I don’t want to beat the proverbial deceased equine, but I do want to write one or two more posts advocating that you consider having a book table in your church. If you wonder why that’s important there are a couple of reasons. First, your people probably don’t read Christian books. Second, if they do read Christian books, they’re likely not very good ones. A book table supports what they are hearing from the pulpit and points them in good directions.
To refresh, I have suggested that you have 10-12 photocopied articles on a table for your people to take. There’s virtually no expense in that. Change the ones that haven’t been taken after a month or two so the table stays fresh. From time to time refer to an article in your preaching and have enough copies for most of your people to take one.
If that’s all you can do, it will still be a help. But most churches can do a bit more. We operated on a $500 per year budget, and if you realize that each book sold replenishes the fund, you can refresh your book table often enough. If your budget is especially tight, limit yourself to the excellent booklets or mini-books published by the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF). Log on to Westminster Seminary’s bookstore and search for “CCEF.” Many are discounted, but some have to be bought in packs of 5.
I also should have mentioned three other low-cost sources. Tim Challies is one of the founders of Cruciform Press, and you’ll find some very helpful titles here. In addition, the Gospel Coalition has produced some helpful booklets that you can find here. Whereas the CCEF and Cruciform booklets tend to address life issues, the Gospel Coalition titles are about doctrine. But don’t shy away from them! It’s a good opportunity for you to introduce your people to reading sound theology. Finally, R.C. Sproul has a series called “Crucial Questions.” These low-cost booklets address both Christian living and doctrine.
Between these sources you could spend less than $250 and put two or three copies of 20 different titles on your table. Why not take a look at what’s available from those publishers? I hope you’ll see that even if you are in a smaller church, having a table with good resources is within your reach.
On Friday I plan to suggest some other books that I think are must-reads for your people. Making any kind of a list of recommended books is hard, but there’s blessing in that. We have a wealth of very good books worth reading.
Consider how much your people take in from TV, news, the internet, and other reading. Compare that with the time they spend feeding their spiritual lives. If like most pastors you’re concerned about the disparity that exists, here’s a way of making some progress. So again, don’t discount this as a way to helping your people grow.
Have a good week!