John Piper’s Leave of Absence: What may we learn?

Over the years, the writing and speaking ministry of John Piper has been a great blessing to my own ministry.  So when I first learned of this leave of absence—from May 1 to December 31, 2010—my mind began to wonder.

But Mr. Piper has left no doubt in our minds:

I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, I love my Lord, my wife, my five children and their families first and foremost; and I love my work of preaching and writing and leading Bethlehem. I hope the Lord gives me at least five more years as the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem.

But on the other hand, I see several species of pride in my soul that, while they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me. How do I apologize to you, not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effects on everybody? I’ll say it now, and no doubt will say it again, I’m sorry. Since I don’t have just one deed to point to, I simply ask for a spirit of forgiveness; and I give you as much assurance as I can that I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins.

He continues:

The difference between this leave and the sabbatical I took four years ago is that I wrote a book on that sabbatical (What Jesus Demands from the World). In 30 years, I have never let go of the passion for public productivity. In this leave, I intend to let go of all of it. No book-writing. No sermon preparation or preaching. No blogging. No Twitter. No articles. No reports. No papers. And no speaking engagements. There is one stateside exception—the weekend devoted to the Desiring God National Conferencecombined with the inaugural convocation of Bethlehem College and Seminary in October. Noël thought I should keep three international commitments. Our reasoning is that if she could go along, and if we plan it right, these could be very special times of refreshment together.  (full post…; emphasis added)

During these eight months of leave, John Piper requested no pay from the church and the elders (perhaps the Holy Spirit has prescribed this one).

While most of us as pastors may not be able to take such extended leave of absence (or may not be called to do so), we may learn from pastor John Piper’s upcoming leave of absence:  “I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit.”

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Holy Spirit, John Piper and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to John Piper’s Leave of Absence: What may we learn?

  1. Pingback: John Piper on Humility | The Church of Jesus Christ

  2. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Well done, John Piper, for taking a break

  3. John says:

    I have a sneaking hunch that there are quite a few ministers who might need this. The accumulated stress from being in a fishbowl and having to do day to day ministry can be very subtle. A great reason to have a small group and good elders!

  4. Ferg says:

    Great to see such humility and wisdom and above all a man realising family is a million times more important than any ‘ministry’.

  5. T.C. R says:

    Ferg,

    A great lesson for all of us, indeed. Perhaps Benny Hinn should have done something similar.

  6. Scott W says:

    More than all the books he writes and the sermons he preaches,this is sign that he is a true man of God.

  7. T.C. R says:

    Scott W,

    That’s quite a statement to make.

  8. Kevin Sam says:

    I’m glad to hear about this. This is a good move to take before it’s too late. This is a wise move that Benny Hinn should have taken long ago.

  9. Dana says:

    I agree with all of you that this is a good thing for John Piper, his wife and his family. I whole-heartedly approve of his plan for this sabbatical. I also agree that the elders are generous and loving men.

    But…what may we learn?

    Maybe we could learn to expect that even those who preach about marriage, speak at conferences about marriage and write books about marriage are only human with the same problems and blind spots that we have. Maybe we should ponder if their blind spots in their own marriages may color the counsel they give. Maybe we should learn to look to people we actually can observe in their marriages for guidance in this area.

    • T.C. R says:

      Dana,

      Well put. But I’m struggling with what you mean by this:”Maybe we should ponder if their blind spots in their own marriages may color the counsel they give.”

      I mean, Who then is fit to offer advice if we all have blind spots? That’s my point.

      • Dana says:

        I was afraid that I didn’t do a good job on that idea.

        I think that we all have blind spots and most of us at some point are fit to offer advice.

        But those who receive advice from me surely benefit from observing my interactions with my husband and hearing how I talk about him and my family – when I am not offering advice. They just get a more realistic view. I’m sure my advice makes me sound better than my real life makes me look. None of us can live up to our ideals 100% of the time. So, the counsel I give is surely colored by my blindess to my own sin. Those who know me can probably see the sin that I cannot and evaluate my counsel in light of that.

  10. Kevin Sam says:

    Amen Dana! I am learning first hand that pastors are as human as anyone else.

  11. Pingback: John Piper putting ministry aside to help his marriage « New Epistles

  12. Pingback: Tweets that mention John Piper’s Leave of Absence: What may we learn? « NEW LEAVEN -- Topsy.com

  13. T.C. R says:

    Dana,

    I understand what you mean better. Thanks for the clarification. As you know, it’s not easy being in a position of authority, whether in the pulpit or given advice to others.

  14. Gary Simmons says:

    Resident Aliens did a good job of referring to the stresses of ministry as “being nibbled to death by ducks.”

  15. MRWBBIII says:

    PIED PIPER JOHN INVITES RICK WARREN HERETIC TO DG 2010

    FIRST THE CLOSE WORK WITH EMERGENT CHURCH MARK DRISCOLL FOLLOWED BY A 8 MONTH LEAVE FROM MINISTRY DUE TO ” UNNAMED PRIDE ..? ” NOW HIS DESIRING GOD CONFERENCE HAS NOTED HERETIC PROSPERITY GOSPEL MONEY HUNGRY MEGACHURCH AUTHOR RICK WARREN AS A SPEAKER. WHAT’S SAD IS SO MANY YOUTH OF TODAY PASTORS OF TOMORROW FOLLOW PIPER’S HEDONIST DOCTRINE OF PREACHING TEACHING & WRITINGS ! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH JOHN, COME BACK TO YOUR FIRST LOVE !!

    MRWBBIII

  16. Pingback: Well done, John Piper, for taking a break - Gentle Wisdom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s