Reading and Ministry Success
Interviewed by Angela Repetto
David Manchack—Landmark Pentecostal Church—Little Rock, AR (100)
As a bi-vocational pastor, I do not get to read as much as I would like. While driving, I always have at least one book for relaxation and one book from an apostolic author in my truck. Since I like to read hard copies of books, I have not yet made the switch to digital. For relaxation, I enjoy reading biographies (especially from Pentecostal pioneers), military history, and the occasional Western novel. I have two bookshelves full of books on everything from doctrine to church growth. While I prefer reading apostolic authors, I will glean what I can from others.
Ben Corbitt—Faith Tabernacle—Pampa, TX (93)
Reading is very important for my ministry’s success. I probably only read about six books a year that are ministry-related. Recommendations are usually taken from my wife or close friends, and I occasionally do read fiction. I read both digital and physical copies. We make it a point to encourage and reward Bible reading at the church. Sharing books that I have enjoyed and receiving suggestions from respected family and ministers is a must. 2 Peter 1:3 sums up my feelings on too many extra reading materials as a necessity for ministerial improvement.
Mark Stacy—New Life Tabernacle—Purcell, OK (106)
Reading has helped with maintaining a fresh and new perspective in my ministry. As I spend a lot of time driving, I am often listening to an audiobook. I select my reading based on recommendations, or if it appeals to me. While I listen to a lot of audiobooks due to convenience, I prefer a hard copy where I can turn the pages and feel the book. Oftentimes, the subject involves leadership or inspiration. For relaxation, I do enjoy a good Western or mystery. I do not have any kind of accountability partner when it comes to reading and have never participated in a book club.
Bryan Shock—Turnpointe Church—Conway, AR (120)
Reading is very important to our ministry’s success. Technology has now made it easier to learn by listening. Several times a week I am listening to multiple presentations on any given topic. I choose my reading material in one of three ways: (1) I must feel directed to a particular book by the Holy Ghost; (2) It must be requested by my pastor or spiritual voices in my life; (3) The author is apostolic. I personally feel that putting things that are not true in my mind has an impact on my ability to discern the things that I need to discern, so I never read fiction. I do read mostly digitally and have not participated in any book clubs.
Bryan Spooner—Christian Apostolic Center—Flint, MI (128)
Failing to read on a variety of subject matter can handicap a minister. I read both the Bible and another book resource every day. Monday is a book on biblical character. Tuesday is leadership. Wednesday is discipleship. Thursday and Friday are when I read on the subject I will preach about on Sunday. I read from a suggested reading list from mentors and peers, but I rely heavily on the Lord to guide me in the books that I pick up to begin reading. This has proven very effective for me, as most every time what I pick up to read is perfectly timed for my current positioning. I do have a minister group that reads together and discusses the current topic. Most of my reading is hard-copy.
Ed Walden—Restoration Apostolic Church—Winterville, GA (131)
I know that I am a much better preacher, teacher, and counselor when I am well-read in the Scriptures and books on various topics. I rarely finish one book and move to another, but I am constantly reading multiple books at the same time. I usually select the books that I read by subjects that will help improve my ministry and calling as a pastor. When I have the time, I do read some fictional books. I am a big Western fan, with Louis L’ Amour as my go-to author. My pastor taught me the importance of reading, but the responsibility of reading falls on me. I cannot get into digital books, as I like to hold the book, flip the pages, make notes in the margins, and use a highlighter.
Timothy Froese—First Apostolic Church of Arthur—Arthur, IL (125)
Reading is a critical part of studying and preparing sermons. It helps me stay current with the events in which we are living and address the issues affecting our congregation from a Biblical perspective. I mainly read religious books that give me additional insight into the Word of God or inspire spiritual growth in my personal life. Reading fictional books for relaxation is not something I enjoy and I have not yet gotten into reading digital books. My wife and I share a lot of what we read. If one of us reads something that we feel would benefit the other, we encourage the other to read it. Most of the books I have read have been purchased from the Pentecostal Publishing House or bookstores.
Joe Martinez—Pentecostal Apostolic Church—Peshtigo, WI (134)
The study and reading of the Word of God are imperative to the ministry and the church. I usually read from other books about two to three days a week as time allows. Selections are based on teachings or subjects in the Bible, or if I know the author and have heard them speak about a certain subject before. For relaxation, I mainly read the Word of God. My reading accountability is to my wife and children, as they are who see me in my time of study and personal devotion. While I do like the convenience of reading digitally, I almost always choose hardcopy when I am studying and preparing for a message. I have been in a book club and love the discussion and different perspectives that come out of such meetings.