Our staff reads a couple of books together each year. The pace is slow, and we cover a chapter a week. Right now, we’re going through Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Our Life Groups pastor leads the discussion and asks questions.
Not everyone likes to read, and you don’t want staff meetings to turn into a book club. However, the discipline of reading together is worthwhile. Before diving into a book, consider these guidelines.
- Pick out a book that will interest everyone. The exercise is fruitless if people are not going to read what you assign.
- Pick out a book that will unite rather than divide. You want to avoid turning the discussion time into anger-venting sessions.
- Choose a topic that is practical. What you read together needs to be implementable, not just theoretical.
- Select a season when most of the staff have time to read. For example, December is not a good month to discuss a book.
- If reading a book is not feasible, then assign articles to read.
What are the benefits of reading together?
- Reading together directs everyone’s minds in the same direction. If there is a particular issue needing resolution in the church, then assign a book with that topic. When everyone thinks together, ideas form in greater quantity and quality. One person’s creative thoughts will likely spur others.
- Reading together encourages accountability. Here is reality—not everyone on your staff likes to read, so they likely don’t read. Assigning a book forces the issue.
- Reading together sparks unity. Assuming you pick a book that is not divisive, the exercise of reading together is usually more harmonious than disharmonious.
- Reading together fosters discipline. Sometimes I veg out on TV rather than doing other, more productive endeavors. Assigning a book can help with the discipline of reading.
- Reading together raises the knowledge level of the church. The collective effort of everyone learning is beneficial for the discipling of the church body.
- Reading together sets the example for others. Not only will staff talk to each other about the book, they will also talk with others. When church members hear about what the staff reads, many will pick up the book and read it as well.
Church staff should read books together. The benefits are numerous, and it’s an easy exercise. Take the pace slow to reduce the stress of adding one more item to the task list. Then enjoy the discussions together.