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Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition [Paperback]

John Piper
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers; Upd Exp edition (1 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433678829
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433678820
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The book that Church Leadership to its core - 'Brothers, We Are Not Professionals' by John Piper - has been fully revised & updated for the next generation of ministers, pastors and vicars. With a new introduction and 6 brand new chapters, bestselling author and experienced pastor John Piper gives a compelling and sincere message to his fellow leaders. Through well-structured essays and biblically sound argument, John has compiled his plead to abandon professionalism and instead pursue radical ministry. New chapters includes: • God Really Does Make Much of Us • Where Physical Exercise Fits into a Leaders Life • How to Glorify God without Belittling Yourself "For there is no professional childlikeness, there is no professional tenderheartedness, there is no professional panting after God... The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man." John's passion and desire for you to become a God-driven leader is felt in every word of this insightful and transformative book. If you approach this book with an open heart, a desire to know God more and with your leadership head, 'Brothers, We Are Not Professionals' will sharpen your ministry and refocus your calling.

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars what can i say 8 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
book arrived quick and in good condition. Contents however leaves much to desire. Misunderstanding regarding professionalism and throws baby out with the bath water
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Update to an Already Wonderful Book 1 Feb 2013
By Ryan Adair - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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 without faith in Jesus," writes Piper (x). He was faithful to this endeavor in 2002, and he added to that faithfulness with this updated and expanded edition.

Adding six new chapters to the 30 already fantastic ones of the first edition, these are nothing new if you've followed Pastor John over the years. Two of them were added (chaps. 4 & 6) to further clarify theological points he had previously made, namely on the subjects of God making much of us and God being the gospel (of which Piper has written a book about, published in 2005).

Chapters 13 & 18, which are new additions as well, are focused on being a better preacher in our modern age. Being a Bible-oriented preacher, not an entertainment-oriented preacher, is one of the best exhortations to pastors about being faithful to the Word of God, not giving in to the current trends and flippancy of the day. Chapter 18, subsequently, challenges pastors to pursue the tone of the text. By that he means "the feel that it has. The spirit it emits. The emotional quality. The affectional tenor. The mood" of the text (121). These are invaluable for any pastor, but especially us younger ones.

Another addition sprang from his eight-month leave of absence from Bethlehem Baptist Church where he didn't preach, didn't write, didn't blog or tweet, but just pursued his own sanctification in the midst of his family (chap. 22). There are some intimate moments shared here that he had yet to go through in the first publication, chronicling some of the besetting sins he had and how he put them to death. In this leave of absence, he did a lot of soul-searching and processing with his wife so he could grow in godliness.

And, finally, the last chapter he added to this book is about health, and about glorifying God with our body for the purpose of longevity (chap. 27). In it he talks about the need to eat well, exercise often, and rest on a consistent basis, sharing a lot of his own habits and how aging has affected him. Though this doesn't seem like it should be in a book of this caliber, Piper's exhortation is "not [for] your maximal physical health. Nor is it to help you find ways to get the best buzz for your brain. My aim is that you will find a way of life that enables you to use your mind and your five senses as effective partners in seeing the glory of God and that you be so satisfied in Him that you are willing to risk your health and your life to make Him known" (185). Though these are practical realities that every pastor must face (due to a more sedentary lifestyle), they are no less important in the overall pursuit to make much of God in one's life.

Though Piper has been in the ministry over 30 years, there is still a richness and a depth to his writing that moves me every time I read one of his books. And this one is no exception. His writing focuses me on the glory of God, saturates me with Scripture, increases my affections for Christ, and causes me to ruminate on every word he writes. He writes with love, humility, tenderness, and most of all, depth. Every word has been carefully chosen, placed on the page for the edification of our souls. And he is a man who thinks deeply, which, in turn, causes him to write with clarity. Investing in this new and updated version of Brothers, We Are Not Professionals is a worthwhile investment--one with, I'm sure, eternal significance.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The heartbeat of Piper's other teachings in seed form 18 Feb 2013
By Jared Totten - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Just at the beginning of the month, I came on staff at my church full time. And let me tell you, the pressure in a mere two weeks (largely that I have placed on myself) to step up my game has surprised me. The drive to be professional, polished, prepared, proficient--the performance trap had swallowed me whole. So the arrival of John Piper's revised edition of Brothers, We Are Not Professionals could not have come at a better time. These were challenges and questions that I needed to consider as I evaluated the tendencies of my own heart. As Piper asks in his new preface:

Is there professional praying?
Is there professional trusting in God's promises?
Is there professional weeping over souls?
Is there professional musing on the depths of revelation?
Is there professional rejoicing over truth?
Is there professional treasuring the riches of Christ?
Is there professional walking by the Spirit?
Is there professional exercise of spiritual gifts?
Is there professional courage in the face of persecution?

