Ten Ways Reading Will Benefit Your Life and Ministry in 2020

Recently I had the chance to sit down with Auxano’s Digital Engagement Leader (and Guest Experience Navigator), Bob Adams, and talk about reading. We captured the conversation on the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast as a way to encourage other leaders in their reading. Many of us will create goals around reading in light of a New Year and, to some, a new decade of church ministry. In this episode, Bob outlines 10 Benefits of Regular Reading.

Inspired by Bob’s list, I have added some thoughts of my own and set up a personal reading goal for 2020 for each point made. Here are ten ways reading will benefit your life and ministry in 2020:

Benefit #1 – Reading builds a connection between your brain synapses. Unlike visual video media consumption, the thought required by reading forms new connections in your brain by stimulating thinking. Video media already creates the scene, moment, or location on-screen, as opposed to your mind assembling words into a picture. Read to promote brain health and growth.

2020 Goal: Read for at least 20 minutes every day.

Benefit #2 – Reading reduces stress by being a mental pressure relief valve. Reading, particularly fiction reading, takes your mind to a different place through challenging ideas or changing landscape. Reading slows your body but not your mind, in the way that Netflix watching will. Just a few minutes of reading can change your perspective and affect your emotions. Read to be a better version of yourself.

2020 Goal: Read at least one fiction or pleasurable book every quarter.

Benefit #3 – Reading increases knowledge at all levels. Reading forces you to confront new ideas and process them in light of personal experience or other reading. Reading builds your knowledge base around a particular subject allowing multiple perspectives from different authors. Even if you are only reading at an elementary level (Bob unpacks Mortimer Adler’sAdler’s levels of reading in the episode), knowledge development still takes place. Read to develop proficiency in an area or subject.

2020 Goal: Read one book on a subject or topic almost entirely unknown. 

Benefit #4 – Reading expands your vocabulary. Many books are written for a narrow scope of readers, or from a particular point of view. These books often contain a specific vernacular. Confronting and defining words you have never engaged before adds new ammunition to your conversational arsenal. New words create new worlds in your mind and your life. Read to sound and be smarter.

2020 Goal: Learn and incorporate 20 new words into everyday conversation in 2020.

Benefit #5 – Reading makes you a better writer. Everyone who communicates is, in some way, a writer. Pastors write out sermons. Managers write staff evaluations. Teachers write lesson plans. Every conversation in some way takes writing even if you never actually put words into print. Reading reinforces acceptable grammar and proficient sentence structure. Read to write better.

2020 Goal: Work on one communication piece (ebook, blog, sermon, or consulting plan) for at least one hour every week.

Benefit #6 – Reading supports the skills to be an analytical thinker. This benefit can be a challenge. Moving beyond face value in an author’s words to confront their opinion or point of view requires effort beyond consumption. You do not have to agree with every author, or every author’s position, to appreciate their book. Read to strengthen or challenge your convictions.

2020 Goal: Read one book I would ordinarily avoid because I disagree with the author or am dispassionate about the topic.

Benefit #7 – Reading builds focus. Engaging with an author creating a case or setting up a scene forces a level of commitment and concentration very different from our quick-cut video-driven culture. Books take time to understand and to process. This practice creates an ability to stay in a moment longer. Read to remain focused on the task at hand.

2020 Goal: Finish every book before starting the next one, even if I skim/seminary read it.

Benefit #8 – Reading makes you a better speaker. You don’t have to speak to large crowds to realize a benefit in your speaking from reading. Hallway conversations are impacted by reading as much as platform sermons. Regularly engaging other voices helps to grow your distinct voice, as well as bring content and perspective to just about every communication situation. Read to communicate on a higher level.

2020 Goal: Read, or re-read, one book on public speaking before my first engagement of 2020.

Benefit #9 – Reading stimulates your mind. Some authors are more mind-stretching to read than others. Nothing impacts your dreams like reading Len Sweet right before bedtime. Creativity and critical thinking walk hand-in-hand across the landscape of the reader’s mind. Taking the time to journal and challenge the author’s assumptions strengthens your resolve, or where needed, shapes a reformed view. Read to grow in thought leadership.

2020 Goal: Chronicle the reading of ten books using a journaling system/technique.

Benefit #10 – Reading doesn’t have to cost you anything. As Bob reiterated, most public library systems are not only a numerical storehouse of reading possibility, but they also have the newest titles on hand. Leveraging your local library allows you to read a few chapters of the latest titles before purchasing a copy you can mark up and annotate. It costs nothing but time to check out some library books, provided you return them on time. Read library books to save money or preview before purchasing.

