PROMOTING AND MOTIVATING READING HABIT AMONG MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL AND SETTING UP OF SMALL LIBRARIES- A PAPER PRESENTED AT THE TRAINING OF LITERATURE EVANGELISTS DURING THE SECOND BOOK FAIR ORGANIZED BY JOYOUS INNOVATION SIXTY-SEVEN IN COLLABORATION WITH SUPB BETWEEN 23RD AND 30TH OF APRIL 2017 AT THE DIOCESE OF OSUN ANGLICAN COMMUNION ISALE ARO, OSOGBO OSUN STATE. BY SISTER CHRISTIANA ONOBUN
Leaders are readers. Every leader is a reader. Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers. A lot of people read but they’re not leaders. If you’re going to lead as a minister of God, you have to be thinking further in advance than the people that you’re leading. There are at least four reasons reading is essential as a Minister of the gospel.
- You must read for inspiration and motivation
Harold Ockenga said, “Read to refill the wells of inspiration.” William Long, who wrote Christian Perfection and a number of Christian classics, wrote “Reading on wise and virtuous subjects is next to prayer, the best improvement of our hearts. It enlightens us, calms us, collects us, collects our thoughts, prompts us to better efforts. We say a man is known by the friends he keeps but a man is known even better by his books
- You must read to sharpen your skills
Aldous Huxley said, “Every man who knows how to read has in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the way in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.” Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Your mind is a muscle and just like any muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. You cannot wear out your mind. No one ever died of an overused mind. Just like every other professional, you as a Minister of the gospel have to continually be upgrading your skills. The way you do that is through reading. Make a list of the skills that are needed for your facet of ministry and then read in those areas.
- You must read to learn from others
It’s wise to learn from experience but it’s even wiser to learn from the experience of others. All of us learn from the school of hard knocks — trial and error. But we don’t have time to make all the mistakes ourselves. Socrates said, “Employ your time in improving yourselves by other men’s documents, so you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.” Employ your time reading what other men have already learned and then you can learn much easier what others have labored hard for. The fact is, you can learn from anybody. You don’t have to agree with everything they do, but everybody has something to teach you. We have assimilated lots of good ideas from many different sources and put them together in a new format and that’s what creativity is. All truth has been around forever. There are no truly new ideas. Creativity is taking existing ideas and making them work in a new way.
- You must read to stay current in a changing world.
If books are any indication of personal growth of senior pastors, a lot of pastors in America stopped thinking when they got out of school. They’re not reading anything new, yet they’re trying to speak on a weekly basis. In today’s society obsolescence comes very quickly. You can write a science textbook and by the time it gets to press it’s out of date. You cannot live out your entire ministry on what you learned in seminary. You have to keep growing and keep learning.
Against this background, it is pertinent, to share some tips about how the Ministers of the gospel can form good reading habit:
- Analyze your reading habits to see what you have read and what you really need to read next.
- Be intentional about scheduling time for reading, then read snippets of books wherever you are.
- Balance your reading. Read broadly. Include people you don’t agree with. This is how we are stretched.
- Mark up your books and take notes. If you use a reading applications, make highlights and store them.
- Know what not to read. Know your favorite authors, read the covers and tables of contents and the bibliographies to see if the book is worth your time.
- Read book reviews and book summaries to process even more books in less time.
- Build your library. Whether you prefer print or ebooks, develop a library to reference and to leave behind.
And above all, remember that the Bible is our number one priority in reading. You can get so caught up in reading other books that you don’t read the Bible. Make time for God’s Word before reading anything else. It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We need to spend more time reading it than anything else. If you want to be a growing leader of a healthy church, keep reading. It’s the only way to stay out front