12 Ways to Read More as a Christian Leader

Leaders should be readers. When we’re not reading, our leadership can get stale. Our thinking can get stuck. Here are some ways for busy Christian leaders to do more reading:

  1. Set reading goals. If you have no goals, you’re likely to read less. Even a goal to read one book each year is a start if you aren’t a reader, though I encourage you to start with one book per quarter.
  2. Read your Bible every day. This goal should be the goal of every believer – but especially for leaders. When you’ve read your Bible during the day, you free yourself up to read other stuff without the guilt associated with not reading the Word.
  3. Beyond your Bible, read something every day. Get in the practice of taking time to read a book, an article, a newspaper, a blog, etc., each day. Make even brief reading such a habit that your day seems incomplete without it.
  4. Schedule daily and weekly time to read. You need daily time to take steps #2 and #3 above. In addition, schedule a couple of hours each week only for reading. Get up earlier or stay up later if needed. Use your lunchtime to read. If you have an assistant, have him/her protect your reading time.
  5. Give yourself permission to read only chapters. Look at a book’s table of contents. If only one or two chapter titles interest you, focus there. Quickly glance at all chapter titles and headings, then read the first and last section of each chapter to get a feel for the book – but devour the chapters that most interest you.
  6. Read with friends. We might read books differently today due to technological changes, but the old-fashioned “book club” is still in vogue. Read a book with a few friends, and hold each other accountable. Discuss over lunch what you’ve read.
  7. Ask for recommendations. Most of us are more inclined to read something that a friend has recommended. Another option is to check out the most popular books at Amazon.
  8. Have a book with you at all times.  Don’t miss opportunities to read such as sitting in a doctor’s office, flying on a plane, lingering in a slow line, or waiting for your spouse at a store.
  9. Don’t get bogged down with boring stuff. If you have a choice about what to read, feel free to push aside the worst stuff. Struggling through a bad book will weaken your passion for reading.
  10. Balance heavy reading with fun reading. Sometimes, I need to read stuff just for the fun of it. For me, that reading might be a military biography, a sports story, a humor book, or even an assassination account (not sure why – I’ve always been intrigued by political assassinations).
  11. Read some short stuff. It’s just good to finish a whole book once in a while. If you struggle getting there, choose something shorter. Some of the more popular Christian books today are short. 
  12. Include recommended reading on your church bulletin, website, or blog. If you want your church members to read good stuff, recommend some. Doing that, of course, requires that you read it first.

What would add to this list?

6 Comments

  • Daniel says:

    Hey Dr. Lawless, thank you for your article and time. I am working on creating a two or three day intensive regarding the Kingdom of God. The aim of this intensive is to demonstrate our lives in the Kingdom with the resulting implication being that something this good has to be shared, in a nutshell…
    I have found “The Devine Conspiracy” to be a great start. Are there other texts/helps that you might recommend as I continue to dig into Scripture in this pursuit? Any help is appreciated!

  • Jon Stallings says:

    Great list Chuck. Even if we have a few minutes we have enough time to read. I have found it helpful to keep a “To Read List” (I use Evernote). Whenever I come across a book I think would be interesting I add it to my list. Once a finish a book I can go to my list an easily pick the next one.

  • Chuck Lawless says:

    Good thoughts, Jon. Thanks.

  • Brian says:

    This is the exact reason I created MinistryLibrary.com

    Most of our members are avid readers and this tool allows them to “preview” tons of books and see which ones they really want to invest time into.

    It’s also s a great tool for staff and leadership development!
    Watch a 10 min. summary video then use our “no-prep” team workshop to lead a great discussion about the book and how it applies to your specific ministry.

    Thanks for the great content!!

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