Book Review: Going Deep by Gordon MacDonald

Go Deeper and Out of the Shallows

 I am a fan of Gordon MacDonald’s books because he has a unique style of writing where he synergistically integrates principles, personal experiences, and biblical insights in such a way that he makes one think and desire to put into practice what he is writing about.

In his newest offering – continuing in the context of what he wrote about in a previous book, “Who Stole My Church” – MacDonald sets out to explore and develop the statement, “The future of the Christian faith will not be determined by the number of people who fill the pews but by the spiritual depth of those people…We seem to know how to get unchurched people to visit our buildings. We even seem to know how to draw them across the line into a declaration of personal faith in Jesus. But what we do not seem to know is how to cultivate spiritually deep people. Tomorrow’s church could be headed for trouble.” This book is a fictional exploration in answering these observations based on the experiences of the fictional pastor – GMAC – and his large congregation set in New England in the modern era. Macdonald sets out to “offer a detailed plan of helping churches cultivate people of depth–spiritually mature Christians that truly desire to make a difference for Christ with their lives, that will help grow the church.”

I personally enjoyed the book because as a pastor myself I can relate to almost every story, person, thought, and implication in the book. Like MacDonald I am a pastor that has had many ups and downs with people in seeking to be a “deep Christian” and what that means in the context of seeking to grow a disciple making church. I think pastors will enjoy this book more than most people – because they will be able to identify more with the story than non-pastors will. I would recommend this book either be read while on vacation, or a chapter a day – for Type A people – you will get frustrated because the story line will move too slow for you. As for the more reflective and melancholy types – you will enjoy the story more because it will appeal to you emotionally and you will be more patient with the developing story.

I am very concerned about the shallowness and lack of depth of most churches today, and I am all for “going deep” and think that MacDonald’s book will be used to help steer many church leaders, and thus churches in a positive direction. I hope that this type of book will spur church leaders toward deeper thinking, and result in developing disciples that are deeper and less shallow than what our previous leaders have done with their churches.

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


Gordon MacDonald has been a pastor and author for over forty years. For many years he pastored Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massacusetts and continues to serve as Pastor Emertius. He has also provided leadership to influential ministries such as Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, which he served as President for three years, and World Relief, which he currently serves as Chairman. Gordon’s best-selling books include Ordering Your Private WorldMid-Course Correction and, most recently, A Resilient Life. He also writes and serves as Editor-at-Large for Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal. When not writing, leading or speaking at conferences, Gordon and his wife Gail can be found hiking the trails of New England.