"You sure do have a lot of books." That's usually the statement I get when one glances at my office. One might ask why does the preacher have a library, does he need one? The answer is because of the nature of our work.
The importance of reading/studying for the work of a minister can hardly be overemphasized. Great preachers are great students. Jay Adams said "In the daily work of the pastorate, it is easy for one to dry up, unless he works at keeping the mind green." There is definitely a need for continual education and professional self-development. Everything we know for ministry is not learned in the four years of Bible college or the years after in Seminary.
Although we cannot have all the material for ongoing education in our libraries, it is helpful to have some of it in our possession.
Here are some general principles in building a library:
1. Start small and build. Some of my material and books came from retiring preachers who were giving their books away. (Not everyone's library will look alike)
2. Don't overbuy. There is this thing called the internet and the local library. Selection of books is good. As Solomon reminds us: "Of the making of books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh."
3. Buy by author, recommendation and need. What is it you are trying to learn about?
4. Buy both old books and new. Learn from the "old" as well as new ways.
5. Cover a wide range of topics and books.
6. Allow your library to grow with you through the years. (Currently I'm in more leadership books and less youth ministry material as I once was)
Some suggestions is to ask others in ministry what resources, books they use. With the internet there are many online resources, websites, and online books one can get as well. (I'm seeing less physical books in some preachers' offices and more online, tablet materials being used and mobile offices and libraries.)
Some random comments about one's library:
1. Keep your books in some kind of order. Even the digital ones.
2. Develop a policy for lending.
3. See what there is locally to use as well ...colleges, universities etc. I went to a local college and used some of their resources, but also found a local seminary that revised their library to be for the seminary students only. (SAD policy)
4. See what webinars are available.
5. Have Fun.
6. Purge every now and then. Got a book that's just sitting there and collecting dust? Donate or see if you can get some $$ for it.
I had recently had given some of my old youth ministry books to some youthworkers who would get more use out of them than me.
Any other suggestions or recommendations in building a ministers' library and resources?
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