This ad will not display on your printed page.
For years I have been frustrated by twin problems common to preachers.
First, I often know the principles I want to express, but because I preach regularly, I don't have enough illustrations to communicate them most effectively.
Second, I have scores of books and magazines I would like to read, but I simply don't have the time. My shelf is filled with good and important works from which I could glean powerful illustrations, but even if I were to read around the clock, I doubt I could get through them all.
But in the past few years, thanks to a readers' club, I have been able to file more than 1,200 illustrations a year that are up-to-date, that fit my style of preaching, and that come from a wide variety of sources I could not tap on my own. And I spend only a few hours a month.
I picked up the idea from Kenneth Meyer during a D.Min. seminar. He suggested pastors form a team of lay people to help with the research necessary for a regular pulpit ministry.
A readers' club requires only two or more lay volunteers, the magazines and books you select, some file folders, and, ideally, a secretary or volunteer to coordinate it.
The first step is to make a list of books and magazines you would like to read but will probably not get to. I choose books that are readable and not highly technical. Most of the books I already own, though some are available through the church library. For example, my list for one month last year included A Portrait of My Father, by Peter W. Law, When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough, by Harold Kushner, and Up with Worship, by Anne Ortlund.
The list needs to be updated and replenished regularly, so it's helpful to allocate part of what you normally spend on books, or part of a church book allowance, for the club.
I announce in the bulletin my desire to have people assist me with research for sermons, and ask interested people to call my office. Every time I have done this, two weeks of running the announcement has yielded ...