- For Increase
- For Illustrations
- For Intermission
- For Inspiration
- For Imagination
I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest things I have realized about being a Pastor is managing time. A Pastor’s time seems to be demanded on many fronts; time for members, shut-ins, study, prayer, emergencies, and family.
A Pastor must be sure to make time for reading. It seems easier to make more time for TV and Social Media, but to find the time to pick up a book and read is difficult. Here are five reasons why Pastors should be readers.
Leaders are readers. A Pastor must be reading to increase their knowledge in theology, history, and even the current culture. As we continue reading, we continue growing. Whether it be by diving into a book dealing with the history of the reformers, to a biography of George Washington, or even a book on reading, Lit! A Christian Guide To Reading Books. When a leader believes they don’t need to grow, or increase, in their knowledge of different topics, they have stopped leading.
As one who preaches on a weekly basis, I’ve learned that my best illustrations come from what I have been reading. Some of the best illustrations are stories from history and biographies that relate to what you are preaching on. Even fiction stories on heroes overcoming villains and good versus evil bring great illustrations. I am currently preaching an Advent series at our Church and because of my love for The Chronicles of Narnia and from reading it on a regular basis, I was able to bring in illustrations from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Pastors, our reading can bring great illustrations to our sermons.
Being a Pastor can feel heavy at times. It’s a joyful burden we carry (and if it’s not a joy to you, you may not be called to it). We know, for the most part, what our people are struggling with. We know the sin in people’s lives. We know the heartbreak and the loneliness people are dealing with. We see the hurt and we feel the hurt. Sometimes, it can feel very heavy. Reading, to me, has become a great intermission, a way to escape, to relax. This is where I tend to read books that have no specific intention except just to escape. I like to journey to Middle Earth every once in a while with Lord of the Rings. Sometimes I take a trip to Narnia, or even Perelandra, with Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and his Space Trilogy. I love to take trips to Hogwarts with the Harry Potter books. There are many others that I like to read just as an escape, not to run away from the heaviness of things, but to have a time of relaxation when that Pastoral burden can feel heavy.
Many times, as I escape into these other worlds, I am able to find inspiration there, encouragement. Don’t get me wrong, daily time in God’s Word is the most beneficial of all of our reading.
“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” | Charles Spurgeon
I can receive encouragement there every time I dive into the blood-stained words of that wonderful Book. I am not saying that these books should replace that because they shouldn’t. However, in my reading outside of God’s Word, God sovereignly uses other reading to inspire sermon ideas, ministry ideas, etc..
As we grow older, a lot of times it seems like we lose our imagination. My imagination was insane as a child, but as I grew older, my imagination slowly diminished. I tend to find books that spark my imagination. Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Harry Potter will all do that for me. I believe, in order to preach God’s Word effectively, we must have an imagination.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
I am hoping to write more on this topic later.