For this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday, Mike Gafa, the Church Leadership Development Catalyst for Luminex, describes the concept of ‘Deep and Wide’ and how we can use this knowledge as a tool to assess churches and help them to improve.
The mission of every church is the great co-mission that Jesus gave us to go and make disciples. And the way we do this is to be both deep and wide.
To wide is to ‘go.’ We cannot bunker and expect people to come to us. Instead we need to get out and ‘be’ the church. But it doesn’t stop there. The great co-mission not only tells us to go, but to go and make disciples. The deep part is how we go about making disciples, how we raise people up to be more like Christ. Specifically, how are you teaching them? Exactly how are you raising them up? Then, the go (wide) part is how your church is getting away from the building and becoming incarnational in their community and beyond, reaching people for Christ and making disciples.
A simple tool to help churches assess how deep and wide they are is the “Deep and Wide” matrix. It’s a 1-10 scale, with 10 signifying off the charts good, whereas 1 means abysmally bad. Thus, five is about average, 7 is above average, and 3 is slightly below average.
Typically, the scores for each axis are different. For example, a church might assess themselves as a 5 for making disciples (deep axis), and a 4 for “going” (wide axis). So, within the deep and wide matrix, the church covers 4 x 5 squares, which represents 20 out of 100 squares, or 20% of what is possible. Clearly, there is opportunity for them to grow.
But why do we need to assess this?
It is not to feel bad about ourselves but to see how a church can improve. It’s to consider what the impact of improving by just one point on each axis in the next year. What can the church do to encourage more people to “go” and be the church in their homes, community, and beyond? And what can the church do to help people to become more like Christ?
So, going back to the original example- If a church assessed themselves as a 4 on wide and 5 on depth, and then were able to increase a point in both directions of the matrix, they would grow to be a 5 on wide and a 6 on deep. Then, their coverage goes up from 20 to 30, which is a 50% increase in one year over the next! This matters, because the “economy” of God is exponential in nature. Even a little improvement can lead to enormous gains for the cause of Christ.