Nov

19

2012

Justin Taylor|12:00 pm CT

How “Professionalization” in the Pastorate Has Changed in the Last 10 Years

From the new introduction to John Piper’s revised and expanded forthcoming edition of Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea for Radical Ministry (B&H, 2013):

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 there is quiet pressure felt by many pastors: 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 power offices of the 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 by 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. The way I tried to get at the problem ten years ago was to ask some questions. Let me expand that list. Only this time think old and new professionalism.

  • Is there professional praying?
  • Professional trusting in God’s promises?
  • Professional weeping over souls?
  • Professional musing on the depths of revelation?
  • Professional rejoicing in the truth?
  • Professional praising God’s name?
  • Professional treasuring the riches of Christ?
  • Professional walking by the Spirit?
  • Professional exercise of spiritual gifts?
  • Professional dealing with demons?
  • Professional pleading with backsliders?
  • Professional perseverance in a hard marriage?
  • Professional playing with children?
  • Professional courage in the face of persecution?
  • Professional patience with everyone?

These are not marginal activities in the pastoral life. They are vital.

You can read the whole excerpt here.

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