The beauty in Piper's plea is that it relieves us of the burden of oppressive professionalism--and calls us to humble, Spirit-empowered ministry in one sweeping movement.

But this book isn't just a caution against the slick and skillful specialist/pastor ideal. Within this book lies the heartbeat of Piper's ministry and writing in seed-form. The themes and passions of John Piper's pastoral life are here as well. With chapter titles like "God Loves His Glory", "Live and Preach Justification by Faith", "Consider Christian Hedonism", "Give Them Passion for Missions", and "Sever the Root of Racism", I cannot help but think of books like Desiring God, Finally Alive, and Bloodlines. In deed, this book is as much as anything else a survey of Piper's teaching and writing over the years, and that is by no means a criticism.

But speaking of criticisms, if I have one of the book it is that Piper has given himself a fine line to try to walk between what he is calling us away from and what he is calling us to. While the high bar of professionalism in the ministry has it's pitfalls, it is not the only high bar that pastors may set for themselves. In back to back chapters he challenges us to become students of the original Hebrew and Greek texts and of Christian biographies. This is not to say that I don't think either of these things are greatly beneficial! But if our aim is to deconstruct the professionalist tendencies of the pastorate, we must be careful not to merely trade one elite class of preacher for another.

While Brothers, We Are Not Professionals may not be Piper's most seminal work, it is quite possibly his most comprehensive. Thus I would say this book is not only a must read for pastors, but it is a great place to start for anyone who would like an overview of most of Piper's other writings. The chapters are rarely longer than six or seven pages; short enough read and meditate on (or cram in between meetings). But the weight and gravity of the challenges here will take a lifetime apply. And lest your own bent towards performance is already despairing at that thought, let Piper's prayer correct:

"Banish professionalism from our midst, Oh 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."

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Recommended for: Pastors and those looking for a survey of Piper's works
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Update to a Modern Classic 8 Feb 2013
By John Botkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The year before I graduated from seminary and went into pastoral ministry, John Piper wrote the book, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry. The title alone got my attention because I knew exactly where he was going. There was in the 1990's a kind of zenith in thinking about ministry as a profession. Secular books on business were more popular than books on theology, counseling, or exegesis. In the midst of that, came these words: "We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry . . . The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake" (p. 1). Hearing that message clear at the outset of my own efforts in pastoral ministry was incredibly formative for me.

Now, I'm pleased to find a revised and expanded edition of Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. In addition to a new preface, there are six new chapters:

Brothers, God Does Make Much of Us
Brothers, God is the Gospel
Brothers, Be Bible-Oriented--Not Entertainment-Oriented--Preachers
Brothers, Pursue the Tone of the Text
Brothers, Help them Act the Miracle
Brothers, Bodily Training Is of Some Value

Each of these new chapters reflect what Piper has been thinking about and writing on since the original publication. Each of these new chapters also fit well with the feel of the original ones. Each chapter is short, helpful, and easily something that could send you into a time of further reflection or study. The book as a whole bounces around issues of theology and ministry, always hitting life in the nitty-gritty. This is no ivory tower doctrine, but biblical teaching that meets pastors where they live and minister.

Of the new chapters, the one that meant the most to me was "Brothers, Be Bible-Oriented--Not Entertainment-Oriented--Preachers." My dad used to always say "It's easy to like someone who agrees with you." And on one level that's true here. My convictions about ministry lead me to be more Bible-oriented. But there was also conviction from this chapter. As I thought about Piper's descriptions of the entertainment-oriented preacher, it occurred to me that I am probably quicker with a quote from a movie or a television show than I am with a Bible verse. I'm tempted to want to put a good illustration in just to break-up the sermon's weightier parts rather than have it effectively illustrate the point. All of this to say, even after ten years of ministry, I don't have it all figured out and I'm not as good as I should be. This new edition--like the original--has been helpful in leading me to think again about God's calling to pastoral ministry and how I'm fulfilling it.

I highly recommend this book for anyone in ministry. I think it would be especially helpful for a group of ministers to read and discuss together.

*NOTE: I received this book free for review from the publisher. This did not affect the content of this review.
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is for EVERYONE 27 Jan 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although directed to pastors, this is inspirational and foundational for every Christian. I bought 5 copies and gave them away.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the writings of John Piper 3 Sep 2013
By nannnette b lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had received this book as a Christmas present, and I liked it so much that I ordered this book for an associate pastor. This book has been a blessing to me, and I'm sure it would be a blessing to the pastor.
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