Reading is an activity that I greatly enjoy. There is nothing like grabbing a good book and settling down for a few hours of reading. One of my goals each year is to read one book a month (minimum) related to personal spiritual growth or ministry. In conjunction with that reading, I am usually reading a book that interests me personally. In the personal interest category I have recently finished, Sailors to the End and The Forgotten 500, both by Gregory Freeman. I’m presently reading A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin. The book is a great account of the Apollo space program. Just a few days ago I picked up The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson, a book recounting the Allied war effort of WW2 in Sicily and Italy. (All of the above mentioned books were borrowed from the Winter Haven Library, they have a nice collection of older and recent releases.)
On the personal growth and ministry side of things, I usually have several books “in process” at the same time. The book that is getting most of my attention in the ministry arena is Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. Famine in the Land by Steven Lawson, and Membership Matters by Chuck Lawless have both been very helpful as well. Two personal growth books that have challenged me and continue to do so are Total Abandon by Gary Witherall, (it will make you cry and inspire you), and The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers edited by Arthur Bennett.
The reading of Scripture is by far the best reading that you will ever do. May we never sacrifice the reading of the Word of God for any other reading. Below is a list of 20 reasons why we should read a good Christian book, after God’s Word, of course. Let these reasons challenge you to pick up a book that grabs your interest and read, read, read.
The list below was compiled by Colin Adams, Associate Pastor with Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh, Scotland. His blog is Unashamed Workman.
20 Reasons to Read (Good Christian Books)…
- You will grow in your knowledge of God, yourself and the world around you
- You will gain a better understanding of the bible, the book of books
- You will broaden your English vocabulary, helping you to express similar truths to your congregation in fresh ways
- You will have an improved imagination and actively engage your mind in a way that probably won’t occur when watching TV
- You will be able to sit at the feet of some of the great Christian teachers and minds over the centuries (even if you have few ‘living’ teachers to assist you)
- You will be forced to cease from incessant activity and think
- You will receive a historical perspective on current problems and spot present day blind spots
- You will have some of your questions answered and confront other questions you hadn’t even thought of.
- You will be able to practically apply Paul’s command to think upon “wholesome” things
- You will develop a sense of how arguments are constructed and be able to weigh both strong and weak arguments
- You will enjoy spiritual input during the week, not just on a Sunday (if not a pastor)
- You will (if a pastor) be able to engage with other issues beyond this week’s text, thus broadening your perspective.
- You will be able to mull over a subject. You will be able to put the book down to think, chew over a sentence or re-read a paragraph. You will be able to exploring an issue at length, rather than brush over a topic too quickly
- You will be better prepared for the task of evangelism, after reading clear presentations of the gospel by great communicators
- You will be better prepared for the task of discipleship, having a good way to open up discussion about Christian life issues (what are you reading?)
- You will be made aware of how Christians interpret and apply Scripture differently in various cultural contexts
- You will gain information for your ignorance, inspiration for your weariness, and insight for complex problems
- You will be better equipped to lead in your church, marriage and family
- You will be stimulated, as in a good conversation, to new lines of thinking
- You will be drawn to worship God, especially when the book centres on God not man