follows –
MISSION —VISION—MODEL—PROGRAMMING (see page. 286)
This skims the surface of this excellent book which reads like a manual on the North Point Systems Based approach to church leadership.
9. Creating Community by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits – I am investigating the feasibility of small groups for our church. I have surveyed a half dozen pastors and have received opinions in every direction. This book cleared up a great deal. I’m not 100% sold on the idea…yet.
Much of the first few chapters were spent convincing the reader of the importance of community. The authors state God literally created us for community. In fact, they use Creation when God said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” as evidence God wants us to have companionship. While I agree companionship is wonderful and beneficial, I personally felt that readers who may be single, and may have resigned themselves to that fact, may be out of line their opinion of God’s view on being alone. Many biblical leaders, even Jesus was never married, so this comparison should be drawn very carefully.
I did however like the way they correlated the Starbucks Business model to community. They’re not just in the business of selling coffee, they’re in the business of creating community. And, if you think about it, that’s so true. Their environments are conducive to conversation and connection which go great with coffee.
Now, from a church standpoint, I am a strong proponent of community. I can see the benefits of doing life together. Great examples were given in the book of how small groups impacted the lives of people who would have otherwise fallen between the proverbial cracks.
This book was filled with practical reasons on why, and a little on the how, as it applies to small groups, but left me wanting more in the way of a formal process. It could be done using the book, but would involve a great deal more trial and error, and would require high degree of tolerance on behalf of the people you would be asking to sign up for these groups.
Bonus Book(s): Finished Leviticus and began the Book of Numbers. I was so enamored with the Deep and Wide book I re-read several chapters several times. Once I cracked these books open by Andy Stanley, it reminded me of 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner, and I dug up a few chapters from there because they were reference by Andy in Deep and Wide.