Keeping It Real image

Keeping It Real

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John Ortberg being added to the list of ministerial casualties is sad and sobering. I was talking with my father (who has had a faithful ministry for over half a century) about the shortening list of high-profile church leaders who stay the course and we agreed that John Piper is a standout example.

Then this remarkable post about Piper and others who live in his neighbourhood.

Written in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the riots that followed it describes how,

Almost nothing fazes him [Piper] or his wife, Noël, who have been living in a modest house in the under-resourced neighborhood since 1980. They know what to do if they hear gunshots (call 911 and then see if they can help), how to clean up a dozen hypodermic needles from the front porch (use a broom to sweep them up without touching them), and how to scare off someone breaking into your house (open the door and yell at them).

The article concludes,

After 40 years in the neighborhood, Piper would do it all again. “I really believe that preaching the whole counsel of God decade after decade in a way that grows a life-giving church—mingled with regular calls to do crazy things for Jesus, undergirded with big-God theology, and an example of urban presence—makes a big difference.”

Piper’s commitment to Jesus, the church, and the community he serves is compelling and challenging. He hasn’t taken the easier path and moved to the suburbs or developed a lavish lifestyle out of all those book sales. There is an integrity and genuineness about Piper that feels almost unique among church leaders of his renown.

That Piper is such an outlier is tragic. It’s also a reminder that being less high-profile is no bad thing. Who really wants the pressure and publicity of leading a megachurch or leading a globally known ministry? The very thing that many ambitious young pastors desire too often becomes a curse.

Well done John Piper. Well done for keeping it real all these years. Keep on going!

 

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