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Brothers, We Are Not Professionals Paperback – 1 Feb 2013
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"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."
Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church
East Lansing, Michigan
Author of The Hole in Our Holiness
Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
"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."
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.
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.
Co-pastor of Saint Andrew's Chapel
Editor of Tabletalk magazine
From the Back Cover
Pastor, The Austin Stone Community Church, Austin, Texas I hope every pastor reads this book and listens to its sane, practical, biblical advice." Kevin DeYoungSenior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, MichiganAuthor of The Hole in Our Holiness 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 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. J.D. Greear Lead Pastor, the Summit Church
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This book is written for full time pastors, but it's just as useful for the person who wants to improve themselves and get closer to God.
I really love Piper's writing style; it is accessible but doesn't mince words when needing to be impactful. Piper has a way with words that had me smiling at the ways God works in and through us, and cowering when presented with the gravity of the task/s at hand.
I would go so far as to say even if you don't align yourself with everything in the book, it's a must read for Christians of all denominations - it's that good!
Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by Pastor John Piper is a 286 pages long 'plea' to Pastors for radical ministry. As is often the case with Piper's books, this book has floods of wisdom trapped in it.
Its general argument is that the professionalization of the pastoral ministry is ruthlessly enslaving modern pastors. However, a 'professional' ministry is not our calling. Christ bids us to an 'unprofessional' ministry. He has called us to be heralds, prophets and his slaves. In other words, As Piper puts it, 'Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry'. So, If we seek to be more 'professional', we will end up being spiritually dead. In short, Piper's message is, Pastors, we are not professionals.
This is the clear aim of the book. One of the strengths of this book is its pithiness. There are 30 chapters and each chapter is roughly 8-15 pages long. That means, if you are super busy, you could resolve to read only a chapter a day and still by the end of the month, you'd have finished the whole book. Also, you won't regret reading it slowly because each chapter is deliciously packed with the sweet word of God.
Did this book challenge my view of pastoral ministry?
Certainly, I am someone who is continually tempted to buy 'how-to' (pragmatic) books and to be sold out to this philosophy. The temptation to give in to 'secular leadership' techniques is very real for me. So, having read Piper's exhortation, I feel challenged, affirmed and encouraged to resist the pressing 'secular models' and continue to embrace the unprofessional calling that I have received from the Lord. That is to say, this book is a good antidote to worldly philosophies of leadership that seek to undermine the beauty of the pastoral office.
In sum, this is an excellent book. And I commend it to you.
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This week I finished reading through the revised and updated version of John Piper's book Brothers, We are Not Professionals. Overall it was a good, worthwhile read. While I don't necessarily agree with all points Piper makes theologically, this book has a lot of practical application and takeaways. I would definitely recommend this to anyone serving in ministry to refine motives and theology of "serving" not as "professionals" but with a refined heart that seeks after God.
Some of my favorite reminders throughout this book come from a few of the chapter like:
Chapter 7- Beware the Debtor's Ethic
For me, this chapter reinforces why we serve God. It is not to "pay back" a debt we owe God since we can never seek to do so. Good deeds does not pay back grace but borrows more.
Chapter 8- Tell Them Not To Serve God
Again this chapter helps refine motives for why we serve God and encourage others to do so as well. It is not about us but about God. Not for our glory but to glorify God.
Chapter 10- Brothers, Let Us Pray
This chapter reinforces the prayer life of a follower of Jesus, a leader and especially those called to ministry. Prayer aligns us with God and recognizes our dependency in Him as opposed to the other areas of ministry we can come to rely upon.
Plus several more...
So if you are considering going into ministry, just starting out in ministry or have been serving in ministry already for a number of years; definitely get this book and read it to refresh your motives and understanding.
The pastor is called upon to do lots of things, some of which are considered by both pastor and parishioner to more “spiritual” or more “business.” But in reality, all that a pastor (or any Christian for that matter) does is spiritual, because it is all to be done for the glory of God. Over time, many pastors have lost sight of the sacred nature of their calling, turning what they do into a professional pursuit.
Piper explains, “First, professionalism should always be marginal, not central; optional, not crucial. And second, the pursuit of professionalism will push the supernatural center more and more into the corner while ministry becomes a set of secular competencies with a religious veneer. … When I look back, my regret is not that I wasn’t more professional but that I wasn’t more prayerful, more passionate for souls, more consistent in personal witness, more emotionally engaged with my children, more tender with my wife, more spontaneously affirming of the good in others.”
Every chapter is chockfull of biblical insights, personal examples from John Piper’s ministry, and historical sources that have stood the test of time. I’ll say it again: every pastor should read this book!
I’ll add my own “amen” this prayer John Piper offers: “Banish professionalism from our midst, O God, and in its place put passionate prayer, poverty of spirit, hunger for God, rigorous study of holy things, white-hot devotion to Jesus Christ, utter indifference to all material gain, and unremitting labor to rescue the perishing, perfect the saints, and glorify our sovereign Lord. In Jesus’ great and powerful name. Amen.”
My only minor gripe is that I wish he would have talked more about how his views work themselves out on a practical level in a church ministry staff. In other words, what does a medium to large church staff look like if nobody is a “professional.” How is it structured, how are people held accountable, how do you set goals, what is the leadership structure/sharing/responsibility, how should pastoral compensation be established, etc. How did Piper work all these things out at Bethlehem Baptist, for example? Otherwise, I believe his view of worship is mostly excellent, but a little over-spiritualized. Even though the NT certainly delocalizes worship, both the OT and NT emphasize a comprehensive worship-oriented lifestyle, and the importance of corporate expressions of worship following a “Gospel-shaped” pattern (a lá Brian Chappell.)
Suppose I wouldn't have minded if he said brothers and sisters or something on that order. Seems a bit male-driven. Otherwise, a really excellent and spirited charge to Christians and ministers.
If you like John Pipers work, this is in keeping with his other writings. It's a good book. In my opinion. Books are rather subjective, of course.