About This Blog

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Going Deep" (Gordon MacDonald)

TITLE: Going Deep: Becoming A Person of Influence
AUTHOR: Gordon MacDonald
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2011, (386 pages).

The world does not need more clever or people of more good intentions. The world's greatest need is for deep people, or people with influence. This is the key message throughout this book. Beginning with his reflections on the mission statement of the famed West Point US Military Academy, he gives his thoughts about how Christians can become deeper people of influence through some 'high-priority leadership training' (v).

Over two calendar years, MacDonald (also known affectionately as Pastor GMAC by his Church in New England), reveals his thoughts and growing convictions about what the Church needs most. He repeats his emphasis of leadership being first and foremost about 'character' rather than charisma or competence. Deep people are those who are purposeful, being cultivated for God regardless of good or bad circumstances, quiet and devoted, visionaries, helpers, prayerful, caring, able to teach and mentor, and all exercising their spiritual gifts everywhere they go. This book picks up from the previous book, "Who stole my Church?" In that story, MacDonald talk about new ways of doing church, and about the need for change in the midst of a new era. This book shifts from the breadth of change, to cultivate the depth of change agents: Deep People.

MacDonald shares about his journey of learning the language of corporate culture, especially the 'elevator story.' He shares about how a conversation with a high school principle who helps him to deepen his desire to equip and train a few good people, 'more deliberately and more vigorously' (45). One conversation leads to another as he connects the dots of intentional ministry in order to crystallize this conviction about creating deep people of influence.

Rather than a systematic teaching of listing the steps to becoming an effective deep-person, MacDonald adopts a sharing mode, using the pages of his journal to kick start a conversation for readers to listen in. This method makes the whole process very personal, and intimate. He thinks out aloud for readers to hear his thoughts. He reflects on biblical truth and connects biblical principles with the contemporary needs. He meets regularly with his staff and church leaders to finetune his ideas as well as to share his passions about a new way of doing church: Discipleship through developing deep people of influence, or Cultivating Deep People (CDP). From conversations to interviews, meetings and email communications, MacDonald brings everything together by demonstrating how he does CDP. Instead of telling people what to do, he shows us. Toward the end of the book, he lets his convictions show through preaching, teaching, and continued sharing. For instance, he wears his teaching hat in several places, like when he is ministering to a CDP group by inviting them to reflect and to ask themselves probing questions (318). He even uses modern technology like Facebook for his CDP ministry!

The essence of change is evident in this book. MacDonald departs from his normally teaching style by adopting a more sharing format. He shows us how he does ministry instead of preaching to us. Perhaps, this in itself is a clue to how to cultivate deeper people. Like much of education, learning matters, especially leadership is more 'caught' than 'taught.' MacDonald has shown us that deep leaders are people of influence when they first learn how to be influenced by others. Leaders must be eager and passionate learners themselves. In order to appreciate this book better, we cannot dive too quickly into it. We need to tread gently at the beginning. Wade toward the middle. Take a deep breath, and swim intentionally and purposefully. With constant practice, we will find ourselves able to swim deeper and deeper.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No comments:

Post a Comment