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Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  2,115 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
A senior pastor pleads with his colleagues to abandon the secularization of the pastorate and return to the primitive call of the Bible for radical ministry.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 15th 2002 by B&H Books (first published September 2002)
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Joseph Louthan
Dec 10, 2010 Joseph Louthan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I know. Five stars. Five stars says : Crème de la crème. Why did I rate this so high? Because I believe the author accomplished what he sat out to do and did it in a fantastic way.

Imagine my perspective: Newly saved, called to be a pastor, has barely started on the path to becoming a pastor and by God's grace, I read this book.

This is clock-filled with not only practical after practical insight to undo the executive, CEO business mindset of the American Evangelical megachurch of the last 50 year
Philip Mcduffie
Dec 18, 2014 Philip Mcduffie rated it really liked it
Piper does a great job at dealing with subjects that need to be dealt with. His focus on Christ when it comes to the great things of pastoral ministry and some of the lesser things of pastoral ministry made this a delight to read.
Oct 13, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Preaching Magazine states that this is one of “10 best books every preacher should read.” I agree completely. The first chapter sets the stage for the book and reading it is worth the price of the book. In the first chapter he says: “We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. . . . Professionalizm 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.”

Lindsay Kennedy
Dec 18, 2010 Lindsay Kennedy rated it really liked it
Excellent collection of essays. Not only for pastors or those in ministry. Many of the essays are very challenging and enlightening.
Jeff Emery
Jun 08, 2014 Jeff Emery rated it it was amazing
I'm in the middle of reading this for the 2nd time, and it is nothing short of incredible. This is my favorite Piper book that he has written. As a oneness Apostolic, I do not agree with all of his soteriology, but I don't read his books for doctrine anyway. He gives a passionate plea in the pages of this book for us to remember that we are not professional's. The preface of the book alone is worth the purchase. Piper declares in the Preface: "Oh for radically Bible-saturated, God-centered, Chri ...more
Daniel Melvill
Oct 19, 2010 Daniel Melvill rated it really liked it
Brothers, We Are Not Professionals is a book full of candid pastor-to-pastor challenges by John Piper. Each of the thirty short chapters addresses a different issue, but as the title suggests, the whole book is built on the premise that “pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry.” I really appreciated his open and heartfelt manner, and benefited especially in the sections on understanding that you are not serving God, fighting for a daily time of prayer and readi ...more
Feb 28, 2013 Scott rated it really liked it
Purchased the revised and updated version by Baker publishing.

This is essentially "Piper's Greatest Hits." There are 38 chapters that are all relatively short and each chapter covers an essential aspect of Piper's ministry, and specifically ordered to pastors. Want to read Piper but don't really know where to start? Read this book.

The only downer was that I caught some pretty glaring typos a few times. Maybe trying to make a deadline proved difficult? Regardless, it's a minor quibble that can
dave kakish
Feb 04, 2015 dave kakish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
The quintessential Piper pu pu platter. Feast on a smattering of Piperic gems on a wide variety of topics. One of my profs recently quipped, "John Piper is 90% Jonathan Edwards, 8% C.S. Lewis, and 2% raging fundamentalist." I find that statement hysterically accurate.
Jon Huff
3 chapters in this book shattered some paradigms in my perspective.
Rob Sumrall
I have a confession to make. I don't really get all the fuss over John Piper's books.

I've read quite a few of them. Every time I finish one, I think, "What was all the fuss about?" I think the issue, at least for me, is mostly stylistic. His writing style just doesn't appeal to me. There is something about the cadence and the droning lists that just irk me. Having said that, I'm deeply appreciative of his biblical insights and his passion (that often overwhelms me and irks me even more).

In Brot
David Eagen
Apr 15, 2014 David Eagen rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
I agree with the review from Scott that this is essentially Piper's Greatest Hits. The title of the book is merely taken from the first chapter and is slightly misleading. The entire book does not talk about the professionalism trap. Rather the book is Piper reaching out to pastors and passing on the wisdom he has gained through a lifetime of labor.

I found the following chapters particular interesting:

Chapter 5: "Brothers, Beware of the Debtor's Ethic"
Chapter 6: "Brothers, Tell Them Not to Serv
David Haron
Jan 11, 2016 David Haron rated it it was amazing
This book an a must read for anyone working in full time Christian ministry. This book covers such a widespread variety of topics and offers Biblical, practical, but very challenging perspectives to issues that have a profound impact on our spiritual well being as well as those we minister to. John Piper, and this book in particular, challenges me to grow in my admiration for God, my longing for and knowledge of scripture and my hatred for sin. Phenomenal book for any Christ follower to read!
May 15, 2010 Devin rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, christian
Excellent thoughts on a slew of subjects. John Piper's pastoral ministry might be seen with a new wholeness and fullness, now having seen what sort of heart and concerns drive his passion for the church. This is a must-read for all who would work in church environments (not just as pastors), and a probably-should-read for Christians who feel disconnected from their pastors.
Luke Miller
Jan 25, 2013 Luke Miller rated it really liked it
Shelves: ministry
Collection of essays on a variety of ministry and theology topics. Solid, biblical perspective, filled with excellent quotes and illustrations. Very edited, so it pays well for your reading time. Must read for every pastor. I'll definitely come back to it again.

Also read in October of 2010
Jeff Elliott
Piper's thinking is clear and solid in his message to pastors. Some chapters are better than others (this is most likely because of my personal interest in them). I appreciated the earlier chapters better than the latter. He writes on a number of topics of value: preaching, prayer, worship, marriage, abortion, bible interpretation, etc;...

Some quotes:
The peace and satisfaction of our aching souls—and our hungry churches and the waiting nations—flow not from the perks of professional excellence b
Mark L.
Apr 08, 2013 Mark L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Brothers, We Are Not Professionals is not a new book. It's been reviewed before. But the second edition is new, and six chapters in it are, too. So I will focus this review on those new chapters: 4, 6, 13, 18, 22, 27.

Those chapters were added for various reasons:
• Piper added chapters 4 and 6 "for theological reasons where I felt I needed greater clarity or correction."
• He added chapters 13 and 18 "in pursuit of being a better preacher."
• He added chapter 22, he writes, "for family reasons rela
Dennis Thurman
Oct 31, 2013 Dennis Thurman rated it really liked it
Excellent reminders! A prophetic word. Very challenging.
Ross McDougall
Feb 27, 2017 Ross McDougall rated it it was amazing
Challenging, humbling, frightening, inspiring... sometimes on the same page!
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
Ryan Hawkins
Jan 11, 2017 Ryan Hawkins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ministry
The first 10 chapters or so are classic Piper on theology (such as Christian Hedonism). It is good, but similar to many other things he says and writes. The majority of the book, however, was quite different. Convicting, practical, and inspiring to say the least. So so good. Worth reading often.
Jerrill Wyler
Feb 08, 2017 Jerrill Wyler rated it it was amazing
Great read for all pastors. So much practical advice rooted in sound thinking and theology. Many times I said, "I need to do that," or "I need to do better in that area."
Patrick Conley
Jan 21, 2017 Patrick Conley rated it it was amazing
Resonates with the desire of one pastor for many other pastors to Desire God and discover the beauty of doing so. A great read. It will stir you.
Feb 21, 2017 Nate rated it it was amazing
A must read for every pastor and preacher. This is Piper at his finest.
Brian Seagraves
Jan 11, 2017 Brian Seagraves rated it liked it
Decent; But feels like largely recycled ideas.
I first read Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper in January of 2010 (yes, eight years after it had been published). And it was rich food for my soul and health to my bones. John Piper pleaded with pastors, who are constantly surrounded by leadership books and professional tips to better themselves, to stay true to the supernatural aspect of the ministry. We are not professionals in the sense of “education, a set of skills, and a set of guild-defined standards which are possible with ...more
An updated exhortation toward those in ministry regarding various subjects.

The title is somewhat misleading: "Brothers, We Are Not Professionals" is only the first of 36 different subjects relating to the author's encouragement regarding proper ministry. The author does not envision ministers as amateurs or anything of that sort; his exhortation is to make sure that ministers do excellent work for the Lord rooted in what the Lord has said and not the "profession standards" of the world. The subt
Joe McFadden
May 11, 2016 Joe McFadden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. 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 (Matt. 18:3); there is no professional ten
Bendick Ong
Nov 19, 2013 Bendick Ong rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christianity
Excellent book addressing many core issues in which a pastor must stand firm in today's world.

I love especially chapter 6 (makes me think what it means when we say we "serve. God" what it means then when we say a person is serving mammon?); 7(if one wants a 10 pages summary of Christian hedonism - this will be a concise one, identifying the roots and defending the notion); 10 (best write-up I have read on the need for Christians - and esp church leaders - to READ. And yes! No time is not an exc
Annie Slagboom
Oct 11, 2014 Annie Slagboom rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology

Brothers, We are NOT Professionals is geared specifically for both young and seasoned pastors. The book is also suitable for those involved Christian and para-church ministries as they are microcosms of the church.

The beginning chapters were basic doctrinal review. As no one but Piper can do, dusts off the old and brings to life the richness of the Gospel. Honestly, I was a bit surprised at the basic review. The review actually put fear into my heart as Piper does not assume pastors have mastere
Jul 28, 2008 Brian rated it it was amazing
Every so often a book comes to me at the right time and place. When this happens, it can be life-changing or at a minimum, life enhancing.

Piper's "Brothers, We Are Not Professionals" is somewhere right between the life-changing/enhancing continuum. Piper focuses on 30 readings to recapture the passion of pastors for pastoral (as opposed to executive) ministry.

I wouldn't say there is much in the way of "new" insight, particularly for its intended audience. Rather, Piper offers a potent, refreshi
May 12, 2014 E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Milton Friedman had something to say about economics, you listen. If Bob Dylan has something to say about songwriting, you listen. And, if John Piper, has something to say about pastoring, you listen.

This is a newer version of his book he wrote 10 years ago on pastoral ministry. Is it better than the stuff we read in seminary on the subject? Yes. Is it perfect? No. The book is designed as 36 short chapters in the same vein as the title. Random examples: "Brothers, Let Us Pray" (Chapter 10); "
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  • The Trellis And The Vine
  • Preaching and Preachers
  • Lectures to My Students
  • The Reformed Pastor
  • The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel
  • Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon
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  • Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today
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  • The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters
  • Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons
  • The Christian Ministry
  • Am I Called?: The Summons to Pastoral Ministry
  • What is the Mission of the Church?: Making sense of social justice, Shalom and the Great Commission
  • Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome
  • The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church
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John Piper is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethe
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“Banish professionalism from our midst, Oh God, an din 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 sovreign Lord.

Humble us, O God, under your mighty hand, and let us rise, not as professionals, but as witnesses and partakers of the sufferings of Christ.”
“Legalism is a more dangerous disease than alcoholism because it doesn’t look like one. Alcoholism makes men fail; legalism helps them succeed in the world. Alcoholism makes men depend on the bottle; legalism makes them self-sufficient, depending on no one. Alcoholism destroys moral resolve; legalism gives it strength. Alcoholics don’t feel welcome in the church; legalists love to hear their morality extolled in church.” 4 likes
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