Reading is not lame! I can remember as a child getting a hold of my very first copy of “Pilgrim’s Progress”. Mrs. Kerber was my Sunday school teacher and I was was only 9 years old when our class had a contest that ended in me winning 2nd place and the a fore mentioned christian classic. The book was obviously published by someone trying to market to my age group. Christian was on the cover with a shiny sword, a suit of armor, and a look of determination on his face that clearly stated his strength in the face of peril. That book changed the direction of my life in 2 BIG ways. First, I began to look at the christian life as a journey and an adventure. Secondly, I fell in love with books.
With so many good books being published at record numbers today how can someone be sure to find the best of the best?
I have a few ideas.
1. Ask Other Readers
Find someone you respect in an area of expertise and ask them what they are reading. If someone has a successful small group ministry, ask them which books helped them most in preparing for small groups. If someone seems to lead well, ask them what leadership books they have enjoyed. Readers are not only leaders they also are great resources for finding the best books.
2. Trust the Classics
Though they may not be as popular as they once were they have stood the test of time for a reason. The writings of Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, and Oswald Chambers should be required reading for every Christian. Recently, I had a pastor friend from college recommend a work by the English churchman Richard Baxter called, “The Reformed Pastor”. “It’s not what you think.” he said. It wasn’t. It was an incredible book that truly helped me in my pastoral calling.
3. Listen for the Buzz
There are certain books that, it seems, everyone is talking about. These books are normally wonderful reads. For example, I had heard from multiple people and in multiple venues about Gladwell’s book, “The Tipping Point”. It was everywhere but I had yet to pick it up. While on a family trip with my brother and father’s family, they were both talking about the “Tipping Point”. At that point, I had tipped. I had to get in the conversation and I am so glad I did. Great Book! The same was true with “Simple Church” by Thom Rainer. I kept hearing about this book and finally read it, devoured it, loved it! So glad I listened to the buzz on that one, it has highly influenced our church.
4. Don’t reject it because it’s Popular
Just as there are men who only read what is “now”, there are also men who reject everything that wasn’t written by a puritan. There is value in modern church literature. If you haven’t read “Purpose Driven Church”, because it happened to be written in the nineties, then you are missing a great book. I can’t say I agree with everything in Warren’s book, but neither can I say that I agree with everything in “The Reformed Pastor”. When I first saw “Experiencing God” by Blackaby at Family Christian Stores I turned my nose up, but then I kept hearing my friends reference the work and found it powerful and inspirational in many ways. Not every new release is worth the time, but some of them are.
5. Pick a Format
A lot of people enjoy different ways to read a book. I read a good portion of my books through audio format. You may like to hold a book in your hand, or you may enjoy reading it on your Kindle or iPad. Pick the format that is best for you and enjoy your book.
Any good book recommendations? List them below in the comment section: