A Reading Diet for Pastors & Planters
Leaders are readers. But what books should I be reading as a pastor and church planter? Is there a daily diet of book reading that would be most helpful for someone who has to wear a multitude of ministry hats and doesn’t have an abundance of leisure time to complete one of the great works of literature every two or three days? Below are some category breakdowns that have helped m put it all in order, and maybe will help provide you with a more intentional reading track for your life.
Few things frustrate me more than spending hours on a book that didn’t merit 10 minutes. As I’ve heard it said, “There’s no thief like a bad book.” So I’m thankful that this time of year, some of the leaders I respect most post their recommended summer reading. Introduce me to a good book, and we’ll be friends for life. These recommendations certainly aren’t all created equal, but here are some of the best of the books I’ve been reading of late.
Be it a skill, craft, or just general knowledge, to improve yourself is to learn. But you cannot learn if you believe there is nothing left for you to learn. What if what you know is only one of many possibilities, and some are better than others? What if what you know could be further enhanced by what others know? What if what you know is actually wrong? If you do not show humility and approach all things as an empty, willing vessel, you will not grow. Never assume that your mind is full, or that what you know overpowers what others know.
Most people I talk to don’t have a reading strategy. They just pick up something and start reading. I used to be like that. But now, that’s unthinkable to me. Sure, you might read a novel for entertainment. But think about it; why do you even read a non-fiction book in the first place? Exactly, you want to get something out of it. You want to learn things that you can apply in your life to grow. That’s the whole point. I’m often asked: “How do you remember information you read in books?” In this post, I’ll explain my system.
Reading great books can cultivate virtue in two ways: by modeling virtue, and by offering readers a way to practice virtues imaginatively through the act of reading. Karen Swallow Prior will be a guest speaker at Redemptive Presence: A Pre-Conference on Faith and Culture, an event co-sponsored by Harbor Media and Sojourn Network.
Summer is always a good time to dial all the normal activities back a notch and dive into some good books. Whether it’s the change in weather, the kids being out of school, or the natural change in pace, there’s no better time to pick up a new book and have your imagination or inspiration stretched, your faith deepened and challenged, and your heart and mind rekindled. Here are a few books that I can personally recommend, and would love for you to pick up one (or all of them!) and be inspired this summer.