Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Why Not Start a Book Club?

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Forming a book club is a great way to enhance the pleasure you get out of reading a good book. I’ve previously written about why you might want to consider starting a Faith and Work Book Club, which I participated in at work the last few years of my career. A Faith and Work Book Club is an excellent way to discuss a book and how to integrate your faith and work and be a positive influence and representative of Christ in your workplace. A few members of our Faith and Work Book Club who left the workplace at the same time I did have continued in a new book club. More about that shortly.

Greston, a friend who was in our Faith and Work Book Club and is in the new one as well, used to organize Leadership Book Clubs at work. Hundreds of leaders took advantage of these book clubs, and Greston took great joy in coordinating them. I participated in these book clubs and enjoyed reading and discussing books by Patrick Lencioni, John Maxwell and others with peers in my department.
There aren’t any rules with a book club. You can have several people involved or as little as two. One of my first book clubs was with a young man named Bryan from my church. We would meet at a coffee shop and read and discuss John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life. Over the years I mentored many emerging leaders in the organization I worked at. In many of those mentoring relationships we read and discussed John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
Some books come with helpful questions for discussion and reflections. Others may come with a separate study guide that you can purchase. If the book you are reading doesn’t include questions, the leader of the discussion will need to come up with questions for the group. While you can rotate leadership of the group from session to session, I’ve found it most helpful to have one leader for an entire book.
I would suggest meeting weekly, if possible. If you go out much further than that your group can lose focus and interest. If you do meet weekly, you’ll need to assure that the reading necessary is manageable for all members of the group.
Our Book Club at work started as a Faith and Work Book Club. However, the last book we read (and didn’t quite finish) was Tim Keller’s book Prayer. We had five regular attendees in the group, two who attended remotely via Skype, so technology allows you to include members who are not in the same geographic area as you are.
A senior leader who left our organization a few months before we did recommended Bob Buford’s book Halftime to one of our group members as a good book to read in our situation. That book is about moving from success to significance. Our book club still meets at the same time we did when we were working (7 am on a Friday morning), and before COVID we met at a local restaurant for breakfast (now we meet at a park shelter) and discussion of the book, and are not limited to one hour as before. Where, when and for how long you meet is completely up to your group.
My wife Tammy and I also do a book club. The first book we read and discussed was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. We’ve completed a few books including Philippians for You by Steven Lawson. We enjoy doing our book club outdoors (weather permitting), preferably at a local lake or in the backyard on the patio to listen to the bugs and the birds.
Book Clubs come in all shapes and sizes. Again, there are no rules you have to follow. Martha, a nice lady that Tammy used to serve with at a local soup kitchen, said that a different member of their group picks the book they are going to read. One of these selections was The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett.
I highly recommend starting a book club. It may be with friends, or just with others who enjoy reading good books. I’ve found that oftentimes it’s not so much what we have read, but the discussion about the book that I most benefit from. Have you participated in a book club? If so, what would you add to the above?

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 40 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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