I’ve discovered that if I’m not reading, I’m not learning. And if I’m not learning, I’m not growing. And if I’m not growing, I have no right to be leading.
Reading and learning are the gasoline to my car. I’ve discovered that, the more I’m reading and learning, the further I can go in life and the better that I can come up with ideas and strategies to implement and execute them.
I love the following quotes about reading:
Some books are to be tested, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested – Francis Bacon
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body – Richard Steele
A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read – Mark Twain
He that loves reading has everything within his reach – William Godwin
The one technique to reading that I’ve discovered is to never read just one book at a time. The greatest innovations in history have often resulted when two seemingly disparate ideas, from different disciplines, are brought together. That’s why I’m always challenging myself to read from different disciplines, all at the same time.
With my current responsibilities in directing LifeWay’s initiative to resource church planters, multisite churches, and multipliers at NewChurches.com, in addition to consulting denominations and networks, writing books, preaching regularly, and leading a software development initiative to transform the way churches and denominations assess, train, and coach, I have a lot on my plate. That’s why I need to keep my mind sharp by reading, learning, and growing.
Here’s what I’m currently working on:
- Business/Leadership/Marketing: Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business: 10 Tools You Can Use Monday Morning – Ram Charan
- Ram Charan explains the importance of hitting singles and doubles, rather than just home runs. He talks about achieving profitable growth, not just in the sense of cutting costs, but also in generating new growth. I’m reading this book to help me point NewChurches.com, and the other initiatives that I’m leading onto a growth trajectory.
- Strategic Thinking: Thinking in Systems: A Primer – Donella H. Meadows
- This definitely stands as the primer in systems thinking. Meadows explains the relevancy of systems and how they affect our everyday lives. I’m reading this book to sharpen my Strategic strength (StrengthsFinder language) and to ensure that I’m continuing to think beyond the apparent issues that are standing in front of me.
- Productivity: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg Mckeown
- This is helping me relook and prioritize how I approach life and work. I don’t think I’ve ever been as busy as I am now. Nor have I ever had so much responsibility on my plate. As a result, I want to make sure that I’m not burning the candle at both ends and neglecting the things that matter most in my life.
- Faith: The Christ Of The Mount: A Working Philosophy Of Life – E. Stanley Jones
- Originally published in 1931, this book is a very unique take on the Sermon on the Mount. As a theologian and missionary to India, Jones was most known for his ability to contextualize Christianity to India. Reading this book is part of my Rule of Life where I’ve committed to at least read one book a year that was published before 1980. This book is also invigorating to my faith as well.
- Marriage: Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender – Beth Moore
- I understand that this isn’t a marriage book, but it is the book that my wife and I are reading together as a part of our weekly devotions. Once a week, we do our devotions together, and this is currently the book that we’re working through. We’re learning and experiencing the promise of freedom that Jesus offers to everyone who believes in him.
How are you growing and learning these days?