The theme of this year’s Desiring God Pastor’s Conference is “Brothers, We Are Still Not Professionals.” Pastor John Piper, in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals writes, “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.” Instead, pastors ought to “reclaim the centrality of the supernatural in ministry.”
What does this practically look like in the life of the pastor? Desiring God Executive Editor David Mathis suggests it’s more about remembering to fulfill biblical priorities than avoiding professional tendencies.
In the concluding chapter of The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor he writes:
The temptations are great, in the life of both the pastor-scholar and the scholar-pastor, to give greater and greater attention to the peripheral things, to the multitude of marginally important subjects. The peripheral and marginal no doubt at times do need our attention, at times even great attention. But as a Christian leader, whether pastor-scholar or scholar-pastor, the servant of the Lord comes back again to the old, old story that is the very heart of the faith. It is the gospel that apostle Paul says is of “first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3).
To this end, Mathis closes with a prayer:
That all our thoughtful shepherding and all our pastoral scholarship may be to the great end of having the gospel message about Jesus dwell richly (Col. 3:16) both in us and in our people; that knowing Jesus would be the great end of all our pastoring and our scholarship; that we ourselves, in all our preaching, writing, studying, and counseling, would continue to see ourselves as the great beneficiaries of his great grace; that into eternity we would be followers of Jesus more and more shaped, saturated, and transformed by his person and work. To Jesus, the great pastor-scholar, be the glory. Amen