Why Expand ‘Brothers, We Are Not Professionals’

The bread and butter of Christian ministry is supernatural.

It’s been a decade since John Piper made his plea to fellow pastors, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. Ten years later, he stands by that message as much as ever, and has updated and expanded the book — which officially becomes available today.

Here’s how Piper puts it in the new preface:

Nothing has happened in the last ten years to make me think this book is less needed. In fact, instead of going away, the pressure to “professionalize” the pastorate has morphed and strengthened. Among younger pastors, the talk is less about therapeutic and managerial professionalization, and more about communication or contextualization. The language of “professionalization” is seldom used in these regards, but the quiet pressure felt by many pastors is: Be as good as the professional media folks, especially the cool anti-heroes and the most subtle comedians.

This is not the overstated professionalism of the three-piece suit and the stuffy upper floors, but the understated professionalism of torn blue jeans and the savvy inner ring. This professionalism is not learned in pursuing an MBA, but in being in the know about the ever-changing entertainment and media world. This is the professionalization of ambience, and tone, and idiom, and timing, and banter. It is more intuitive, and less taught. More style and less technique. More feel and less force.

If this can be called professionalism, what does it have in common with the older version? Everything that matters.

What’s New in the Expanded Edition

In addition to the new preface, Piper has added six new chapters. All 30 original chapters are included, as well as the new, for a total of 36. Here are the new chapter numbers and titles:

4. Brothers, God Does Make Much of Us
6. Brothers, God Is the Gospel
13. Brothers, Be Bible-Oriented — Not Entertainment-Oriented — Preachers
18. Brothers, Pursue the Tone of the Text
22. Brothers, Help Them Act the Miracle
27. Brothers, Bodily Training Is of Some Value

We asked Piper why he’s excited to have this book revised and expanded. Here’s his 4-minute response with some backstory on the new chapters: