I recently read about a 2007 survey that found that the average American read four books in 2006. The article went on to talk about similar findings in other surveys taken since 2000. As someone who reads approximately a book a week I find this troubling. What makes this even more troubling to me is that I am finding that this same trend is true for people serving in ministry positions and other leadership roles.
Leaders are readers. There is simply too much information out there for anyone in a leadership position not to be reading. New information is being discovered daily that can make you more effective in whatever it is you are doing. Some of the old information that you might be relying on may at the least not be very effective today and at the worst might be harmful to your ministry. Just yesterday I was looking at some old ministry books in my library that I bought when I first began my ministry in 1981. I would hate to think I had not grown since then but was still relying on the information those books contained. (I actually used four of those books to prop up a display I was making which seems to be the way they are now most valuable.)
In December I will report on the top 10 books I read in 2010. I did that last year for my 2009 reading and received several comments from my blog readers about how much they appreciated that, so I'll do it again this year.
On my "to read" stack I now have eleven books that are waiting for me to tackle. Tomorrow my wife and I will do some Christmas shopping and on our way back home I'll stop in a book store to look for a book I'm wanting to read. I am about to finish reading two books and will be able to replace them immediately with others, and that is what I recommend for you.
What are some things you want to learn more about in 2011? What are some areas in which you would like to grow? Find some good books on those subjects and dive right in. Make yourself a list of books you want to read in the coming year and begin buying them. If you aren't sure where to begin reading, I sometimes recommend books in the postings on this blog. Just click on the highlighted words to see some of the books I have found helpful to my own life and ministry. Just be sure to invest in yourself in 2011 by reading some good books that will help you be more effective in all the things you do.