Thinking Out Loud

October 30, 2012

Andy Stanley Reveals What’s In The Secret Sauce

As someone who has been around The Church for a long time, I’m really not in North Point Community Church’s target demographic. But at 2:00 PM on a Sunday, you’ll find me watching a streaming broadcast of their morning service. Two reasons. First, I think there’s something exciting going on in that Atlanta suburb and because the technology allows it, I want to be watching to cheer them on. Second, there’s stuff about what it means to trust God that I still don’t think I’ve got right and I need to be told again and in new ways.

Andy significant landed on my radar eight years ago. I was doing a church plant and wanted to access video teaching content from another church that the other church wasn’t ready to give out. “Have you heard of North Point?” I was asked. “North who?”

Just about any survey of megachurches in the past decade places North Point in the top five. In addition to their own satellites in the greater Atlanta area, North Point Ministries has strategic partner churches across the U.S., in Canada, and beyond.

Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love To Attend (Zondervan) is Andy’s message to pastors who want a behind-the-scenes look at the church and know how (and why) they do what they do.

The book comes at a time that many are concerned that the megachurches are setting the agenda for the church as a whole in the Western world. But the North Point staff have spent enough time doing seminars to know that their methodology is of interest to medium-sized and even small-sized church leadership.

The church is mission driven. The book explains how that mission drives their vision; how it drives everything that they do. The vision, in turn, drives their model. Their model drives their programming. And their programming is radically different from other churches you have been part of.

There’s no men’s or women’s ministry. Most of their giving to local needs goes to secular agencies. Events or services are termed “environments.”Their children’s curriculum targets key narratives and doesn’t try to cover the whole compendium of scripture. Women help take up the offering (and do lots of other things, too.) Non-Christians serve in various limited capacities. You have to — without exceptions — record a 3-4 minute testimony video to be baptized. They avoid the phrase, “The Bible says…” Officially, the music selections on Sunday are termed “singing,” not “worship.”

Some of you are feeling your blood pressure rise.

Andy admits there are no chapters and verses for these policies. But before you get up in arms, or say, “See, I told you so…” you should know that much careful thought and prayer have gone into creating the North Point distinctives.

This is a seeker-targeted church. In its present form, North Point is more ‘Willow Creek’ than Willow Creek. Too many people think that means ‘dumbed down.’ Not at all. What Andy calls “putting the cookies on the lower shelf” does not preclude solid, often exegetical Bible teaching. I would contend that in status quo churches across the western world, most people would find the level of personal challenge at North Point to be much greater than they are presently accustomed to. Jesus didn’t ‘dumb down’ anything. He challenged people in terms of spiritual disciplines and in their understanding how the Old Testament puzzle pieces fit together to reveal Him. Trust me, some of you — some of us — wouldn’t be able to keep up to the pace at North Point.

This is a hardcover book for pastors, church leadership, and church planters that is going to resonate with anyone drive by The Great Commission. It’s not for everyone. But it’s a book that every pastor, church leader and church planter needs to read. There’s also much in personal stories including a section at the beginning that defines the relationship between Andy and his father, Charles Stanley.

Highly recommended.

Here’s a quotation from the book published today at C201


  1. Looking forward to reading it.

    Comment by Ralph juthman — October 30, 2012 @ 8:07 am

  2. might have a wee read, thanks

    Comment by kjsmcknight — October 30, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

  3. Very interesting. Without a doubt the traditional church need to do something new in order to become relevant…and that something “new “might be returning to a serious place where seekers find the Word of God preached without apology. My sister’s charasmatic church’s womens group this month learned line dancing. Really? Line dancing?There’s not enough wonder in the scriptures? Not enough awe in the grace of God to warrant time to meditate on these things? People are seeking….but not for a dance class. Andy Stanley is at least trying to go and do what needs to be done to reach this generation with the message of Christ.

    Comment by yokedwithhim — October 30, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

  4. This book is truly an eye opener. I grew up in a very legalistic church environment, and had some ill formed opinions of “certain” churches that didn’t have a cross stabbing you in the right retina when you walked through the front door. I didn’t understand why “certain” churches didn’t have people dressed in Armani suits slapping you in the face with scripture as soon as you walked inside the foyer. This list continues but Ill save you the boredom. After reading Andy’s book, “Deep & Wide” I realized that the cross on a church building can actually keep a person away as they associate it with pain that the church has caused them. When you walk into North Point, you find a very welcoming (and not so stiff) environment. It is not sterile! At first I thought, “Oh this is gonna stink….OK I didn’t actually think THAT word. Then, once my husband and I got past the front door we figured we might wanna just experience the entire service so we could walk away in judgement on a place without a steeple, and the greeter that didn’t give you a condescending (constipated) look as soon as you opened the door that was way toooo heavy. Well, we walked out changed! I grabbed the book and read it from cover to cover in 3 days. I have heard people say they think that a church without a steeple is a form of denying Christ, blah, blah, blah. Read this book, and you will find a wonderful revelation.

    Comment by Sherry — September 5, 2014 @ 1:04 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Your Response (Value-Added Comments Only)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: