Out of the dusty corners and onto the table.

The use of books, a potentially productive and educational aspect of church ministry, is often neglected.

As bookaholics will readily agree, books are a ready-made resource for instruction, information, and inspiration. They contain expertise far in excess of any local church, and they can be adapted to meet individual needs and interests that even the best schedule of classes in the church cannot. Books can put us in touch with the great Christian ideas and people; their possibilities are nearly endless.

Many people are still avid readers, despite laments over how television has reduced reading. With encouragement, many Christian readers would readily read good religious books, and less avid readers could be enticed to read material to make a difference in their living.

Beyond the usefulness of books and the fact that there is a large reading public, a further reason to consider a book ministry is the great flood of books now available. Though many Christian books are admittedly unworthy—and some even destructive—the number of fine books still exceeds what any person could read in a lifetime. A book ministry includes guiding people to the most helpful books.

But in spite of the great opportunities books afford ministry, “book pushers” are needed, for the potential is not automatically realized. Only a small percentage of Christians have significant contact with good religious books. Christians who are reading them at all are probably reading mediocre material at best.

The keys to an effective book ministry in the local church are simple: promote good books, and make them readily available.

The importance of encouraging the reading of quality books can hardly be overemphasized. To do ...

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