I often get asked how I read as much as I do and if there is a way I choose the books I do.
I constantly have a running list of books, on my blackberry and on my profile on Amazon. Whenever I hear about a book from several people, it gets put on this list. I have to hear about it from several people for it to make the list. Too many leaders are not critical about choosing their books and therefore they end up wasting their time on bad books. If you are going to spend the time to read, read the right books.
What are the right books? Books you have heard about from multiple people, books that will stretch you. Read books by people you agree with and disagree with. Don’t just read from the approved author list of your church tradition. Read from them all. I am amazed at how much I learn from those I disagree with simply because of the questions they force me to wrestle with. This is one of the reasons I read every book Brian McLaren writes. I probably disagree with over half of what he writes, but he challenges me to think through what I believe.
Right now, I am reading several books for multiple reasons.
As a LEAD Team we are working through Bill Hybels book Courageous Leadership. As a staff, we are reading Dave Browning’s Deliberate Simplicity. Our small group just finished God, Marriage & Family. I have spent the last several months researching the Sermon on the Mount for our next series. I am beginning to research the series we are doing in the Spring on the book of Nehemiah.
I try to have multiple books going at the same time on a variety of topics: leadership, preaching, church, marriage, parenting, and something that is challenging me personally in my journey with God.
When I get burned out, I pick up a novel and then get back to the reading list.
The reason? Leaders are readers, plain and simple. The one thing every growing, healthy, effective church has in common is a lead pastor who is growing as a leader.