I read a lot, which is funny considering how much television I watch too. I know I need to cut back on the television, but the reading it soothes me too much. There really isn’t much I won’t read except for Daniel Steele love novels. Not sure if I’m ready for a Kindle or Nook, because to me there is nothing better than opening a new book and smelling the pages…that’s right I smell the pages.
Reading for me isn’t just a leisurely activity, in fact it’s a way for me to grow in my calling. It’s definitely iron sharpening iron and a way to grab insight in a non confrontational way (if you don’t like the book you put it down.) And while it’s obvious for us to read blogs, books and magazines on youth ministry there are probably a few other areas we should be checking out, such as:
- Leadership: I have a book on Robert E. Lee that I’ve read, great book, great leader, lots of lessons learned. Now I’m not a Civil War General, nor will I ever be, but there are a lot of lessons that one can learn from a man like General Lee. You can learn what it’s like to fight self doubt, to embrace defeat, to move through chaos and those are all battles we fight in ministry. A leadership book is going to give us insight on what it takes to make it happen.
- Business: Now I’m not a fan of saying Jesus is our product, but we do need to look at churches and youth ministries like businesses. You have employees (ministers), you have customers (parents and teens) and you have systems (programs, events, etc.). I recommend Jim Collins as a good start to learning how to make your ministry or church more efficient. Again we don’t have to “sell” Jesus but we do need to make sure we run a ministry that’s built for success.
- Spirituality: Right now I’m reading a book called, “The Hidden Power of the Gospels” by Alexander Shaia which takes a look at how the Gospels were written. It challenges your perspective on how you digest God’s word. C.S. Lewis or Donald Miller it doesn’t matter what century or decade they wrote in, you need someone who is going to challenge your perspective of God or else you’ll find that you’ve put Him in a box.
- Adventure: One of my favorite reads this summer was “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. I enjoy the outdoors and running so it was an easy fit, but I also enjoy adventure. Sometimes you need to cut loose and read about things that are big. Fiction would be okay, but when you can find true stories about people that are larger than life, then nothing can be more inspirational.
Of course you need to read scripture, but I felt that was a little too obvious to mention here. In fact if that’s all we read we can find ourselves again creating a restricting frame work of what we believe. We begin to limit how big and great God really is, we begin to trap our minds and creativity. I mean don’t get me wrong, read the Bible, but read other things that will enhance that experience. So if you don’t have plans this week pick up a book, download one or go to the library (yeah they still exist) and enjoy a good story.
What do you read?