Summer Book Clubs, Structure

Purpose: The purpose of the summer book clubs is to pursue wisdom collectively by reading books that deepen our understanding of God, ourselves, and the world we live in. We grow in wisdom in reading a variety of books ranging from books about the Bible itself to books about cultural issues.  

Method: We call this a “book club” rather than a “book study” because we are not primarily gathering facts about biblical and theological topics, but hosting conversations that sharpen each other drawing from the biblical wisdom that we possess as a body toward sharpening biblical understanding and practical faithfulness. 

Procedure: The effectiveness of a book club is dependent on the commitment of the participants. We ask that for each week of the book club, each person bring at least one question and one observation from the reading to share with the group. This requirement establishes the habit of asking good questions of the books read. Asking good questions is the key to active reading. Take ownership for your group; make as good as you want it to be by being an active participant. 

  • What is the book about as a whole? 
  • How do each of the parts contribute to the whole? 
  • Is it true in part or in whole? (Why or why not? Uninformed, illogical, incomplete, etc.) 
  • What is the significance of this? 
  • How does it compare to other things I have read?

Tips: 

  1. Join a book club with a friend who can keep you accountable
  2. Skim the book before reading it, and each chapter before reading them
    • Note the publisher, date, and any blurbs
    • Read the table of contents in detail
    • Read the chapter headings in advance
    • Pre-read things that you think will be interesting when you get to them
  3. Three simple rules
    • Use the book, don’t just read it: Use it to answer your questions.
    • Don’t be bored by it: You can increase your interest in a book by an interest in the author’s question and by trying to connect this question to questions you have.
    • Vary your approach to reading the material: Skim first, and slow read after; skip what is unnecessary. If need be, set a timer for each chapter to keep you going, etc.