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 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 (Matt. 18:3); there is no professional tenderheartedness (Eph. 4:32); there is no professional panting after God (Ps. 42:1).
But our first business is to pant after God in prayer. Our business is to weep over our sins (James 4:9). Is there professional weeping?Thus begins, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, by John Piper. Released in a second edition in 2013, this convicting and compelling work is probably more necessary now than when Piper wrote the first edition thirteen years ago. It is more necessary because the "professionalism" of the church has only increased in the intervening years.
Our business is to strain forward to the holiness of Christ and the prize of the upward call of God (Phil. 3:14); to pummel our bodies and subdue them lest we be cast away (1 Cor. 9:27); to deny ourselves and take up the blood-spattered cross daily (Luke 9:23). How do you carry a cross professionally? We have been crucified with Christ, yet now we live by faith in the one who loved us and gave Himself for us (Gal. 2:20). What is professional faith?
The seduction of the Church takes many forms. The most obvious seduction is the one that has occurred in mainline traditions that have adopted the sexual morality of the culture. The seduction that has affected the evangelical church is the one to which Piper points prophetically--the notion that a professional style and management techniques learned from a secular culture can somehow substitute for the radical nature of our calling and the spiritual graces and power that are God's gift along with that calling.
This outstanding work is now available as a FREE .pdf download from John Piper's ministry, Desiring God. It is also available for purchase as a paperback or Kindle version.
If you are a pastor, or if you train or disciple clergy and lay leaders in the church, this book is an indispensable part of your formation in how to raise up servant leaders who have a passion for God and who are truly useful in his service.
And, after all, isn't that what it is all about?
Download or buy this book and read it now!