In the past several weeks my heart has begun to be refined. I’m feeling a deeper desire to pastoral ministry than I’ve ever felt before. I’ve also never considered the prospect of a pastorate more than I have been in the past couple of months. I love to preach and teach. I love people (though not nearly enough). Now, however, the desire to the other duties of pastoral ministry have been upon my heart.
I just acquired a copy of John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry. I pray that the Lord would continue to refine me by means of His word as it is ministered unto me by means of the Spirit. I pray that the Lord uses books like Piper’s to help refine me to be the kind of pastor God would have me to be.
There are 30 chapters in the book, and I would like to blog as I read through the book. (I would love to promise a post a day, but I’m not sure that is a possibility.) God willing, I’ll have thirty posts of quotes, reflections, and personal reformation.
Piper begins with Christ. Where better to begin a book on the role of a pastor? Who is Christ? More importantly than that, who is the Christ of the Bible?
“The center of Christianity and the center of pastoral life is the dishonorable, foolish, gruesome, and utterly glorious reality of the tortured God-man, Jesus Christ.” (p. xi)
“The closer you get to what makes Christianity ghastly, the closer you get to what makes it glorious.” (p. xi)
“No gore, no grace, no glory. All religions that deny the cross nullify the grace of God and lead people to perpetual ruin.” (p. xi)
Piper declares his purpose for writing the book:
“The aim of this book is to spread radical, pastoral passion for the supremacy and centrality of the crucified and risen God-man, Jesus Christ, in every sphere of life and ministry and culture. Increasingly, a ministry under the banner of Christ’s supremacy will be offensive to the impulses of professional clergy who like to be quoted respectably by the local newspaper. The title of this book is meant to shake us loose from the pressure to fit in to the cultural expectations of professionalism. It is meant to sound an alarm against the pride of station and against the expectation of parity in pay and against the borrowing of paradigms from the professional world. Oh for radically Bible-saturated, God-centered, Christ-exalting, self-sacrificing, mission-mobilizing, soul-saving, culture-confronting pastors! Let the chips fall where they will: palm branches one day, persecution the next.” (p. xi-xii)
As I read Piper’s purpose for the book, I make it a prayer of mine. I pray that I am that kind of pastor. I pray that I am the kind of man that desires to show, proclaim, and live out the supremacy of Christ in all things before all people. I pray with Piper that God raises up pastors like that for His kingdom.