One of the things which I think is so important in a ministry mindset is a big picture mentality. I wish I had one. But I don’t. For that reason I need to read, a lot.
Reading widely is important because everyone with whom you come in contact has a different background. (Surprise, surprise, not everyone likes what you like. Not everyone views life like you do. They like what I like. Obviously.) If you want to make connections, guide conversations, and build meaningful relationships, you need to know something about the person to whom you are speaking.
Reading widely allows you to converse with others. You probably don’t have the time to take a course, get a job, or learn a skill of the area of interest of everyone you come in contact with. But you could have a broader base to make connections. That is where reading comes in. You may have never served in Vietnam, but you could read a book by someone who did. You may have never led a Fortune 500 company, but you could read a book by someone who has. You may never have learned to to knit, but...plead ignorance.
Reading widely can open up new areas of interest for you. Here are several areas in which I have found it helpful to dawdle.
- History - Some of my favorites are “Undaunted Courage” and “Band of Brothers” by Ambrose. “Unbroken” by Hillenbrand was helpful as well.
- Business - Nancy Duarte has written some great books on business presentations. Podcasts and blogs are abundant (later post).
- Pop Culture - We normally check out audio books and listen to them at night or on trips. We listened to a couple of the Percy Jackson books (ok, but there are definitely better ones out there)
- Sports - if you are part of a league, group, or exercise club, read what they are talking about.