Ever wondered how to encourage students to feed themselves by reading great books?
1. Meet 1-2-1 to read with students ie teaching students how to read by reading with them
2. Book clubs – ‘opt in’ open invitations to join a group. The group could meet for 2 hours. In the first hour people read the material silently and in the second hour you discuss. A variation on this is to read an audiobook by listening to it together and then discussing.
3. Reading weeks eg end of term or end of year getaways with the aim of read through one book, talking and praying in the big points.
4. Peer-to-peer reading initiatives. Pick a book and encourage students to read it with each other in small groups of 2 or 3. Invite students to feedback in the student meeting on how it’s going
5. Regularly review books in services and student meetings
6. Get students to review books in student meetings – teach them how to review a book well
7. Blog about books
8. Give books away in meetings – really. Maybe after reviewing a book offer a free one to the first 2 people who put a hand up.
9. Get good books into the hands of students through a good book stall
10. Get into good reading habits yourself and modelling to students how to read well
11. Mention good books in sermons and talks
12. Offer a challenge eg ‘1,000,000 word challenge’. If you read for 15 minutes a day, six days a week you’ll read a million words in a year. That’s 20 decent size books.
13. Provide ideas on what to read by giving a balanced book list. Maybe put 12 books on the list to encourage them to read one book a term and one for the summer for each of their three years.
14. Teach on the value and need for reading: Seminar(s) on ‘why read, what to read, how to read’
15. Focus on getting leaders to read. Develop habits in young leaders not just to be buyers of books but readers.
16. Read books as a church staff team or as a student team.
17. Read 4 books a year with apprentices or ministry trainees
18. Help students to read classic books by running a short series in church maybe something like ‘books that changed the world’ eg Pilgrim’s Progress
19. Inspire the reading of classics by watching a film on Luther and then reading Freedom of a Christian or watching the Francis Schaeffer story and reading a Schaeffer book.
20. Inspire the reading of classics by doing a short biography in a service of the life of the author
21. Compel students to read evangelistic books that they will then give away to their friends.
Don Carson has said ‘we don’t pray because we don’t plan to pray’. The same can be said of reading. In a culture saturated with more immediate forms of amusement we find it so much easier to be entertained than educated. Reading takes effort, reading requires energy,reading means discipline, reading is never achieved without organisation. But reading is essential to our spiritual lives.
In a short series of posts I want to ask Why read? What to read? How to read?
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
The number of theological books should…be reduced, and a selection should be made of the best of them; for many books do not make men learned, nor does much reading. But reading something good, and reading it frequently, however little it may be, is the practice that makes men learned in the Scripture and makes them pious besides.
Just think how reading can change you!
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