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Brothers, We Are Not Professionals

A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry


John Piper pleads with fellow pastors to abandon the secularization of the pastorate and pursue the prophetic call of the Bible for radical ministry.

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 the 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, there is no professional tenderheartedness, there is no professional panting after God.

Brothers, we are not professionals. We are outcasts. We are aliens and exiles in the world. Our citizenship is in Heaven, and we wait with eager expectation for the Lord (Phil. 3:20). You cannot professionalize the love for His appearing without killing it. And it is being killed. The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man. The strong wine of Jesus Christ explodes the wineskins of professionalism.

Named among the “10 Best Books Every Preacher Should Read” in the January/February issue of Preaching Magazine.


  • It was the kindness of God which led me to stumble across this book in my first year of pastoral ministry. I remember vividly kneeling at my bedside in tears, feeling so rebuked and so encouraged at the same time. I loved this book then and, with several new chapters, I love it even more now. I hope every pastor reads this book and listens to its sane, practical, biblical advice. Kevin DeYoung, Pastor, Matthews, North Carolina
  • John Piper makes me uncomfortable. And I thank God for that. He makes me uneasy with the worldliness that so easily creeps into my heart in my thinking about ministry. He highlights temptations to compromise – temptations that I know personally. He warns me of hidden traps. He urges me against allowing the calling of God to be domesticated by the outlook of this passing age, or by my desire to be esteemed by it. But he also reminds me of issues where my people need to be challenged and encouraged. I read Brothers, We Are Not Professionals when it first came out a decade ago, and have returned to portions of it repeatedly, for examination, encouragement and exhortation. I am delighted now to commend this new edition, with additional chapters addressing important topics. This book is ultimately not only convicting, but comforting, and not only exhortational but devotional. This is a faithful prophet’s call to the sons of the prophets. May the Lord grant, by the power of his grace, that we would be able to join John is his prayer: “Thank You for protecting me for all these years from the deadening effects of professionalization.” Ligon Duncan, Chancellor, Reformed Theological Seminary
  • John Piper is a pastor to pastors. His love for them and his desire to see them faithfully fulfill their calling leaps from each chapter of this book. It will challenge you. It will instruct you. And most of all, it will encourage you as you shepherd God’s flock which He has entrusted to your care. Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • This is not a book for those who want a simple and easy life, it’s a book for servants whom God has raised up to get down on the ground and selflessly serve by leading God’s people, proclaiming God’s truth, and earnestly contending for the faith. May the Holy Spirit use this book to help ignite the next generation with a passion to deny themselves and take up their crosses to serve Christ and his sheep from every tribe, tongue, and nation. Burk Parsons, Pastor, Sanford, Florida
  • This book has been a staple for our pastors-in-training for many years — one of the few books I consider to be an absolute must read for those wanting to pursue God’s work in God's way. God used the first edition of this book to profoundly shape my ministry philosophy, and I am honored to be able to recommend this 2nd edition of Brothers We are Not Professionals. I cannot commend it highly enough. Read it. Re-read it. And then teach it to others. J.D. Greear, Pastor, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Once again, Dr. Piper has provided a generation of pastors with a clear and profound statement on our calling, and his legacy of biblical faithfulness and commitment to God’s glory is felt in every chapter. Matt Carter, Pastor, Austin, Texas