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

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 In this revised and expanded edition of Brothers, We Are Not Professionals that includes a new introduction and select all-new chapters, best-selling author John Piper pleads through a series of thoughtful essays with fellow pastors to abandon the professionalization of the pastorate and pursue the prophetic call of the Bible for radical ministry.

“We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry,” he writes. “The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the ...

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

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 In this revised and expanded edition of Brothers, We Are Not Professionals that includes a new introduction and select all-new chapters, best-selling author John Piper pleads through a series of thoughtful essays with fellow pastors to abandon the professionalization of the pastorate and pursue the prophetic call of the Bible for radical ministry.

“We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry,” he writes. “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, 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 wine- skins of professionalism.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“It was the kindness of God which led me to stumble across this book in my first year of pastoral ministry.  I remember vividly kneeling at my bedside in tears, feeling so rebuked and so encouraged at the same time.  I loved this book then and, with several new chapters, I love it even more now.  I hope every pastor reads this book and listens to its sane, practical, biblical advice.”

Kevin DeYoung
Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church
East Lansing, Michigan
Author of The Hole in Our Holiness

John Piper makes me uncomfortable.  And I thank God for that.  He makes me uneasy with the worldliness that so easily creeps into my heart in my thinking about ministry.  He highlights temptations to compromise – temptations that I know personally.  He warns me of hidden traps.  He urges me against allowing the calling of God to be domesticated by the outlook of this passing age, or by my desire to be esteemed by it.  But he also reminds me of issues where my people need to be challenged and encouraged.  I read Brothers, We Are Not Professionals when it first came out a decade ago, and have returned to portions of it repeatedly, for examination, encouragement and exhortation.  I am delighted now to commend this new edition, with additional chapters addressing important topics.  This book is ultimately not only convicting, but comforting, and not only exhortational but devotional.  This is a faithful prophet’s call to the sons of the prophets.  May the Lord grant, by the power of his grace, that we would be able to join John is his prayer:  “Thank You for protecting me for all these years from the deadening effects of professionalization.”

Ligon Duncan
Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
Jackson, MS

“John Piper is a pastor to pastors.  His love for them and his desire to see them faithfully fulfill their calling leaps from each chapter of this book.  It will challenge you. It will instruct you.  And most of all, it will encourage you as you shepherd God’s flock which He has entrusted to your care.”

Daniel L. Akin  

"Once again, Dr. Piper has provided a generation of pastors with a clear and profound statement on our calling, and his legacy of biblical faithfulness and commitment to God's glory is felt in every chapter."

 Matt Carter

This book has been a staple for our pastors-in-training for many years--one of the few books I consider to be an absolute must read for those wanting to pursue God's work in God's way.  God used the first edition of this book to profoundly shape my ministry philosophy, and I am honored to be able to recommend this 2nd edition of Brothers We are Not Professionals.  I cannot commend it highly enough.  Read it.  Re-read it.  And then teach it to others.

JD Greear
Lead Pastor, the Summit Church
Author of Gospel and Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart
Twitter: @jdgreear @summitrdu

This is not a book for those who want a simple and easy life, it's a book for servants whom God has raised up to get down on the ground and selflessly serve by leading God's people, proclaiming God's truth, and earnestly contending for the faith.  May the Holy Spirit use this book to help ignite the next generation with a passion to deny themselves and take up their crosses to serve Christ and his sheep from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

Burk Parsons
Co-pastor of Saint Andrew's Chapel
Editor of Tabletalk magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433678820
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/2013
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 401,813
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

  John Piper is pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. He is the best-selling author of more than 40 books including Don’t Waste Your Life and Desiring God.
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Table of Contents

Preface to the New Edition ix

1 Brothers, We Are Not Professionals 1

2 Brothers, God Loves His Glory 5

3 Brothers, God Is Love 10

4 Brothers, God Does Make Much of Us 16

5 Brothers, Live and Preach Justification by Faith 25

6 Brothers, God Is the Gospel 40

7 Brothers, Beware of the Debtor's Ethic 49

8 Brothers, Tell Them Not to Serve God 55

9 Brothers, Consider Christian Hedonism 61

10 Brothers, Let Us Pray 68

11 Brothers, Beware of Sacred Substitutes 74

12 Brothers, Fight for Your life 79

13 Brothers, Be Bible-Oriented-Not Entertainment-Oriented-Preachers 85

14 Brothers, Query the Text 92

15 Brothers, Bitzer Was a Banker 98

16 Brothers, Read Christian Biography 106

17 Brothers, Show Your People Why God Inspired Hard Texts 113

18 Brothers, Pursue the Tone of the Text 120

19 Brothers, Save the Saints 125

20 Brothers, Feel the Truth of Hell 132

21 Brothers, Lead Them to Repentance through Their Pleasure 138

22 Brothers, Help Them Act the Miracle 144

23 Brothers, Magnify the Meaning of Baptism 154

24 Brothers, Our Affliction Is for Their Comfort 163

25 Brothers, Let the River Run Deep 169

26 Brothers, Don't Fight Flesh Tanks with Peashooter Regulations 174

27 Brothers, Bodily Training Is of Some Value 182

28 Brothers, Don't Confuse Uncertainty with Humility 192

29 Brothers, Tell Them Copper Will Do 200

30 Brothers, Help Your People Hold On and Minister in Calamity 206

31 Brothers, Give Them God's Passion for Missions 219

32 Brothers, Sever the Root of Racism 228

33 Brothers, Blow the Trumpet for the Unborn 240

34 Brothers, Focus on the Essence of Worship, Not the Form 256

35 Brothers, Love Your Wives 270

36 Brothers, Pray for the Seminaries 283

Name Index 291

Subject Index 295

Scripture Index 301

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Customer Reviews

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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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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