• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

I read it in a book

A lot of you are readers, like me.  We enjoying “swapping” or sharing insights that we have gleaned from the latest book (or article) we have read or been reading.  Usually the conversation starts off something like this: “Interesting that you should say that.  I was just reading something along those lines in ….” It is great to hear about what others are reading and profit from one another as we share what we are learning.Young-man-reading-a-book-001

However, reading a book or hearing someone’s summary or insights does not mean that you have actually appropriated those insights for yourself or “taken them downtown to your heart” as one writer puts it.

I have read a number of books on the Gospel over the past number of months: The Prodigal God, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness, and Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.  Each of these books has great insights and I could easily delineate some of those truths. Real change, though, comes as I interact with others and we ask one another the hard questions of what will be the outcomes of such insights in our lives and ministries.  What will transformation really look like for each of us?  How does the Spirit apply such insights and work change in our hearts?

If I’m just a ‘talking head’ of insights, I would be better helped by someone coming alongside and ‘talking me through’ my learning to be able to move it from my head to my heart.

6 Responses

  1. Ouch – I know that you do not want to discourage our reading…it’s an important part of leadership, of influence. But the admonishment to apply community, the ‘one anothers’, to implement our gleanings, is appreciated. Reminds me of Apostle Peter’s challenge for effectiveness and productivity; “add…to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control…” (2 Ptr 1.5-9)

    • No way I want to discourage WT members from reading. Like many I have several books going at the same time! But knowledge needs to be driven to some kind of application. That’s where community can help us.

  2. This is a good point David. We can easily become information gatherers. That is easier than the work of talking through the logistics and difficulties of application with a friend.

  3. Dear David,

    I would like to comment on your thoughts on sharing with others who can help us learn. I feel strongly that it is vitally important that we share with others not just what we are learning, but our highs and lows, our struggles and successes. I think it is very important that each Christian, especially each missionary, find someone with whom they can share deeply. We need to help each other and that only really happens as we share deeply and openly with another person. There are some things you just can’t share with everyone, with anyone, but you can cultivate a one on one relationship with a friend with whom you can share everything and pray about everything. Over my life I have been privileged to almost always have that one, close friend with whom I can pour out my heart and pray. I’m an introvert so it doesn’t come naturally, but my prayer and accountability partner is one of the greatest assets in my life and ministry. We share with each other and pray for each other. We pray for ministry and family and friends and anything else which is important. We hold each other accountable for those important things in life and ministry which sometimes fall between the cracks.

    We need to share with others what we are reading and learning and let them help us process the thoughts and ideas. We also need to find one, close friend with whom we can share life and ministry and pray. I can’t imagine life without someone like that.

    In Jesus’ love,
    Gary

    • Thanks Gary for taking us to a deeper level. Reading in community involves more than just sharing our insights, but actually speaking into each other’s lives and being able to share more deeply starting from what we might be learning in our reading.

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