3 Stars: Going Deep by Gordon MacDonald

Gordon MacDonald's "Going Deep" is a fictional story about a Pastor Mac (GMAC = Gordon MacDonald) and his wife, Gail, uniting with others with the goal of training up or cultivating one growable small batch of people at a time - and creating a whole church full of deep people. This is a fictional story based in Gordon's town of New England and about people seeking to revolutionize their church into a deep group of living, breathing Christians on fire for Jesus! This is a fun story about all the steps it takes to set up a Cultivating Deep People (CDP) training group and selecting about a dozen of teachable people, while others are splitting because they weren't selected to be part of the first training group.

I think most people will find that this book is very slow to develop, drags on, forever repeats the same material again and again and is very and drawn out. The first ~250 pages are about coming up with this idea of "creating deep people", then meeting back and forth with other people to get their advice and mull over the details. This created a ton of repetition and not much is accomplished. The real "cultivating real people" doesn't begin until about 2/3rds through the entire book. So those who want to get to the "best part" may just skip right there and bypass the first 250 pages.

That being said, this book was an enjoyable read - easy, light reading, with short chapters in a calendar format. Our main character, Pastor Mac, writes in his diary/calendar format and we are lead on a story that unfolds over approximately two years. The book was light enough for anyone to read and even though the goal of the church is to develop deep people, this book is more of a shallow story of their lives, rather than a how-to-become-a-deep-person book. I would recommend this book for anyone to loves Christian fiction. After reading this book, you may wish you church was being revolutionized like the church in this book! The book is definitely inspirational and thought-provoking!

Deep thinking on the reader's part is completely optional when reading this book. The book poses some questions, but you aren't forced to sit there and think about them. Some of the questions posed were: What does a deep person look like? What biblical figures might we consider especially deep? Who might we know in our lives who is deep? How do deep people live differently so that they become labeled "deep". I also like the point that pastors need to be developing the body of Christ, the church. People don't just develop on their own. Pastors need to train and cultivate people of depth and strength.

One area that may not sit well with some Christians is that Pastor Mac spends time learning how to teach others from a Jewish rabbi and the push to learn from and use the teaching style of rabbis is greatly emphasized in the book. We know Jesus was a rabbi, but the emphasis is a bit stronger in promoting Judaism as an equally valid belief system. Instead of a Christian approach, Pastor Mac uses the rabbi teachings and also the teachings of a secular business woman as his main method of teaching his church. Throughout the book (every few pages), he continuously and repeatedly praises these two methods as if they were life-savers, the very best way, and that many other people need to learn these in order to be successful.

Also, Matthew 18:15-20 is misinterpreted to mean "Jesus is only with us when two or three of us are gathered together". In other words, if you are all by yourself, Jesus won't be with you. This is a commonly mis-interpreted verse. The real passages, when read in context, are about dealing with sin inside the church: Matthew 18:15-16 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’..... 18:19-20: "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

My disclaimer - I received this book from the publisher free of charge but I always give honest reviews. I want you to be able to choose the best book based on stars because I know you have limited time and energy to read.

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