Creating a Reading Culture in Your Church

Many people today are talking about the growing biblical and theological illiteracy in the church. And it’s a difficult challenge to address, especially if the people in your church really don’t like to read. Or, if they do read, it’s nothing weightier than John Grisham or Jodi Picoult. Of course, reading isn’t the only way to increase your understanding of the Bible and theology. But it is a really good one. So what do you do if you’re in a non-reading church?

Here’s a short video from Mark Dever on how to create a reading culture in your church. He offers some practical tips from his own ministry like developing the habit of giving away books and regularly introducing people to authors who are worth reading.

What about you? Do you have any suggestions for how to create a church culture that values reading? 

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof at Wheaton College, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

3 thoughts on “Creating a Reading Culture in Your Church

  1. Thank you for the practical side of this. Now instead of just complaining about the illiteracy of our congregations we have some tools to help. I have done some of this but the give always in the service is a great idea.

  2. Good stuff. Making sure that there’s a frequent overlap between the book giveaways and the books we cite in sermons — so that a reference is not just offhand, or over anyone’s head, but something that at least a few will have a chance to go home and read for themselves that week — would make sense, too. But what about biblical literacy? Should a portion of the books given away be new study Bibles? Or popular paraphrases? Should there be more frequent challenges to read the book being preached on, so that the congregation comes back with questions to ask next week?

  3. Amen to Marc Cortez for raising the topic. The Mark Dever video segment is particularly valuable for pastors wanting to establish a reading culture in their churches. I wrote The Messiah Scrolls to help achieve this purpose.

    I wrote the Messiah Scrolls, utilizing the latest e-literature technology, so that both Christian and non-Christian reader could go back into the essence of first discipleship/first mission – getting to know those historical individuals, commissioned by Jesus, led by his Holy Spirit, to form the New Testament.

    I wrote the Annotated Parable of The Messiah Scrolls as a work of collaboration with the reader – an online web-book format integrating biblical references into a fictional epic about the origins of first Christian community.

    I wrote the Messiah Scrolls for church pastors and seminary faculty to use as an online teaching tool and reference for courses in New Testament Theology and Spiritual Formation.

    Utilizing e-literature technology, the effect of presenting to, and encouraging Christians and non-Christians alike to read and study the bible in an engaging online context, is one modern way to bring mental and emotional engagement with the underlying biblical beliefs and practices of the first century Christians.

    “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, in humility receive the Word Implanted, which is able to save your soul” James 1:21

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