I’ve said a lot about the importance of reading in the past. We all understand that one of the keys for growing as a leader is reading. (Although it is not the most important factor.) I’ve also pointed out the importance of being exposed to a wide array of topics in reading. This develops the ability to see challenges from multiple perspectives and to connect dots in problem solving. For the past few years, I’ve been effective in reading a lot and a lot of variety. In 2018, I’m going to shift my focus.
I’ve got two problems when it comes to choosing what to read: my interests are many and my sources are plenty.
My reading interests include
- The Bible, the Church, Christian living, and discipleship
- History and biography
- Leadership, management, and business
- …and more
At the same time, the sources of my reading material are plenty:
- Journals and magazines
- Recommendations from trusted sources
- Items given or loaned to me
- The library
(One source you don’t see on that list is social media. I pretty much avoid social media other than as a way to publish links to these articles. I have always kept these outlets at an arm’s length and the social media chaos of 2016 and 2017 reinforced that decision.)
Combining my wide interests with lots of ways to obtain reading material creates an overwhelming stream of options. There are just too many good things to choose from!
So I need focus and purpose to filter those options to a manageable few.
Some helpful guidance came my way in the form a blog article by Jon Bloom at Desiring God. Jon’s timing was great because he was addressing those who were thinking through their reading goals for 2018. He offered 11 “Do Nots” for reading in 2018. I want to encourage you to read Jon’s excellent article, so I’m going to share just a few points that were particularly meaningful to me.
- Do not avoid reading the most important book of all, the one God wrote.
- Do not try to emulate the rare individuals who read one or even two books a day. There is no particular benefit in consuming a lot of content for the sake or reading consuming a lot of content.
- Do not get lost in reading. Engage the real world—particularly real people.
- Do not be afraid to put down a book that is boring or poorly written.
- Do not read what creates despair or hopelessness. Read what builds my wonder for and faith in God.
With these and Jon’s other points in mind, I have begun to shape an intentional plan for reading in 2018. Parts of my plan are solid and other parts are going to flex as needed. One part that is solid is that I will again read through the whole Bible in 2018 using the 6-volume ESV Reader’s Bible. I will also be doing some inductive studies during the year, but that’s more focused on study than it is on pure reading.
Most of the rest of my reading in 2018 will be from these three categories:
- Biographies of church leaders
- Theological topics
- Discipleship topics
I say “most of” because there will be other things I need to read because I’m part of various groups and teams that occasionally select books as well. I’ll add those to my list as needed.
Overall, for 2018, my focus is going to be on growing my understanding of God, the Church, and people. I’m excited about this next year and believe that God will help me grow in ways that He can use for His kingdom purposes.
Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.