This was my first Gordon McDonald book. He took a unique approach. It is a fictional book, but based on the real story of how he helped transform his church and cultivate a group of “deep people”.
I love the story, and the details about how they went about the process of investing in a core group of people. They realized that there were plenty of good, well-intentioned people, but not very many of them were deep people. They wanted to be examples of how to live a life centered around Jesus and share life together. They wanted to develop exceptional leaders who had spiritual maturity and who would know how to inspire others to grow deeper in their faith.
The book follows the process through which Gordon and his wife develop the idea of growing deep people, how they bring in others to join them, and how they present it to their church board. The decision to cultivate this group of people would require that he step back from some of his traditional duties. It is a great example of how an idea starts with a prompt, and then grows as you are more willing to talk about it and get the opinions of others.
This part from the preface encompasses the main idea of the book. “When you think about it, we do seem to know how to get unchurched people to visit our buildings and enjoy our programs. We even appear to know how to persuade many to acknowledge personal faith in Jesus. But some are saying that what we do not know is how to produce the deep people who are supposed to emerge after that. We do not produce them, at least, in the quantities that are necessary to the challenges of our times. The result is a growing scarcity in spiritual leadership. And the implication is that without an abundance of deep people- spiritual leaders – tomorrow’s organized church could be headed for irrelevance…..What might happen if a church made the development of deep people its highest priority?”
You learn about a core group of couples and singles who go on a journey with Gordon and his wife to spend one night per week for an entire year together. They focus on studying the bible, discussing leadership, and learning to care deeply for one another. They also go through some challenging and turbulent times, and learn the need to show grace and love to one of their members.
If you are looking for a great book that will challenge you to think differently, then this is it. It was an easy read, but the concepts presented are also very encouraging. I would highly recommend it.