One of the values John Wimber tried to instill in the Vineyard is that of being lifelong learners. Often in the busyness of pastoral life it is hard to make sure we keep learning. There is actually a great joy in learning and studying that many of us forget in the day-to-day work of living. Learning is one important way that we can keep our ministry fresh and exciting. It requires an openness to new things that gives room for God to be God and show up in ways we never expected. Learning should be seen as an adventure not simply a must do task. But every adventure requires some good equipment to be successful. In this series I want to highlight some of the resources that folks have found helpful in being life long learners.
Books are a big part of learning. But there are a lot of books out there. Personally I have a lot of books, but that is because I am expected to know my field of study (20th century evangelical theologies) very well. Keeping track of all those books is one thing, but remembering which ones were great and where they walked off too is even better. I really love LibaryThing. It is cheap ($25 gets you a lifetime membership and they have free accounts for up to 100 books), friendly and flexible. My own library is available to me anytime I want. I buy a lot of used books so a quick web search makes sure I no longer end up with multiple copies of books (yes this was a problem for me). It also lets you rate books, create citations, find out what other people say about books, note who you loaned the book to, write and read reviews, etc. It also has a community, so you can find people with similar book interests and chat with them. I am also a big fan of the Early Reviewers club - cause who doesn't like free books! One other feature that I want to mention is that LibraryThing also helps facilitate sharing of books between members.
If you are looking for a way to keep track of your books then I highly recommend this tool.