Pastoral Responsibility

John Piper is Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. He grew up in Greenville, SC, and studied at Wheaton College. He went on to earn degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.) and the University of Munich (D.Theol.). For six years he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, MN, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem. John is the author of more than 40 books.

He has a terrific book out called Brothers we are not professionals. It is a call to Biblically defined Christian ministry and a plea for ministers to abandon the paradigm of Pastor as CEO and resume the calling of Pastor as Minister and spiritual leader. Ours is a spiritual calling. Our nation needs Pastors who see ministry as a spiritual calling, informed and empowered, not by the spirit of man, but by the Spirit of God.

In his book John Piper pleads with fellow pastors to abandon the secularization of the pastorate and pursue the prophetic call of the Bible for radical ministry. He says:

There is an infinite difference between the pastor whose heart is set on being a professional and the pastor whose heart is set on being the aroma of Christ, the fragrance of death to some and eternal life to others (2 Cor. 2:15-16).

We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet. It is not the mentality of the slave of Christ. Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and the heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. For there is no professional childlikeness, there is no professional tenderheartedness, there is no professional panting after God.

Brothers, we are not professionals. We are outcasts. We are aliens and exiles in the world. Our citizenship is in Heaven, and we wait with eager expectation for the Lord (Phil. 3:20). You cannot professionalize the love for His appearing without killing it. And it is being killed. The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man. The strong wine of Jesus Christ explodes the wineskins of professionalism.

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