the power of little books in the life of a church

guest post by: stephen cavness

about a year ago, i started a reading challenge at our church called "little books, big truths". i started with a dozen books that are small in size and page number, (and as such not very intimidating) but big in the truth included. here is the information we distributed: (pardon the capital letters, this was an "official" document!!!)

Little Book/ Big Truths!

If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth is not diffused – error will be. If God & His Word are not known and received – the devil & his works will gain the ascendancy. If the evangelical volume does not reach every [town] – the pages of a corrupt & licentious literature will. If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length & breadth of the land, anarchy & misrule, degradation & misery, corruption & darkness, will reign without mitigation or end.Daniel Webster

Why does today’s Christian find the reading of great books always beyond him? Certainly intellectual powers do not wane from one generation to another. We are as smart as our fathers, & any thought they could entertain we can entertain if we are sufficiently interested to make the effort. - A.W. Tozer You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. – Ray Bradbury

One of my greatest desires as a pastor is that the people under my care would read more good books. In this context (a pastor to his congregation) I am defining a “good book” as one that enriches the mind & soul with & stokes a hunger for biblical truth as well as love & obedience to Christ.

Objections that often come are “I’m not a good reader”/ “I don’t like to read”. While I certainly understand the sentiment, I also understand that life is full of our doing things we don’t necessarily “love” doing. But I have also found that those who begin to read with purpose discover that it becomes less & less of a chore over time.

Another objection is “I don’t understand all of those big words/concepts” or “I am not up to that level of reading”. While there are certainly books written specifically for the academy or for specialists in a given area, there are just as many books written for the “person in the pew”.

We should take intentional steps to grow in our understanding of the Lord & His word - to expose ourselves to those things that will increase our affections for Christ. (see Matt. 28:20; Acts 20:18-21; Rom.12:2; 1 Cor. 14:20; Eph. 4:11-15; Col. 1:28-29; 1 Thess. 2:9-12; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 2:2)

With all of these things in mind, I wanted to let you know that I have started a reading project for our church called “Little Books, Big Truths”. On the foyer table in the lobby are several books that are very small in size & page number (each could be read, even by a slow reader, in a week or so), but each of these books are HUGE in the truth packed into them. The topics cover a wide range of essential matters of the faith. I have hand selected these titles with *you*, the church member, in mind. Simply check them out as you would any book from the church library & return it when you are done for the next person to enjoy.

My challenge for you is to, over time (there’s no deadline!), read each of the books in this project. The benefit to your life & walk with Christ will be immeasurable. As an added incentive there will be prizes & rewards for those who read through each book in this project.

Certainly I am not advocating that we replace our scripture reading. These books, as are all good Christian books, are meant to supplement our scripture reading- helping us to think through, contemplate, & mentally “chew on” the truths of scripture. That is why I have handpicked books that have that as their purpose- pointing us to the Big Truths of the Bible. May God be glorified in our pursuit of Him, with our hearts, souls, and MINDS!

With you in Pursuit of Him – pastor stephen

here are the current titles in the reading challenge:

The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney

The Dangerous Duty of Delight by John Piper

Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow by R.C. Sproul

Five Who Changed the World by Danny Akin

The Grace and Truth Paradox by Randy Alcorn

The Goodness of God by Randy Alcorn

In Light of Eternity by Randy Alcorn

Just Do Something! by Kevin DeYoung

The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul

What Does God Want of Us Anyway? by Mark Dever

What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile

What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert

Worldliness edited by C.J. Mahaney

maybe you could help start a personal library for your family of thesetitles and others- or check with your pastor or church librarian aboutstarting a reading challenge in your church! those who read each of the titles at our church get a free esv study bible,but of course the best reward is the wisdom, knowledge, and affection for christ  that these books provide.