Last Update 8th October, 2016.
Readers are leaders. Leaders are learners.
Pastors that last, always invest in themselves.
You have probably heard this before, especially if you’re a regular visitor to GrowChurch:
As a leader you should always be growing, improving, developing.
You should have a healthy appetite for life-long learning.
Today more than ever, we have 24/7 access to a vast array of books and blogs that are only a click away. We really have no excuse not to be well-read.
Sadly, I cannot tell you how many pastors I have met who admitted to me that they hate reading!
They just don’t read. They think it is boring. They say they don’t have time. But really, they would rather watch TV, surf the net or play video games.
A successful pastor of a large church I used to work for once told me his philosophy on reading. He said, “You should read at least one hour every day. If not, that is a day you have completely wasted.”
He then went on to explain why; “It takes an author 2-5 years of their life to learn the lessons they write in a book. Every book you read is 2-5 years of life-experience you get to learn from.”
If you think you don’t have time to read, think about this:
Learning by your own experience is the hard way. It is much easier to learn by someone else’s mistakes thus saving you from having to make them yourself.
Reading for just an hour a day adds years of experience and research to your life. You actually gain time by reading. Time you would have otherwise spent in frustration doing something the wrong way.
And that just scratches the surface of the benefits of reading:
- Reading expands our minds.
- Reading broadens our worldview.
- Reading clarifies our thinking.
- Reading fuels our creativity.
- Reading ignites our passion.
- Reading grants us access to otherwise unreachable mentors.
- Reading helps us lead more effectively.
- Reading makes us better preachers.
So if you aren’t in the habit of regular daily reading, I suggest you take my former pastor’s advice and read at least one hour every day.
What To Read? – The 3 B’s
We know it’s important to have a balanced diet when it comes to food.
As much as you might enjoy a good cheeseburger, if you only ate cheeseburgers every single meal for an entire month, you would probably never want to see another cheeseburger again.
We get this with food, but many people don’t follow this with reading. They read the same kinds of books by the same authors and never balance their diet.
So let me suggest three different reading groups that will help you redress the balance:
The Bible?! What!! I know, I know. A real shocker here, but please don’t miss this one.
First and foremost, before you read anything else, READ YOUR BIBLE!
And not just for your sermon prep – read it for you.
Every time I read the Bible I get something new.
The Holy Spirit continues to use God’s Word to shape and sharpen me. That is the amazing power of the Bible. Don’t forget it is all God-breathed.
It teaches, rebukes, correct, and trains us in righteousness so that we may be fully equipped (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
I don’t know about you, but I want to be fully equipped!
So, every year I commit to reading through the entire Bible. I have done it every year now for the last 4 years using a YouVersion reading plan online.
I personally find it really helpful to follow the S.O.A.P. devotional method from Wayne Cordeiro’s book ‘The Divine Mentor‘.
You might also want to check out this post entitled ‘How to do Daily Devotions‘
First and foremost, get in the Word!
Then, if you have time, read other things.
[bctt tweet=”Let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” James 1:21 (The Message)”]
Personally, I try to finish at least one book a month (although I usually finish 2 or more).
But one problem I have is that I am not a quitter. Once I start a book I have to finish it. It doesn’t matter how boring, useless, or repetitive it might be. I feel guilty if I don’t finish.
Sir Francis Bacon’s advice on reading says it best:
“Some books are to be tested, other to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”
There are three types of books you will read:
- Books that you should test – the average. Taste it to see if it is any good.
- Books that you should swallow – the good. Read it through quick and move on.
- Books that you should chew and digest – the amazing. Read it, take notes, and read it again.
Drop the average books, plow through the good ones, and savour the ones that change your life.
- Top 10 Recommended Books for Pastors
- Top 5 Must-Reads for Preaching Better Sermons
- 5 Christian Books That Changed My Life
There are so many good blogs on the internet that you can learn from an expert in just about anything.
And best of all, these are all available free!
If you don’t read blogs, then you’re missing out. Find good blogs about topics that interest you and subscribe to their feed.
A few blogs I love to read:
What good books or blogs have you read recently? Please share your comments below.