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Leaders Are Readers

President John F Kennedy was a voracious reader. According to a November 2013 posting in BoysLife.org, “An avid reader, JFK could read approximately 2,500 words per minute, nearly 10 times the average. In fact, he would reportedly read six newspapers every morning at breakfast cover to cover.”

Leaders are readers.

Further, leaders read and share with others that which they discover in their reading. For pastors, very few things can bring greater joy than investing in people through that which the pastors learns in their study and devotion.

I have cycled up and down in my reading over the years. Overall I’m doing much better than I did as a young man. I just finished Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham. Per usual, vintage and phenomenal writing by a master storyteller.

I like to mix business, ministry, personal and fiction in my reading. Most would not know that about me. I’m guessing that would be true of most pastors, as well. Maybe you.

Does it have to be that way? I suggest not.

Think about this. If you are in conversation with someone you trust and respect and they make a recommendation, don’t you take it seriously? I would guess that you do. The key to following that recommendation is “trust and respect.”

Pastors and church leaders are trusted and respected. They are called of God to serve the local church. They are honored and humbled to do so. As a result, people in the church trust and respect them.

Too frequently these same leaders discount that which God has placed in their minds, hearts and spirits. They get caught up in learning for the purpose of preaching or teaching better They value that which they learn in their personal time of devotion. But too often they do not share that information.

However, they are leaders.  They read – and read – and read.

The best leaders multiply their intake of knowledge, spiritual and otherwise, by sharing the best of the best of that which is influencing them through reading. Whether it be blogs, listening to podcasts, books, best articles, etc. these pastors and church leaders share those resources with others.

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In this age of instant access to knowledge it can sometimes seem unnecessary to communicate that which the Lord is putting in our minds through our own library, hard copy or digital. However, I can tell you the strongest leaders look for ways to leverage that which they learn through reading.

That is one of the reason I really like what my friend, Doug Hudson has done in creating a high-value resource called Hubworthy. This tool helps pastors and church leaders communicate resources to the people in their church, helping them have confidence in the pastor’s recommendation.

While reading John Grisham is not going to radically change a friend’s life, referencing his work does afford me the opportunity to talk about a high-profile secular writer who writes generally very clean novels with the highest levels of intrigue and suspense. It challenges my thinking and the creative senses in me.

When I read Andy Stanley and find value in his thinking, strategic and otherwise, I am better for having done so. My friends are better for me having recommended Stanley on to them.

What do you think? Are you an avid reader like President Kennedy? Maybe not 2500 words per minute, but can you really move through books, articles and blogs at a pretty good clip?

If you do, wouldn’t it be great if the huge volume of information you are able to assimilate could be made available to the people you are charged to lead at your great church? I would suggest, “Yes!”

Most people in the church do not read anywhere near the levels great leaders read. That is not a criticism of them. It does point out, however, the critical need for leaders to help streamline the process of finding information for those same people.

Information overload is the lay of the land. If I am a guy in the church and develop a felt-need for something in my life, I would absolutely cherish the recommendation of my pastor to communicate with me that which he believes would be of high value to me at that point of need.

There are some good tools out there today to help a pastor expose their reading to the people in the church. However, Hubworthy is the very best I’ve found in helping pastors/leaders to this end.  That statement is not a commercial; for me, it is a fact.

A 22-year old new believer in the church asks, “Where do I start with this new journey as a Christ-follower?” I’m guessing everything within you wants to guide them properly.

A 42-year old couple struggles with how to raise their two teenage boys. To where would you point them in terms of books, articles, blogs, etc.? You know. They don’t.

A 66-year old widower is asking how to have value to the church after retirement. Does your reading ever address the value of volunteers in retirement? How would you advise them?

These questions and a zillion more have answers frequently in the reading you do as a leader. Ramp up your reading and then intentionally share it with others.

You will be amazed at what God does in strengthening the discipleship at your church as a result.

Leaders are readers. Are you?

 

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