I am thinking it was a couple of years ago Capital One had a credit card campaign with the question "What's in YOUR pocket?" I read Philip Magness post on "What's in YOUR choral library?" And it reminded me of a common complaint I have had for years about Pastor's libraries. So often a Pastor's library ends up being filled more with "how to" books than with theological works. This is not a good thing.
Many times in my life I have been given the chance to pick over the libraries of retired or deceased Pastors. On one occasion a Pastor's widow gave me the entire library of her husband. I am sad to say there were not many books I kept from those occasions. Oh, I did pick up a couple of gems... an extra copy of Regin Prenter's Spiritus Creator, a wonderful devotional book by O. P. Kretzmann, and a very old Agenda come to mind. But most of the books were of little interest to me.
There were tons of preaching books -- well, let me rephrase that -- books of sermons. Most of them from Concordia (back in the day when volumes were produced) but a goodly number were from non-Lutheran sources (I think Abingdon mostly). There were volumes of books on children's sermons -- attesting to the fact that these are things people want, children tolerate, and Pastors are fearful of writing or "preaching." There were many books providing calls to worship, prayers for every occasion, model letters for every possible need, funeral rites, marriage rites, and creative worship texts of every kind (not the ordinary kind of stuff from CPH but stuff from, as Phil says, "Bapticostal" stuff.
Mostly there were "how to" books on every subject -- how to keep people from dropping out the back door or how to train elders or how to do PR in a church setting or how to recognize and cultivate "evangelists" or how to energize a passive congregation or how to teach children, youth, young adults, single adults, young married adults, middle age adults between marriages, etc... These ranged from little more than booklets to large tombs (yes I meant tomes but, heck, if it fits it fits) -- all the kind of stuff to make your church grow or be a good leader or build up a team spirit...
I was shocked to find so few books on theology -- sure the standard seminary texts but few of the good theological works of our present day or even a generation or so before. I was not surprised but still shocked that there were so few books on the liturgy (including liturgical theology, liturgical texts, the church year, etc...). I was shocked by the accumulated copies of journals published by non-Lutherans on non-theological subjects and wondered where were the copies of the journals from our Seminaries (free to each LCMS Pastor) but, apparently, tossed out - perhaps unread though I hope not.
It would seem to me that reading is essential to being a good Pastor... that reading theological works and books/articles on the liturgy would be the primary subjects of this reading (though not the only ones)... and that one might avail themselves of the good stuff available out there in journal format (from the Seminary journals to Logia to Lutheran Forum to CrossAccent to Gottesdeinst to Lutheran Quarterly to Pro Ecclesia to The Anglican Digest... just some of the ones I subscribe to)...
People often comment on my library (some 10K books) and wonder if I have read them all. No, I have not. Some are not meant to be read cover to cover as one would read a novel. Some are reference works that I use for specific questions. Some are theological works from college and seminary that I have not opened since but they are good books and occasionally I end up using. Some are new books that I purchased and have not yet gotten around to... yet. Some of them are very old books no longer in print -- which I cherish and loan out to no one. Some are multiple copies because when people borrow them they never seem to come back (The Hammer of God). Some I have because I am an old goat and started purchasing books for keeping (as opposed to for college use) way back in 1972. Some have been kindly autographed by their authors -- many of whom I call friends. Some of them have rude comments in them that prevent me from showing them to others (yes, Pieper is one of those authors who got my dander up on a point or two).
If you are a Pastor not inclined to read theological works, I would suggest you start. It is not too late to begin. Pick up a slim work (from the likes of Oswald Bayer or Arthur Just or even Chesterton) and read it cover to cover. Then read it again to learn to listen to the sound of authors voices as we hear them through their words on the page. And make it your goal to read a couple of them a year until it builds an appetite for more. You do not have to go cold turkey from those insidious how to books but put on a patch and wean yourself off of the practical how to variety and learn to read, to think, to speak, and to teach theologically (no, this does not mean with big words and stilted sentence structures but as a theologian and not simply a functionary in the Office).
What's in YOUR library? It may be revealing... and what it reveals may not be good.