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The Pastor's Bookshelf
Why Reading Matters for Ministry
Austin Carty
Foreword by Thomas G. Long

PAPERBACK; Coming Soon: 4/5/2022
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7910-3
Price: $ 19.99
176 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.5
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It’s time to give pastors permission to read books beside the Bible—even fiction. 

Six months into his first senior pastorate, Austin Carty sat in his office reading—not the Bible, not a commentary, not a theological tract, but a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. As the minutes turned to hours, while he sat engrossed in this book, he noticed something: he began feeling uneasy. And then anxious. And then guilty. What would someone think if they opened the door and caught him reading fiction? 

For busy pastors (is there any other kind?), time spent reading feels hard to justify, especially when it’s not for sermon prep. But what if reading felt less like a luxury and more like a vocational responsibility—a spiritual practice that bore fruit in every aspect of ministry, from preaching to pastoral care to church leadership? 

Austin Carty believes that this is exactly how pastors ought to think about reading. The Pastor’s Bookshelf shows how worthwhile reading is more about formation than information and how, through reading, a pastor becomes a fuller, more enriched human being with a deeper capacity for wisdom and love, better equipped to understand and work for God’s kingdom.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Permission to Read Freely
Part One: All the Reading We Don’t Remember: Reading for Formation
          1. On Formation
          2. Formation vs. Information
          3. On Information
          4. Developing Wisdom
          5. Learning to Love
Part Two: Not Just a Luxury: Reading for Ministry
         6. Reading for Preaching
         7. Reading for Pastoral Care
         8. Reading for Vision Casting
         9. Reading for Leadership
Part Three: For Whatever Reason: How to Become a Pastor-Reader
         10. Reading as a Pastoral Visit
         11. Reading as a Spiritual Discipline
         12. Reading with a Proper Spirit
         13. Choosing What to Read
         14. How to Mark and File What You’ve Read
         15. Reading Scripture as a Pastor-Reader

“One remarkable feature of Carty’s writing in this volume is how much of it is done in conversation with others, particularly parishioners and others who are on the receiving end of ministry. Carty hopes to encourage pastors who read, but not merely as a form of gratuitous self-improvement, but reading done among, with, and for the people of God.”
— Thomas G. Long
from the foreword