The evangelical inter-webs are buzzing at the nomination of John Piper’s potential successor, Jason Meyer. Meyer’s resume and reputation are at the very least humbling at it sounds like Bethlehem Baptist will be getting a phenomenal leader and servant with fresh vision.
One item from Justin Taylor’s announcement of the news struck me however. It was in reference to Piper’s role in all this. Taylor says of Piper and the decision to find a successor, “he still has joyful energy to preach but feels increasingly incompetent and less focused for fruitful and effective visionary leadership of Bethlehem’s organization and structure; they will remain at the church (after a year away)…”
Piper is passionate about preaching and will do it until he dies, but he feels “increasingly incompetent and less focused for fruitful and effective visionary leadership…” I pray that I can become a leader like this, capable of recognizing my time of leadership has shifted. There are not many aging pastors with the same realization as Piper but certainly the same situation. I am thankful for his example and wisdom.
I think it is also significant that the Pipers will take one year away – seemingly to allow Meyer to pastor without a constant shadow which will be difficult in that situation. This is a good model for the church in general.
This week’s piece worth reading is actually one you can watch. John Piper outlines some caution for young reformed Christians. Justin Taylor had the clip on his blog and Desiring God put it out this week.
The best nugget from the video is when Piper quotes Rick Warren on his doctrine of the bible. Warren says “The bible is inerrant and authoritative but my interpretation is not always inerrant and authoritative.” I need this level of humility and know some of my friends do as well…
Lots of folks in the ministry realm will be talking about John Piper’s decision to take an eight month leave from speaking and pastoring to focus on his marriage and defeating pride in his life. John Piper is a prolific writer and he passionately presents what he prayerfully believes to be truth and while some may not agree with his tone or truth, they can’t disagree that he has had a significant impact on Christianity in the U.S.
Piper’s decision comes after he noticed “several species” of pride in his soul that grieves him and he wants to rid his life of that and be the caring husband he is supposed to be.
While there will be much discussion about sabbaticals and leaves I think the challenging thing is that Piper is man enough to step away from his industry to focus on his marriage and family. Ministry or not, most of us fail to set boundaries and we pursue our careers over our loved ones or we allow our pride to fuel our pursuit and end up in the wrong place.
As I look at shifting into a life of ministry I pray that I am half the man that Piper is and that I can be the husband that Stacy deserves and the father that Iona deserves.