The Pastor's Bookshelf: Why Reading Matters for Ministry

Book, 2022, 168 pp
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It's time to give pastors permission to read books beside the Bible--even fiction.

Six months into his first senior pastorate, Austin Carty sat in his office reading--not the Bible, not a commentary, not a theological tract, but a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. As the minutes turned to hours, while he sat engrossed in this book, he noticed something: he began feeling uneasy. And then anxious. And then guilty. What would someone think if they opened the door and caught him reading fiction?

For busy pastors (is there any other kind?), time spent reading feels hard to justify, especially when it's not for sermon prep. But what if reading felt less like a luxury and more like a vocational responsibility--a spiritual practice that bore fruit in every aspect of ministry, from preaching to pastoral care to church leadership?

Austin Carty believes that this is exactly how pastors ought to think about reading. The Pastor's Bookshelf shows how worthwhile reading is more about formation than information and how, through reading, a pastor becomes a fuller, more enriched human being with a deeper capacity for wisdom and love, better equipped to understand and work for God's kingdom.

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