Going Deep by Gordon MacDonald
“The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”
― Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
Returning to the fictitious church he first introduced in Who Stole My Church?, Gordon MacDonald unfurls the story of a group of Christians returning to discipleship as a priority in their lives. The discipleship is not solely for their own spiritual edification, as the modern interpretation has formed it, but for the purpose of leading others into a deeper relationship with Jesus. Rather than intelligent people with a faith in the brain, MacDonald emphasizes the growth of leaders who have a depth of heart, a weight that enables them to lead others to an ever deepening faith.
As he did with the previously noted book, MacDonald uses the parable format to teach the importance and process of dreaming, forming and implementing an intentional leadership process. While the topic certainly lends itself to a step-by-step, factual format, the use of story allows for a greater depth of discussion. For example, MacDonald could point out that some of those mentored would fail and then rehearse a process of discipline and restoration. By embedding the failure in hockey devotee Damon Marsh on the other hand, the entire sequence of prayerful selection, invitation, meeting, mentoring and failure enables the reader to see it happening, perhaps even seeing a potential disciple in front of us. The same things that make the narrative of the Bible so effective in teaching us the ways of God make Going Deep especially useful for those leaders who want to take their bodies deeper.
Church leaders and potential leaders will find much to apply in MacDonald’s book. The story carries the principles along without the need for bullet points or a study guide. Coming to the conclusion of the story, the reader who is interested in implementing the idea are left with many questions. I think this is evidence of MacDonald’s wisdom as it requires that the reader ‘go deep’ themselves in order to localize and discern the answers on their own. Even if the book is read simply for your personal application, you will come to end not being satisfied with the shallow waters near the shore any longer.
I’m grateful to Thomas Nelson who provided this copy for review.