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John Piper Imparts Wisdom From His Five Decades of Ministry and an Article He Wrote Titled ‘Missions and Masturbation’

Stressing the importance of pastoral ministry, Piper said, “Your ministry hangs on your life. I mean what your people are hanging on is you stay alive—it isn’t a given. And so to keep yourself alive is for their sake. If you die, they die. Or they get another shepherd and he may not be what they need. So staying alive, that’s the Word of God and prayer, and then I would say nurture your marriage because if that fails, you’re probably going to lose your ministry.”

Piper encouraged the men in the room to date their wives every week, and while on those dates, ask, “How are we doing? How’s the pace? What do you need?” He explained that if your wife is not with you, your ministry will go south, saying, “Nurturing your marriage is really, really crucial.”

Nearing the end of the interview, Piper shared how he cared for church members through the years who never really seemed to mature in their faith and love for Jesus Christ.

At the beginning of his ministry, Piper believed he could change everyone. If he could just have them long enough, he could get them to see the true glories of God. Today, he doesn’t believe that is God’s intentions.

“I don’t know why God has pointed some saints to always walk with a limp, emotionally,” he said. “I think people have emotional limps they’ll always have and I just learned to be patient with them all.”

“I don’t beat myself up as much as I used to that I can’t change them,” Piper said.

Addressing the older pastors in the room, Dever’s last question he asked Piper was, “How do you end a ministry well?”

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Piper said he didn’t think about that question until about ten years before he stepped down in ministry but encouraged pastors to think about that at the beginning of their ministry.

“Impart to faithful men who will be able to teach others also and see whether or not God would be pleased to raise up elders in your church who can come alongside you. And God might be pleased to equip one of those elders to be better than him in his preaching and his leadership abilities,” he said.

Piper encouraged pastors to teach the church “what it is to be a pastor, what it is to be elders, so that they have an ecclesiology and they have a philosophy of leadership,” so that they know what they’re looking for when you step away from the pastoral ministry.