© Vladimir Melnikov – Fotolia.com
A survey by The Jenkins Group, an independent publishing services firm, has shown that millions of Americans never read another book after leaving school.
Check out the stats:
- 33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
- 42% of college graduates never read another book after college.
- 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
- 70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
- 57% of new books are not read to completion.
It’s fascinating being a pastor. I’m fascinated, by and large, by people. I get to meet so many different types of folk at church. Being a pastor means that I also get to know people beyond a superficial level.
Are You Hungry to Know More?
There are two young men in their 20s at my church who stand out to me as Christians. They are very cluey on the Bible and Christian theology. They are thoughtful, well taught, and interesting. They are not easily led astray and they do not often misunderstand others. They are godly Christian men. What is interesting is that, as far as I can tell, they haven’t been at particularly good churches where they were taught well. They are self-taught. They immerse themselves in the Bible; in good Christian books; in listening to good online sermons. They are hungry to know more and grow as Christians.
What do I think about this as a pastor? I am MIGHTY impressed and grateful to God! Would that all my parishioners were like this! I have met many folk in many churches who have been Christian for decades. They love Jesus and are clearly converted. But they have the faith of an infant. They do not read. They do not study their Bible. They do not listen to online sermons and talks. As a result their thinking as Christians is shallow and immature. What a great pity!
There is so much for us to learn. I have so many books I still want to read: on theology, Church History, commentaries on books of the Bible, books of sermons, biographies… The list could go on and on. There is so much more to learn. My hope is that all Christians will have a hunger to grow in knowledge and maturity in their thinking.
Do we have a University or Sunday School level knowledge of Christianity?
If we want to grow in knowledge and maturity in our thinking, it can only happen by hard work. We have school and University courses because we recognise that a doctor or engineer can’t just “let go and let God”, but that they need knowledge and training. And while life itself and experience are great trainers, we also need to be trained in our knowledge and thinking as Christians. Do we have a University level knowledge of Christianity? Or do we still have a Sunday school level knowledge?
Some may object that I am being elitist and an egg-head! No. I have seen many Christians who are not academically gifted do the hard work and learning that I am talking about here. I have seen many Christians grow in intellectual rigour and knowledge and understanding, because they are Christians and are motivated to learn.
My hope is that all the Christians I meet will be like those two young men: that they will be studying their Bible; reading commentaries; reading good Christian books; learning theology… in short, doing everything they can to grow in maturity in their Christian thinking.