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Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition Paperback – February 1, 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
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.”
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
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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.)