I love to read books in a variety of genres (almost entirely non-fiction, and on a Kindle device), including theology, sports, leadership, professional development, devotional, biography and Christian living. I always have multiple books in progress at one time. Perhaps I got my love of reading from my parents, who were both avid readers, though neither my brother nor sister enjoy reading.
For the past few years, I’ve enjoyed assisting one of our pastors teach seminary students soft skills through the NXTGEN Pastors organization. Recently, we covered a module titled “Reading Life of a Pastor”, written by Chris Vogel and Andy Perry.
As part of the lesson, we asked the participants to bring one book (other than the Bible) that has shaped them into who they are, has made an impact in their life, that gives comfort when needed, etc. It was a joy to hear what the men shared. Personally, I shared two books – The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul (to help me with theological foundation), and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper (to encourage me to return to seminary). What book(s) would you have shared?
Now, I’m not a pastor, and chances are the majority who read this are not as well. But chances are, you are a reader. If you are, there was a lot of information in this module that you might find as interesting as I did.
For example, did you know that:
- 33% of high school graduates never read another book the rest of their lives.
- 42% of college graduates never read another book after graduation.
- 70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore the past 5 years.
- 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
Why is reading a good practice? Here are a few reasons:
- It calms us down. When we’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, the best cure to calm our nerves is in a book. Studies have shown that reading was the best way to overcome stress, even over activities such as going on a walk or listening to music.
- It may prevent diseases. Research has found that those who read more often are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
- It helps us tap into our imagination. Immersing ourselves in another world helps us tap into our imagination, which then impacts our day-to-day creativity.
- Fiction increases our empathy. After studying readers who read engaging stories, researchers found they had an increase in empathetic skills. Investing in a character or storyline makes us more understanding and aware of others’ lives and challenges, helping us see past our own assumptions or stereotypes. This was interesting to me, as I almost never read fiction.
- We sleep better. Reading for 15-20 minutes before bed is a great way to relax and prepare for a great night’s sleep.
- We’re smarter after reading. Reading increases our linguistic skills. The more we read, the more vocabulary we’re exposed to. This helps us become more articulate, whether we’re speaking face to face with others or writing our thoughts down on a page. The more facts, situations, vocabulary, and perspectives we come across, the smarter we become.
What would you add to this list of benefits of reading?