Austin Carty has a Pastor’s Bookshelf and in his book he welcomes the reader to take a peek at that shelf and to learn how to build your own shelf. The subtitle says it all: Why Reading Matters For Ministry. Carty encourages pastors to read plentifully and broadly: fiction and non-fiction. The book is littered with Carty’s own vignettes of moments when reading has greatly impacted his ministry in a positive way.
The book has 3 sections and 15 chapters. It is a short and enjoyable read that will likely fuel your energies to go and read others books (it did for me!). He argues that for ministers we read primarily to be formed not to be in-formed. He argues that though readers tend to forget upwards of 90% of what they have read they are still the better for having read because of the other positive benefits. Among these positive benefits he lists are the right references and quotes for the right occasions whether they be sermons, visits, or personal reflection. He urges pastors to think of reading not as a “luxury,” but as a necessity for thriving ministry. He encourages ministers to block out at least an hour on their schedule everyday just for reading of any variety. This is for Carty only a start to the reading he would envision for pastors. He encourages them to read at home for an additional hour or two as well. In what is surely a play on the proposal of Kevin J. Vanhoozer for “Pastor-theologians” Carty sets a beautiful and enticing vision of what he calls the “pastor-reader.”
With a forward from a veteran homilitician like Thomas Long and endorsments from the likes of Will Willimon, James K. A. Smith, Cornelius Plantinga, and Andrew Root this is not a book that you want to miss. If you are a full-time pastor or a minister in any variety or capacity pick up a copy of Carty’s book and start reading. I guarantee that once you start reading it you won’t take much longer to finish it. It’s that compelling.
Purchase a copy on Amazon here.
And (if you care) here is a link to my Goodreads Page.