The benefits of reading will do more for your personal growth than almost anything else. I caught the reading bug when I was quite young. It happened when my neighbor, Connie, loaned me The Tower Treasure. It’s book one in the Hardy Boys series. I read it in two hours and went back to see her for book two. A couple of my early ministry mentors also drilled the need to read into my DNA. I am forever grateful to Rev. David Grubbs and Rev. Forrest Plants for their encouragement to read.
These days my shelves are overflowing with books. My wife gives me “that look” every time a new package comes from Amazon. But, I would not be able to accomplish all I do if I had not developed a reading habit.
Benefits of Reading
I was listening to the Ray Edwards Podcast the other day. He detailed a good list of the benefits of reading. I’ve adapted it and added a few of my own to the list.
Reading helps keep you current.
Pastors need to be able to see the culture, identify issues relevant to the church, and help congregants know how to exercise their faith in response.
Reading provides material for your communication responsibilities.
Pastors constantly speak and write. Reading will help you do both at a higher level.
Reading books exercises your brain.
My 8th grade science teacher, Doug Bench, has spent countless hours studying the brain. These days he’s known as “The Brain Training Guy.” His research shows that learning something new every day helps keep the brain healthy into old age. Reading widely in different genres will give your brain the exercise it needs.
The folks at Serious Reading agree: “Studies have shown that reading has strong positive effects on the brain. By staying mentally stimulated, you can prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is because, keeping your brain active prevents it from losing power. The brain is a muscle and like other muscles in the body, exercise keeps it strong and healthy. Similar to solving puzzles, reading books is a great way to exercise your brain and keep it healthy.”
Reading expands your worldview.
We need to see the world from other people’s perspectives. Books like Donna Thomas’ Become a World Changing Family and Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner did that for me. Of course, there are many more substantive books you could choose that will help expand your worldview.
Reading stimulates new ideas.
I love new ideas that come to me as I read.
Reading reduces stress.
The UK Telegraph stated that “Reading is the best way to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds, according to new research.”
What are you reading?