I Wanted To Improve My Reading In 2016 So This Is What I Did

I Wanted To Improve My Reading In 2016 So This Is What I Did

“Books are what you step on to take you to a higher shelf. The higher your stack of books, the higher the shelf you can reach.” (Jim Rohn)

I love reading books. It may have something to do with the fact when I was a kid we only had 2 televisions stations (but the research is still being collected on that). I remember my favourite part of school was the monthly order from the Scholastic Book Club. During Bible College and later Seminary, I had more books to read than I would have liked but I still read for enjoyment. For the past couple of years I have a standing meeting every 3 weeks with a group of local pastors and we work through a book together.

This year I am determined to be more organized and strategic in my reading and I have decided to join the 2016 Reading Challenge by blogger Tim Challies. I’m going to take the approach I take at the gym, “light and easy”. I’m going with the “Light Reader Plan” which is 13 books. Here is what I have decided so far.

I Wanted To Improve My Reading In 2016 So This Is What I Did

A Biography:

World War I and II have always been an interest of mine and Sir Winston Churchill was certainly a huge figure in that era. I decided on Churchill because he was a bit of a rebel, controversial and he led the country through on of their darkest times. I haven’t decided which book to read yet but a few minutes in our local Library will take care of that.

A Book About Theology:

I have been saddened in the past couple of years to watch preachers known and unknown slip for the basics of Evangelical theology and embrace univeralism. To be honest, I find some theology books slightly boring.  Most of the people I have Pastored in 23 years are not kept up at night worrying about peccability or impeccability. With that said it is important for a preacher to be aware of current thought in society and current theological trends in the church. We are responsible to answer both sides with good Biblical theology. That’s why I’m going to read “Essentials of Evangelical Theology” by Donald G. Bloesch.

A Book Your Pastor Recommends:

So I went to my Lead Pastor Dean who I have known for going on 40 years and who I have worked with for almost half my ministry life. I said, “Your choice, give me one book to read in 2016.” He hasn’t gotten back to me yet and I’m afraid he will say, “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, all 1,179 pages of it. He’s just that kind of guy. 🙂

A Book Someone Said “Changed My Life”:

I know you can’t believe everything you read on Facebook. However, a local Pastor friend of mine says this book really made him think. It’s called “The Vanishing Evangelical” by Calvin Miller, it’s in the mail as I write this post.

A Mystery or Detective Novel:

Every year our church has an Annual Marriage Retreat usually in Niagara Falls, Ontario. My wife and I were sitting with friends talking about books and my friend Mark said he really enjoys Scottish author Ian Rankin. So I asked him to pick one for me.

A Commentary On A Book of The Bible:

I love preaching through Bible books. In the past 2 1/2 years I’ve preached through Jonah, Colossians and Jude. Deciding on a commentary was difficult for me but I settled on the book of James because it’s very practical and warns against “errors of doctrine and practice.”

A Book On A Current Issue:

In the church world, homosexuality is certainly a “hot topic” and the response of the church at times has been less than “Christian”. A quick check says there are a myriad of books to choose from. I think I’ll go with Kevin DeYoung whose book is entitled, What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality.  I like the way he has divided the book into two parts, “Understanding God’s Word” and “Answering Objections”.

A Book Over 100 Years Old:

I guess I have lived a sheltered life.  I have not seen many of the classic movies such as “The 10 Commandments” or “It’s A Wonderful Life” and I have missed many of the classic books.  I am going to remedy this by reading “A Tail of Two Cities” published in 1859 by Charles Dickens. 

A Classic Novel:

The explanation above applies here also and in this category I’m going with George Orwell’s “1984“. Why?Because it’s a famous title and it was ahead of it’s time.

9 out of 13

So I have 9 books accounted for and I’m waiting to see what gets published in 2016 that interests me.  However, I still need a book on Christian Living, a book with the word “Gospel” in the title and a Children’s book. Do you have any suggestions for me? What should I be thinking about reading in those categories? I’ll take suggestions in all sections because 2017 will be here much quicker than we can imagine.

Do you have a reading plan for 2016? I’m sure you already read many books in a year and getting to 13 would not take much of an effort. If this seems to much for you put a plan together that works for you and commit to it. Ask a friend to keep you accountable. You can also post your progress on twitter @ #vtReadingChallenge

“I recommend a reading program for preachers for lots of reasons, but chiefly because ti will tend to make the preacher wise. It will give her substance. This is especially so, I believe, with respect to one huge and obvious part of our preacher’s calling. Week by week the preacher has to have something intelligent to say on an intimidating list of topics raised by biblical texts. To do so she will need to become a minor expert on a good number of them.” (Cornelius Plantinga Jr.)

Here’s to a great year of expanding our horizons.

Photo credit: Michael Matti via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Written by Peter Walters

Peter is Connections & Pastor Care Pastor at Brooklin Village Church, just outside Toronto, Canada. He has been married to his wonderful wife Sarah for 25 years and they have two children.