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books on a shelfIt’s been a while since I’ve read a book specifically about children’s ministry, which is sad considering some great kidmin books have come out in the last few months.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy them.  It isn’t that I didn’t benefit from them.  And it certainly is not because I don’t need them.  Trust me, I do.  I just read too much too fast.  About two years ago, I hit a period in my life where I read a lot about children’s ministry.  I was reading tons of blog posts and reading books as fast as I could.  I read a few books that had been sitting on my shelf for years and some that were new releases.  I read a lot.

But then I got tired so I stopped.  I have not stopped reading altogether and I still read quite a few kidmin blogs, but I haven’t read a kidmin book for some time.  I’ve chosen to read a variety of books on different topics.  Some are on leadership.  Some on just living a Christian life.  A smattering of parenting and marriage books.  The first Jason Bourne novel.  And even a biography/Christian living book by one of my heroes.

It turns out, I’m not only a better person because of it, I’m a better children’s pastor.  Being a kids’ leader requires a whole person.  My success in ministry is directly related to my success at my personal spiritual growth, my success as a husband and father, and growth in other areas of my life (including health and finances). 

Once I finish the current set of books I’m reading, I plan to jump into a couple of fiction works.  Will these improve me at all?  Yes, because sometimes it’s healthy to just read a great story for enjoyment.  God has gifted us with the ability to create and those who create great stories are using a God-given talent.  Larry Shallenberger wrote a great post on this very thing.

And only then will I start reading kidmin books again.  I have a list, but I plan to space them out to prevent future burnout.  Maybe it’s time you took a little break as well.  Read a good fiction work.  Read about a hobby (I personally read geeky science books).  Read something that stretches your thinking or, better yet, read something that you disagree with.

And a little known fact about me, my favorite book of all time is The Count of Monte Cristo.  It’s huge but I’ve read it twice and want to read it again. 

What is your favorite fiction work? Let me know in the comments.