Thursday, September 23, 2010

guest post: Deb on the book club that's not a book club

How do you encourage other women when you don't have much time? Here's a brilliant idea from Deb: the book club that's not a book club. You could easily run something similar at your church - because it doesn't take much running at all.

Is it a regular book club? No. It all started, funnily enough, after reading your blog.

I was reading a lot about ministry and family, and some of your posts about balancing ministry and family in particular. I was also reading posts from your blog and EQUIP books about Carolyn Mahaney's Feminine Appeal.

I was ordering the book when I thought to myself, "I'm going to read this book anyway. Why not see if anyone else wants to read it too?" I thought I'd end up meeting with two people [many more came!]. I made it a one-off meeting because that's all I felt I could reasonably commit to and I thought people would be more likely to join in if it was only a single meeting time too.

This is my plan [she's done this twice now]: if I'm going to read a book I think might have wider appeal, and if it's not too soon after I've invited people to join in with the last book, I send around an email to every woman in the church directory (even if I don't know them!) and invite them to join in.

I make it clear that it's a general invite, and if they're not interested to just press delete and forget about it. So no pressure. I offer to do the ordering for them if they want, or they can chase their own copy.

I have given myself a couple of rules about the books I choose to share:

(1) It's a book I haven't read before. I don't want to start going down the path of reading a book and then thinking, "Now, the women in my church have a real problem in this area and I think they ought to all read this book." I'm working on "the plank in my own eye" principle. I try to do some firm investigating into the book to check that it's not going to have dodgy theology but that's not too hard to do.

(2) It's a book I'm going to read anyway. That links into the first rule - not choosing books because you think they are going "fix" other people - and also means that if no one, or only two, people want to join in, it's no big deal to me. I was going to read the book anyway. So I don't worry too much about the book selection in the sense of trying to find a book that the maximum number of women in the congregation will enjoy. I just pick a book I'm going to appreciate, and learn from, and go from there.

So that all flowed from the idea of balancing ministry and family. With a young family, I'm not up to much external ministry at present. But if I think about extending what I already do as an individual to include other people, I can manage to be involved in God's work without driving myself into the ground.

images are from Landahlauts and chelmsfordpubliclibrary at flickr


Karen said...

Hi Deb
Thanks for explaining how it works (I've been waiting to read your post since Jean mentioned your "book club").
Can I ask what books you've read so far?
Thanks for your post

Jean said...

The two books Deb has read so far are Carolyn Mahaney's "Feminine Appeal" and Ed Welch's "When People are Big and God is Small". Thanks for your comment - I'll pass it on to Deb!

Lucy said...

This is a great idea and so practical - love it!