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Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition

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  • Posted February 23, 2013

    As soon as I saw the title of John Piper¿s newly expanded and re

    As soon as I saw the title of John Piper’s newly expanded and revised edition of, “Brothers, We Are Not Professionals,” I knew that I would need to get my hands on it. I have been in pastoral ministry for six years and have seen how easy it is to move from dependence on God to becoming a “professional pastor.” I once heard someone say, “The scariest thing about ministry is that you can get good at it.” This is the very heart that Piper addresses in his book, “Brothers, We Are Not Professionals.”

    The book is made up of 36 short chapters addressing different topics that Piper believes to be the most important in pastoral ministry. In classic Piper style, the book is filled with the plea for pastors to pursue God’s glory above everything else. He explains what Christian Hedonism is and why it is vital for pastors to lead their flock into the joy of the Lord; because “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

    John Piper has been in ministry for over 30 years and is tired of seeing men “professionalize” the pulpit. He explains the difference between a pastor and a professional as, “[Preachers] are fools for Christ’s sake, but professionals are wise. We are weak, but professionals are strong. Professionals are held in honor, we are in disrepute.” (p.2) In pastoral ministry, it is far too easy to believe that we must be the heroes, but our ultimate calling is to simply make much of the true hero, Jesus. He is our strength, our wisdom, our prize, our motivation, our everything.

    My favorite chapter was titled, “Brothers, Save the Saints.” Piper sets out to remind the preacher that he is not merely preaching to the unbeliever, but the believer as well. So often the preacher believes that he must tell the non-Christians about Jesus and the cross, while giving the mature Christian tips on how to become holier. Piper demolishes this stance by reexamining the doctrine of perseverance. Piper believes that once you are saved you are always saved, but he acknowledges the fact that only those who persevere to the end are truly saved. He says, “The salvation of the elect depends on their not denying Christ and on their enduring in faith and obedience.” We must preach Christ and Him crucified to the believers and non-believers. It is only by this message that we are saved. It is only by this message that we grow. And it is only by this message that we will have strength to persevere.

    If you are a pastor, this book is a must read. You may not be a fan of Piper, but anyone who has been in ministry for over 30 years has plenty to teach you. I will be reading, “Brothers, We Are Not Professionals,” and referencing it often in the years to come.

    Favorite Quotes

    “God loves His glory more than He loves us and that this is the foundation of His love for us.” p. 6

    “The ultimate end of the gospel is coming home to God.” p. 48

    “The difference between Uncle Sam and Jesus Christ is that Uncle Sam won’t enlist you in his service unless you are healthy and Jesus won’t enlist you unless you are sick.” p. 57

    “You cannot please God if you do not come to Him as rewarder.” p.65

    “A pastor who feels competent in himself to produce eternal fruit – which is the only kind that matters – knows neither God nor himself.” p. 69

    “Every sermon is crucial and critical in sustaining the faith of the saints and so bringing them safely to glory.” p. 89

    “Pastors, you will know your people’s souls best by knowing your own.” p. 145

    “All pastoral afflictions are graciously designed to make us rely on God and not on ourselves. And therefore our afflictions prepare us to do the one thing most needful for our people – to point them away from ourselves to the all-sufficient God.” p. 167

    “It will transform your pastoral leadership in worship if you teach your people that the basic attitude of worship on Sunday morning is not to come with your hands full to give God but with your hands empty to receive from God.” p. 264

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