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Why Post a Blog About This?

Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” I heard this quote shared just a few days after moving into my role as Campus Pastor at a small Christian college and seminary. To that point, I did not take the time to read. But that quote crashed a cymbal in my mind that continues to echo to this day.

Not everyone is called to lead. And for those who are called to lead, not all come from reading backgrounds (like me). We can firm those two things quickly, but are all leaders, readers? Historically speaking some of the best leaders were active learners through reading. Theodore Roosevelt, known for his outdoor exploits was a voracious reader and writer. When Elon Musk was asked how he learned to build rockets he quipped, “I read books.” Fundamentally, understanding and mastery is a process that ebbs and flows as the world changes. To continue to grow in understanding and skill, books are still a primary path to learning.

I have grown in my love for books: for reflection, learning, testing thoughts, and shaping my mind. In a world of growing media, I still spend more time turning pages than in the digital world. That love shapes how I lead and how I encourage other leaders.

Two examples come to mind when thinking about leaders and books at Rainbow Forest. First many, I hope all soon, of our elders have been reading through a very hefty systematic theology book. Each month they read, consider, reflect, and compose a paper which is shared with the other elders. These papers challenge my own thoughts, expand my understanding, and grow my passion for God. I am hopeful that the same can be said for each elder.

The second example of reading leaders is our paid elder team. Since I arrived in 2021, we have read and discussed books during our meetings and time together. We have covered titles on leadership, theology, church practice, etc. Right now, we are reading through On Pastoring by H.B. Charles Jr. H.B. became the pastor of his church at 17 years old after his father died suddenly after shepherding that church for 40 years. Thrust into ministry at a church with long-tenured leadership, H.B. needed to learn how to shepherd the flock. On Pastoring comes after 25 years of learning on the job and from the Word. The book is less of about “how to” pastor and more like a compass that ensures we are walking down the right path in shepherding the church. The book is outlined in three sections: the heart of the pastor, the pastor’s leadership, and the public ministry of the pastor. Subsections outline practicing patience, maintaining convictions, personal holiness, and preaching preparations. I think it will be a gift to our pastors and ultimately a gift to our church.

Why post a blog about this?

  • Hopefully, it will cause you to consider the thought of reading as a pathway to greater growth in the Lord.

  • Also, it could encourage our pastors to know that you are praying that this work is a blessing to them and their families.

  • Finally, to remind you that your pastors are not satisfied with just doing the job; they are still committed to growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord as he equips them for the work of ministry.

-Pastor John

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