2020 Goal: Make a library trip at least once a month as a family.

Here is a recap of the ten reading goals for 2020 above:

  • Read for at least 20 minutes every day.
  • Read at least one fiction or pleasurable book every quarter.
  • Read one book on a subject or topic almost wholly unknown.
  • Learn and incorporate 20 new words into everyday conversation in 2020.
  • Work on one communication piece (ebook, blog, sermon, or consulting plan) for at least one hour every week.
  • Read one book I would ordinarily avoid because I disagree with the author or am dispassionate about the topic.
  • Finish every book before starting the next one, even if I skim/seminary read it.
  • Read, or re-read, one book on public speaking before my first engagement of 2020.
  • Chronicle the reading of ten books using a journaling system/technique.
  • Make a library trip at least once a month as a family.

Will I accomplish every single one of these goals? That’s not at all likely. However, if I were to achieve only half, the way I work, rest, parent, and impact others will be marked by these reading goals. Check out the podcast episode for a masterclass on reading in this new year. 

What is one goal you have for reading in 2020?

> Read more from Bryan.


 

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Deliberate Practice of Reading, Explained

One of my greatest passions is reading.

I developed this passion at an early age, and have continued to strengthen it over the years. In addition to being my passion, reading is also an important part of my role as Vision Room Curator at Auxano. In that role, I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix every two weeks. SUMS Remix is a modified book excerpt in which I develop a solution to a common problem faced by church leaders from 3 different books. So, preparing SUMS Remix in 2019 alone means I have gone through over 100 leadership and organization development books to arrive at the 76 used in producing 26 issues this year.

Other parts of my role requires reading current trends books, used for social media posting and content writing.

Then there’s my passion area of Guest Experience, in which I am constantly researching customer service books for application for churches. I’m building The Essential Guest Experience Library.

And, as many readers know, I am a Disney Fanatic – which extends to building a Disney library, currently over 405 volumes and growing!

Finally, there’s just the pure pleasure of reading – an almost nightly hour or two in the late evening reading a wide range of books, both brand new and classics, fiction and nonfiction.

Add those 5 categories all together, and by the end of 2019 I will have added 268 books to my library, and brought home another 110 books from the library. 

First, a disclaimer: I did not read all 378 cover to cover. With such an immense (and pleasurable) task in front of me, and knowing there is more to my job than reading, I have to resort to some method of finding out what an author is trying to say without reading the whole book. There’s dozens of that total in which I only read the “highlights,” following the methods below.

To get the most out of a book in the least amount of time, try this strategy:

  • Read the title.
  • Read the introduction
  • Read the Table of Contents
  • Flip through the material, scanning the chapter titles and subheadings. Note the words that stand out as bold, different colors, underlined, or italicized.
  • Examine the illustrations, captions, charts and diagrams. Read the pull-quotes and sidebars.
  • Scan through the index looking for buzz words that interest you.
  • Read the first chapter.
  • Flip through the book and read the first sentence of each paragraph in each chapter. In a well written and edited book, the most important sentence containing the topic is usually the first sentence of the paragraph — but not always.
  • Read the last chapter. If there is an executive summary, read it.
  • Read any other information on the cover or dust jacket.

If the book captures your attention after doing the above tasks, then by all means dive right in!

The converse is true: if a book doesn’t capture your attention after a few attempts, stop reading it. Pick out another one on the topic – there are always more waiting for you!

With that caveat in mind, my “cover-to-cover” reading for 2019 was 213 books.

For the curious, like picking your favorite child (I have four), I don’t typically make a “Best of” list for the year. I find some value in almost every book I read, and for me, that’s good enough.

I talked about that in a recent podcast with Bryan Rose. You can listen here.

While the knowledge gained from reading is important, the real benefit is from the habit of reading. When you are continually reading, you condition your mind to keep taking in new knowledge. Your thinking remains fresh and sharp. Your brain is always churning on new ideas, looking for new connections it can make. Every day you pour in more ideas, which your brain must find a way to integrate into your existing knowledge base. Frequent reading fires up your neural activity, even during the periods when you aren’t reading.

Reading is a gift that you can unselfishly give yourself, one that truly keeps on giving. Why don’t you bless yourself and those around you by reading a new book in the first weeks of 2020, and sharing its wisdom with others?

Me? Well, I’m visiting one of my favorite bookstores later this week, I’ve got three books lined up for delivery by the end of this week, and I’m headed to the library today to pick up another couple on reserve.

After all, you can’t read all day…

…if you don’t start in the morning!

 

> Read more from Bob.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Adams

Bob Adams

Bob is an absolute fanatic about Guest Experiences, growing up watching his father serve customers at the gas station he built and operated for 44 years. Bob is continually connecting with corporate leaders in the customer experience world, learning and then translating practices for ChurchWorld. He writes, speaks, and consults on the topic frequently. Vocationally, Bob has a dual role at Auxano, a clarity first consulting firm serving the church. As Vision Room Curator and Digital Engagement Leader he researches, edits, writes and publishes online content. As Guest Experience Navigator, he leverages his passion, providing Guest Perspective Evaluations and Guest Experience Blueprints. Bob and his wife Anita have been married for 40 years. They have 4 children, 3 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 5 grandchildren.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.