In 1994 Bethlehem Baptist Church's Council of Elders approved the creation of a resource ministry that would help meet the growing demand for John Piper's sermon tapes and manuscripts. It would also seek to distribute as many of Piper's books as possible by offering them at a deep discount off the retail price. In addition, it was to operate a church-based Christian bookstore, coordinate an annual pastor's conference, and oversee Piper's administrative needs.
To help insure that money would not be a hindrance to the gospel, the ministry was to offer most of its resources on a whatever-you-can-afford basis and trust God to provide for its operating needs. The ministry was named Desiring God (after Piper's best-known book, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist).