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

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,910 Ratings  ·  120 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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Life Together by Dietrich BonhoefferThe Trellis And The Vine by Colin MarshallThe Normal Christian Church Life by Watchman NeeFree to Shine by Robert E.  ColwellBrothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper
Local Church
5th out of 54 books — 30 voters
Desiring God by John PiperThe Pleasures of God by John PiperBrothers, We Are Not Professionals by John PiperDon't Waste Your Life by John PiperThe Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper
John Piper's Best Book?
3rd out of 19 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Joseph Louthan
Dec 27, 2012 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 27, 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 27, 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
dave kakish
Feb 13, 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.
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
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
May 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
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); "
David Haron
Mar 10, 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!
Mar 28, 2013 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
Feb 22, 2016 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
Joe McFadden
Jun 06, 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
CJ Bowen
May 14, 2014 CJ Bowen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful thoughts on pastoral ministry. The updated edition contains several new chapters, one of which humbly corrects an imbalance in the first edition by arguing that God does in fact make much of us in Christ. Another new chapter addresses the homiletic issue of matching the tone of the message to the tone of the text, which for me has been an instructive way of examining a message beyond simple textual faithfulness. Chapter 27, on the value of bodily exercise, humanizes the book in an i ...more
Richard Minor
Mar 18, 2014 Richard Minor rated it really liked it
Being a pastor is different than being in the professional world. Secularization of the pastorate has caused great damage.

The pastor has an impossible mission to accomplish because, as Piper notes well, the true goals of the ministry are only accomplished by the power of God. This makes being a pastor radically different.

This book contains short essays on many topics for a pastor to know and understand. These essays, for the most part are excellent and a much needed corrective in some cases.

Dennis Thurman
Jul 04, 2016 Dennis Thurman rated it really liked it
Excellent reminders! A prophetic word. Very challenging.
Michael Sanelli
Feb 19, 2016 Michael Sanelli rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: church leaders
I found it very similar in ways to Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students. Some of the chapters spoke to the same topics. Challenges to shepherd the church, work hard, study the original languages, being a person who reads... It's a book full of wisdom and challenges from a seasoned shepherd. Through this book you can sense Piper's love for Christ, his sheep, and the undershepherds whom He calls. Overall very good book and would recommend to any church leader. I've seen that they're is an updated/ex ...more
Annie Slagboom
Aug 05, 2015 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
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
May 07, 2012 Kyle rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, leadership
John Piper lays out his encouragement out to pastors as to some of the most important things that he thinks a pastor should do and stand for. This book really made me think sometimes, and sometimes just felt boring and political.

First, the title of the book is where the book starts, but the book doesn't stay there. The premise of the book states that we are not just to do things the way that professionals do their jobs, but to live and work differently. The first few chapters challenged my think
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
Mark Ward
Apr 08, 2013 Mark Ward 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 newchapters: 4, 6, 13, 18, 22, 27.

Those chapters were added for various reasons:
• Piperadded 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 relati
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
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
Apr 22, 2009 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
Feb 11, 2015 Chapronrin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've read John Piper before, you've read him again in this one. Piper is always passionate in what he writes and he is such an author that you either agree or disagree with him. Sometimes you even wonder where in the world he comes up with some of his ideas. But he is totally committed and passionate about God and His Savior. Piper has given the Christian community some of the best writings of our times through the years and this book devoted to those serving in ministry is no less valuable ...more
Jeremy Zilkie
Mar 29, 2014 Jeremy Zilkie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
This books is a collection of chapters/exhortations regarding pastoral ministry. Just as pastoral ministry is super multifaceted, so this book addresses many different issues and topics related to pastoral ministry. The book is written for "pastors" but it has great insight for any and all who are serving in leadership positions in the church. Also, Piper preaches a complimentarian view of pastoral ministry, hence the title "Brothers".

I enjoyed the book on a whole, and especially loved certain c
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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
  • Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry
  • Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Churc
  • Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today
  • The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians
  • 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
  • Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church
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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