However, I do believe that when reading books which deal with things like leadership philosophy, Christian issues or theology in general, doing it in community is hard to beat. This summer I’ll be walking through Bob Kauflin’s Worship Matters (my last post) with a group of people. Additionally I’m planning on reading Jonathan Edwards’ The Religious Affections with guy home from college for the summer. It was a book I’d heard he wanted to read and thought, “Here’s my chance to walk through Edwards’ classic with somebody!”
Here are some benefits to reading books in community:
- You see what they might miss, they see what you might miss. That’s the power of more “eyes” on the same pages.
- You’ve also added more brains to further dissect, ruminate and assimilate the ideas of the text. Some people think creatively, others linearly and still others may think in a way that defies definition – but the more “different thinkers” you have – the better potential there is for really breaking down a book’s contents.
- You multiply the potential applications that get put on the table to think through. Instead of one life pressed up against the matrix of a book, you have multiple situations that are intersecting with what you’re reading.
- There is better accountability to keep plugging through the text when it gets dry or dense, knowing you’ve got to meet with someone in a few days to talk about what you don’t want to read at the present. That 7AM meeting tomorrow morning at the local coffee shop with your reading buddies may be the only thing that keeps your nose in the book at times…and that’s a good thing.
- Now you get the added blessing of how the Holy Spirit chooses to use the truth of what you’re reading to affect more than just you. For example, maybe the conviction someone in your group begins to work through will be something you need to ponder in your own heart. Community can be a great instrument for the grace of sanctification.