What kind of reader are you? Do you read just for fun and relaxation or for personal enrichment and transformation? Maybe it’s some combination of both. Do you read one book all the way through before cracking open another one? (You probably eat that way, too consuming all of your mashed potatoes before you have any green bean casserole. Does anyone eat grean bean casserole other than at Thanksgiving or Christmas? I digress.) Or do you approach reading more like an all-you-can eat smorgasboard reading several books simultaneously? I’m not referring to your stack of unread books that will make it into the rotation eventually but actually reading multiple books at the same time.
I find that I do both – reading one straight through and reading several at once. It depends on the book and the purpose. Some books are just too compelling to spend any of my reading time in another book. Grisham’s “The Confession” was like that. It had to be read. So did Platt’s “Radical” and Lyons’ “Next Christian.” But I’ve been reading Fagerstrom’s “The Ministry Staff Member” for several months now. It’s a good book and I will finish it. The format simply allows you to take it in pieces. I’m also reading Lucado’s “It’s Not About Me,” Scott Williams’ “Church Diversity,” Dave Kraft’s “Leaders Who Last,” and Troy Meeder’s “Average Joe.”
There are some books that I read more quickly because they were part of either the Booksneeze or Books for Bloggers programs that put free books in the hands of people who blog reviews of them. The faster I get one book read the more quickly I get another free book! (Did I mention that the books are FREE!) If I’m on vacation or flying more than usual I take advantage of that extra reading time to finish one or more books. On a recent trip to San Diego my wife and I read books on our Kindles while waiting in line at Filippi’s Pizza Grotto in Little Italy, while resting at Balboa Park, and on the beach on Coronado.
If you are a secondchair leader you should become a reader. In your unique position there is much that you can bring to the conversation if you have a first-hand knowledge of recent books and resources. You may have read something that would make a great illustration for your sr pasto’rs upcoming sermon series. You may have read a book that your entire staff should read together or that would make a great small group study. But there’s also the personal and professional training and enrichment that comes from reading deeply in your area of work or ministry and reading broadly in areas that you are not directly involved in.
Does reading one book at a time or reading several at once say anything about us? Are we more focused when reading just one book. Less so when reading several? Is reading multiple books at once a sign we are easily distracted? Let’s try not to read (no pun intended) too much into our reading habits but let me hear what you think. How do you read?