Going Deep by Gordon MacDonald was a challenging book to read. First, it challenged me to think about what makes “deep” Christians and second, it challenged me because, frankly, it was long and wordy. I stuck with it, however, because Gordon MacDonald has proven to the world that he is a “deep” Christian with other books he has written such as Ordering Your Private World which impacted myself and many others in the 1980’s.

What is a “deep” Christian? According to this author it is someone who is committed to maturing, growing and passing on the faith no matter the cost. In Growing Deep, MacDonald uses a fictional account (based on his personal experience) to show the reader what a pastor and his wife might experience as they strive to develop deep people within the church. All that is well and good but why did it take such a lengthy book to reveal that to the reader? I found myself growing very impatient with the many conversations between husband and wife as they tried to discern God’s leading, as they searched for words to describe what they were experiencing and as they wondered and prayed if their church would get on board with what was essentially going to be a very in-depth discipleship program.

I found the conversation between the pastor and his a local Rabbi fascinating as the Rabbi pointed out that Christians completely overlook Jesus’ rabbinical approach to his disciples. That chapter, alone, was central to the book.

I (again) wondered about the purpose of sharing a conversation between a successful hotel CEO and the pastor. We all know that we do not run most churches with the same kind of skill and leadership that we run a successful hotel but…so? What’s new?

This book was challenging to me as I considered how the church is supposed to help others mature. How do we develop future leaders? How do we discern who is willing to be committed to the hard work of stepping into maturing. How did Jesus do it?

I liked the book but I felt that the format was too wordy. Why did Gordon MacDonald tell it in such a lengthy story form? The book could have been shorter but still been motivating. Perhaps Mr. MacDonald wanted to convey that discerning God’s leading in the church is never easy but always worth it.

I would recommend this book to church leadership with reservations.

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for review.