Formation via Fiction

What church leaders can learn through literature.

This is a highly unscientific observation, but I stand by it: In my scouring of bookshelves in pastor's studies and church libraries, I regularly find volumes from the corporate world about how to be an effective leader and efficient administrator; studies from the humanities about human psychology and sexuality; and manuals from the financial and legal sectors about budgeting, zoning, and liability issues. What I seldom, if ever, find is fiction. And I think that's a shame.

For much of their history, many evangelicals have considered novels to be either immoral or simply a waste of time. (To be fair, there are a good many novels that are both.) But good fiction (an entirely subjective category, I admit) can help a minister better understand the people to whom he or she is ministering - people struggling with doubt, addictions, or questions about calling and vocation. Here's a list of a few novels I think every minister should read, along with a few reasons why.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, ...

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