The Profit of Reading Together
Something pretty neat happened last year. Our whole church read a book together. OK, not quite everyone, perhaps. There’s a lot of us. But a couple hundred at least. Enough that at least once or twice a month, a topic or idea or quote from the book comes up in conversation: in class, in the hallways, in small groups. It was a neat experience for a few reasons.
First of all, it’s great to realize people still read books. This may sound like a silly place to start, but some times it feels like readers are a dying breed, and since publishing books is kind of a big deal around here, it’s refreshing to hear people talk about reading.
It’s even better to experience the advantages of reading a book together. Our weekly church attendance pushes 1000-so it’s difficult to do anything together. But what a joy, and what benefit comes from taking on a simple project like reading a good book and doing it with our brothers and sisters in Christ that we gather with every Sunday morning.
Lastly, but most significantly, it was a great experience because it was a great book. The book was our own Ian Carmichael’s new book Busy. This book helps its readers with the task of understanding and ordering our lives in a way that brings a sense of priority to gospel growth and God’s glory. We had the privilege of having Ian come and lead some discussion on the book, and had the opportunity to hear his humble wisdom on what prompted him to write Busy.
Now months afterwards, we’re still dropping thoughts into conversation that start with “You know, like that Busy book said…” and this shows the profit of not just reading, but reading together. Learning together- as a church, a Bible study, a small group, a family, even just a pair of friends- is certainly more effective than learning alone. (Is learning ‘alone’ even truly possible? That’s for another time…) As a church we learned together about how we can better order our lives around the things that God calls us to: people, prayer and proclamation of the gospel.
If you’re a ministry leader, I recommend giving this a try if you haven’t—or do it again if you have! Pick a good book and have your group (church, staff, class, small group) read it together and discuss. Or, if you’re just looking for a great book recommendation, grab a copy of Busy. Better yet, grab a couple copies and read it with a friend. Even if (especially if?) you think you’re too busy, it will be time well spent.