My friend Jill posted a blog today about the plethora of books available to us. Jill’s comments were prompted by time spent visiting bookstores, though I couldn’t help but think that we don’t even have to leave our comfy chairs to avail ourselves of books. Anyone who owns a computer and has internet access can dive into the ocean of words through online books and downloadable resources. The printed word–books, magazines, newspapers (though these are smaller now than in years past), e-zines, e-books, blogs–oceans and oceans of printed words…
Jill writes… I once spent time with a group of young mothers, and instead of asking the older mothers for advice, they wanted the titles of books that could teach them to parent, because we all know books are written by experts who know better than we do. Or at least by lucky people who know someone in the publishing field. What happened to face to face living, to community, to sharing with live humans in the flesh and blood world? Why do we think books are so magical? (emphasis mine) *
I am reading book after required book as I prepare for ordination as a deacon in the Anglican Church. Most of these books were written by theologians and scholars, people who know a lot more than me. Some of this reading is dry–if not boring–but most of it is helping me better understand Scripture, the church, Anglicanism, and Christ-like leadership (that is, being a serving leader). But do you know what is most edifying? The discussion that ensues following each book. You see, I am doing this in community.
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself answering someone’s questions about equipping practices by referring them to a book. A good book–one that I have found true and useful–but words in print, nonetheless. Sometimes it’s easier and faster (for me!) than trying to explain a theory or a process. Yet I know that easier is not always better, let alone best. My justification is that they will be learning from someone wiser than me. There may be some truth in that… and then again, maybe not.
I’ve been an equipping practitioner/leader for over 15 years. Some of my experiences differ from the writers’ of the books I’ve read. Of similar experiences, sometimes I’ve drawn different conclusions than they did. My ways are not necessarily their ways, but my experiences can have equal value for the one who comes to me seeking answers to their equipping questions. It’s certainly not wrong to suggest printed resources to those who come for help. However, as an equipping leader, I am more faithful to equipping values when I offer an opportunity to process in community.
What about you? Do you have an equipping community with whom you process? If not, why not? You might be surprised at the wisdom you will find from other practitioners… and at the wisdom you have to share!
Why not join the equipping conversation at LifeServe National Conference 2011? I would love to see you there!
*Read Jill’s blog in it’s entirety at http://willowtreeharbor.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/of-making-many-books/