Dear Pastor, Please Read

Dear Fellow Pastors,

Please read.

“Men must read, if their ministry is not to become threadbare, thin, and a mere repetition of hackneyed commonplaces.  Always taking out of their minds and never putting in, they must naturally come to the bottom.  Reading alone will make a man full.” J. C. Ryle “Neglect Not the Gift”

We need to be reading, we need to be, as Ryle put it, filling our minds so we have something to give.  Some people ask “how do you have time to read?”.  It’s part of my job.  If I have been given the responsibility to shepherd God’s sheep, I need to keep my mind full.

And we need to read widely.

Rick Warren apparently has a rule of thumb of reading:

  • 25% from the first 1,000 years of church history.
  • 25% from the Reformation period.
  • 25% from pre-contemporary writers.
  • 25% from contemporary writers.

I would love to be able to do that.

I tend to read several books at the same time.  I have no idea if that is a good idea or not, it’s just what I have always done.   My pattern is to read:

  • Biography or history.  At the moment I am reading a bio of J. C. Ryle (hence the quote).
  • Theology or Christian Living.  At the moment I am reading Rediscovering Holiness by J. I. Packer.
  • Secular or Philosophy.  (something that helps me to understand the culture we are in).  At the moment I am reading How (Not) to be Secular by James K. A. Smith.
  • Fiction.  Because life is not all about ideas, it should also be about beauty.  That being said I am reading (or listening to) We are Legion, (We are Bob).  It did win an Audible award but it isn’t going to win any literary awards!
  • Leadership.  But I am not doing that at the moment.

If you are looking for ideas for what to read, here is a list of books I found useful last year.

So here are some questions for you:

  1. What are you reading at the moment?
  2. Do you have a plan to read?  (Please include in the comment section for others to be inspired by).
  3. Have you planned to read widely?



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