You Don’t Have Time Not to Read

Books&CoffeeReaders are leaders. Leaders are learners. You have probably heard that phrase before.

As a leader you should never be done growing, learning and improving. You need to develop an insatiable appetite for life-long learning. And today, with the internet and the vast amount of books that are only a click away, we have no excuse not to be well read.

Sadly, I cannot tell you how many pastors I have met who admitted to me that they hate reading!

They never do it. They think it is boring. They say they don’t have time. But really, they would rather play video games, watch movies, surf the internet, or do some other mindless activity.

A successful pastor of a large church I used to work for once told me his philosophy on reading. He said, “You should read at least one hour every day. If not, that is a day you have completely wasted.”

He the went on to explain why, “It takes an author 2-5 years of their life to learn the lessons they write in a book. Every book you read is 2-5 years of life-experience you get to learn from.”

If you think you don’t have time to read, think about this:

Reading a just an hour a day adds years of experience and research to your life. You actually gain time by reading. Time you would have spent doing something the wrong way.

And that just scratches the surface at the benefits of reading.

  • Reading expands our minds.
  • Reading broaden our worldview.
  • Reading clarifies our thinking.
  • Reading fuels our creativity.
  • Reading ignites our passion.
  • Reading grants us access to dead/unreachable mentors.
  • Reading frees us to learn about anything our hearts desire.
  • Reading helps us lead more effectively.
  • Reading makes us better preachers.

So if you aren’t in the habit of regular daily reading, I suggest you take my former pastor’s advice. Read at least one hour every day.

What to read – The 3 B’s

It is important to have have balance and variety in your diet. As much as you probably love a good cheeseburger, if you only ate cheeseburgers every single meal for an entire month, you would never want to see another cheeseburger again. Too much of one thing is not a good thing.

We get this with food, but many people don’t get this with reading. They read the same kinds of books by the same authors and never balance their diet.

So let me suggest three different reading groups that you should balance:

Bible

I know, I know. Shocker here! But, please don’t miss this one. First and foremost, before you read anything else, READ YOUR BIBLE! And not just for your sermon prep. Read it for you.

Every time I read the Bible I get something new. The Holy Spirit continues to use God’s Word to shape and sharpen me. That is the amazing power of the Bible. Don’t forget. It is all God-breathed. It teaches, rebukes, correct, and trains us in righteousness so that we may be fully equipped (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

I don’t know about you, but I want to be fully equipped! So, every year I commit to reading through the entire Bible. I have done it every year now for the last 4 years using a You Version reading plan online and on their Bible app. I’m on track to do it again this year.

First, get in the word! Then, if you have time, read other things.

Books

Yes, you should be reading books other than the Bible as well.

Personally, I try to finish at least one book a month (although I usually finish 2 or more). But one problem I have is that I am not a quitter. Once I start a book I have to finish it. It doesn’t matter how boring, useless, or repetitive it might be. I feel guilty if I don’t finish.

Sir Francis Bacon’s advice on reading says it best:

“Some books are to be tested, other to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

There are three types of books you will read:

  • Books that you should test – the average. Taste it to see if it is any good.
  • Books that you should swallow – the good. Read it through quick and move on.
  • Books that you should chew and digest – the amazing. Read it, take notes, and read it again.

Drop the average books, plow through the good ones, and savor the ones that change your life.

Some of the books I savor: Good to Great, Purpose Driven Church, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, 7 Practices of Effective Ministry, Systematic Theology, and of course, the Bible.

Blogs

There are so many good blogs on the internet that you can learn from an expert in just about anything. And best of all, you don’t have to pay for it!

If you don’t read blogs, you are missing out. Get yourself a free Google Reader account. Get an app for blog reading on the go (I use Reeder). Then, find good blogs about topics that interest you.

A few blogs I love to read: Perry Noble, Michael Hyatt, Tony Morgan, Ron Edmondson, Scott Williams, Jon Acuff, Seth Godin, and of course Pro Preacher!

Other Posts from the Best Year Yet Series

  1. Make This Year Your Best Year – Start Here
  2. 5 Characteristic of Goals that Work – Set Goals
  3. The Secret to Getting Ahead on Sermon Preparation – Get Ahead
  4. How to Eliminate Bad Speaking Habits. Umm… Like… You Know? – Speak Better
  5. Lose Wight; Preach Better – Healthy Body
  6. Why a Healthy Ministry Requires a Healthy Family – Healthy Family
  7. Out of the Overflow of the Heart the Preacher Speaks – Healthy Spiritual Life
  8. 41 Ways to Risky Preaching – Try Something New
  9. You Don’t Have Time Not to Read – Read More
  10. The Secret to Winning Time Management – Accomplish More of What Matters
  11. Do You Make This One Common Preaching Mistake? – Step Away From your Desk

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