Jimmy Draper recommends John Piper

In the current issue of Facts and Trends, Dr. Jimmy Draper, President of Lifeway, comments on a recent research report issued by Ellison Research on why Protestant ministers change jobs.

Among the study’s many findings is this: only 25% of Southern Baptist ministers attribute moving from one church ministry to another as a result of God’s call. Other reasons include wanting to live in a different community (30%) and wanting a larger church (22%). It is an interesting study and the research looks at more than just Southern Baptists.

Dr. Draper’s comments are worth repeating here:

Wanting a different community, a promotion and better pay are all legitimate reasons for job changes if you are in a corporate environment, but it is a dangerous trend for the pastoral ministry. I recommend to you an excellent and challenging book written by John Piper, titled Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, published by Broadman & Holman (2002). “The professionalization of the ministry … is a threat to the profoundly spiritual nature of our work,” Piper writes. “… The love of professionalism kills a man’s belief that he is sent by God to save people from hell and to make them Christ-exalting, spiritual aliens in the world. The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man.”

I say “Amen” to Dr. Draper’s recommendation. Get Dr. Piper’s book and read it. Or get it and give it to your favorite pastor. It is a great corrective to much that is wrong in contemporary approaches to pastoral ministry.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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