Jeremy Stafford, Pensacola, FL — I believe that reading in general has to be an important part of your ministry. I read for two reasons: personal growth and message ideas. If I am not reading, then I am not growing. I have to be disciplined enough to read daily to grow so that I can help the people following me to grow. Included in personal growth reading would be staying in tune with the news. As a minister, we need to know what is going on in the world. It’s important that we be proactive in staying abreast of current affairs rather than being reactive (especially true in student ministry). The many books I have read are for the purpose of getting a different perspective or sermon idea. Personal growth and message idea reading can go hand-in-hand, but there are some books that I read purposely to enrich my pulpit ministry.
Jason Dillon, Madison, MS — Reading is important to the ministry God has given me; Bible first, ministry books after that. I have not purchased any books in electronic format simply because I enjoy the feel of a physical book and the sound of turning pages. I prefer an iPad because that is what I have and Kindle has an app available. My preference will always be a shelf crowded with books, versus an iCloud with invisible books.
Lee Wells, Rockwall, TX — Reading is an important part of my ministry, and I have recently purchased books in electronic format; however, my preference is still physical books. There is something great about holding a book and reading from a printed page. Also, when studying I enjoy highlighting portions for later use. I use Kindle and I do have books in electronic form, but I do not see myself ever getting rid of my physical library.
Kenneth Stewart, Tampa, FL — As a church planter, I feel that reading must be a priority. You have to recharge yourself because in planting a church, you are always giving out and at times you need to receive. I also find that it relaxes me and helps me to unwind and face a new day.
I love gadgets and have a MacBook, iPhone and an iPad. However, I just recently started buying eBooks. I do prefer reading a physical book as I like highlighting and writing in the books. I keep the books I am reading on my nightstand and find it easier to start and stop in a book with a physical copy. But I am trying to switch over to an all-digital format, slowly but surely.
I have a Kindle, and I also have used a Nook, but I feel the iBook app on my iPad is the best for me. I can definitely see the advantage because I have liked starting a book on my iPad and being able to continue reading the same book at the same point on my iPhone later.
Brandon Nero, Mobile, AL — Book reading is a necessary part of my ministry; it gives me the ability to stay connected to my world, have a broader view of the world around me, and be able to give a much higher quality of thought to my messages.
I purchase electronic books all the time; it makes things a lot more convenient. When I am at home in my personal library, I like hard copies of the material; however, when I am on the road traveling, electronic books would be my first choice. I use a tablet, to be more specific a Samsung Galaxy 10.1; it helps me to multitask better. I will purchase e-Books for convenience purposes, but I will also purchase a hard copy for my personal library.
Don Thompson, Lebanon, MO — Reading is an important part of my ministry. I have purchased books in electronic format, but I prefer physical books because of PC and laptop failures. I didn’t have them backed up, and I lost everything. Physical books feel more secure, and I always seem to find the place faster after the books have been sitting idle for a while. I use a laptop or my Samsung Galaxy Note but would never go with electronic books alone, as I do not trust my collection to a technology I have no control over.
Tim Kelley, Oakdale, LA — Reading is very important to me. I prefer hard copy books to electronic books because of the ability to mark the pages and make notes for future reference. I try to read two to five books at a time so my current knowledge input is not limited to one subject or source.
I will (and prefer to) use electronic books more as a reference. I use these most when doing research for sermons and lessons, but it’s normal for me to stack several books near my computer station to grab a piece of information out of.
I use the Kindle app on my iPad; however I can’t see myself building my library solely in the iCloud because, if for no other reason, it seems one can’t find old out-of-print books (particularly old sermon books) that are so rich in theology in electronic form.
Ron Wofford, Lufkin, TX — As Dean of Theology at Texas Bible College and as an evangelist, it is incredibly important for me to read as much as possible. As the old saying goes, “Leaders are readers.” When people cease to read, they cease to grow. At any given time, I am in the process of reading between three to five different books on various topics.
The majority of my book purchases over the last two to three years have been in electronic format. In the past, my preference was a physical book but that has slowly changed. The options in the electronic format such as the ability to highlight, make notes and search, as well as the copy and paste feature, makes the electronic versions preferable for me. Since I travel a good bit, there is also the advantage of carrying literally hundreds of books with me wherever on the road.
However, I still prefer to hold an actual Bible in my hands while doing my devotional reading. There is just something about the feel of the leather and the paper that just makes it feel right when reading the Word.
I use the Kindle almost exclusively. There is no specific reason for preferring it above any of the other readers out there, other than it was the one my electronic library started with, along with the fact that it can be accessed on any of my devices (iPhone, iPad, laptop) and it always syncs to the last spot being read, regardless of which device the reading occurred on.
I have already eliminated well over 600 books from my physical library in lieu of the electronic format. In the next couple of months, I will once again go through my physical book collection and will be eliminating even more of them. The value of the accessibility of my resources being in the iCloud is immeasurable.
When you consider that the most popular Bible software programs available are now based in the iCloud also, it makes an electronic library ever more advantageous.