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“Going Deep”—Book review

Is your church helping you grow deeper?

The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.
~Richard Foster

Going DeepBecause I love this quote (I’m a Foster fan), I thought I would love this book inspired by it.

The goal of Gordon MacDonald’s book—Going Deep: Becoming a Person of Influence—is wonderful:

“how to develop new generations of deepening people who will rise to positions of influence in and beyond their congregation and do it in ways that fit the changing realities of our time.”

But it falls flat for me.

Written in novel format (that’s fine), the characters are fictitious, the principles real. It’s a follow-up to Who Stole My Church about the same fictitious New England congregation (which I didn’t read, but it didn’t matter.)

What’s missing is deep content. While “cultivation” and “deep” are mentioned a lot, they get lost amidst a multitude of shallow, irrelevant details about too many characters that have too little to do with reaching the goal.

However, it’s not a total waste of time to read this book. If it can inspire a church to aim higher (by going deeper), it’s good.

This thought, asked early in the book, is valuable:

“Name a man and a woman in the Bible who come to your mind when you hear the term deep people.”

And after considering that, I’ll add:
“Who in your church comes to mind as a deep person?”

Thinking of one or two? Seeking out their company would be a great way to deepen your own spirituality. MacDonald would agree: in his book he writes of mentors and mentees to hasten this process.

Through the storyline he shows other ideas, too: Read biographies of great people, have weekly meetings for a year with others also trying to “go deep”, write out your life story, etc.
What do deep people do? MacDonald says,

They know how to hear God speak and how to draw upon his power to do the work Jesus has called us to do.

...Deep people are influential. Wherever they show up, human beings, institutions, and churches are inspired, renewed, even changed.

So should you read this book if you want to grow deeper or help your church grow deeper people?

No, read the Richard Foster book that prompted this one instead (Celebration of Discipline).

In the end, it’s time spent with Jesus that deepens us the most.
Then time spent with others (including great books) sharpens us.
Go for those.

* * *

Who do you know that is deep?
What makes you think so?



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