You’ve heard the axiom “readers are succeeders.” Well here’s another little axiom you can hang your hat on: “church leaders who read, grow.” It’s not quite as catchy, but it’s true. And the opposite is also true. I’ve experienced this in my own life. Periods of growth that can be attributed, at least in part, to a habit of reading. And periods of drought and stagnation characterized by a lack of reading.
Reading isn’t everything, and what you read makes a difference. But reading is one of those habits that divide those who grow from those who do not. It’s a pattern common among the world’s most successful people. Reading is a humble practice because by reading what you’re saying is: “I don’t know everything, but I want to grow.” Or as Isaac Newton put it:
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
The church has an army of giants and she is producing more all the time. As church leaders we’ve been invited to stand on their shoulders, to apply what they’ve learned and to grow. And when we grow, people in our lives grow. Because when we grow, we lead. It just happens that way.
I’ve heard it said that leadership comes naturally for some people while others have to work at it. That may be true. But in my experience leadership comes a lot more naturally to people who read.
Case Study – Pastor Ed
I knew a pastor I’m going to call Ed for confidential reasons. Ed didn’t read very much. And when he did read it was always the same stuff. If you were to look on his small bookshelf you’d see a dozen or so books all on the same topic. And guess what he preached on every week? That one topic. And his church was in a noticeable decline. He knew it. I knew it. Everyone knew it. But things began to turn around and you could almost pinpoint it to a day. But that day turn into a month and that month turned into a year. Not only was there growth in his ministry during that period for the first time in a long time, but there was notable growth in the pastor’s own life seen in the advice and counsel he gave, in his conversations, in his preaching and in his leadership decisions.
One day I asked him what he did to turn things around. He said that he made a number of changes in his life and habits, but probably the most significant was in his reading habit. First he developed a reading habit. Then he diversified his reading material. His reading habit began to have a positive affected on how he lead his family, his leadership team and his church.
Church Leaders Book Club
Because of my conviction that church leaders who read are people who grow and help others grow, I’ve decided to launch a church leaders book club networked through this blog and on a Facebook Group. Every month we will be reading a different book for church leaders divided over a four-week period. Every Tuesday I’ll post reflections along with Q&A’s on this blog and linked over to the Facebook Group. And you can do the same and engage in discussion on the group or on this blog.
The book club will begin in August with Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. If you haven’t already, you can purchase your copy here.
- By August 5 try to have chapters 1-2 read.
- The second week will be chapters 3-4.
- The third week will be chapters 5-7.
- The fourth week will be chapters 8-9.
September we will be reading through Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World by Jorge Acevedo.
If there are books you think would be great for this reading club let me know in the comments below or in the Facebook Group. And finally, let’s grow this group together. Invite all of your friends in church leadership and see if we can help and support one another while providing great resources to grow our lives, leadership and ministries.
Here’s a little video by John Maxwell on the impact books had on his life growing up:
Question: What books do you recommend we read in the book club? You can leave a comment by clicking here.