Ministry was not what John Piper planned when he attended Wheaten College in the 1960s. In fact, his career path was pre-med. After an illness put him on the sidelines, God changed the course of his life. While in the hospital, he listened to sermons on the radio and decided he needed to go into the ministry. He obtained his Bachelor of Divinity and went to Seminary. Reading was also a source of inspiration. John Piper enjoyed the works of Johnathan Edwards, Daniel Fuller, and C.S. Lewis.
Pastor and Author
After achieving his Doctorate in Theology at University of Munich, and teaching at Bethel University and Seminary in Minnesota, John Piper felt the calling to be a pastor.
- Bethlehem Baptist Church – Piper became senior pastor in 1980. He served in this capacity until he stepped down in March of 2013. Most of his sermons can be found on his website, desiringGod.org.
- Author – In addition to his pastoral role, Piper wrote over 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. This book would be the springboard of his future ministry, Desiring God Ministries.
In 2018, a Bethel University study named John Piper one of the 12 most effective preachers; partnering him with names such as Tony Evans and Charles Swindoll.
John Piper & Desiring God Ministries
What began as a simple project for John Piper’s assistant, turned into Desiring God Ministries. The overflow of his sermons and the books he had penned drew a quick following. It now draws an international audience of 12,000+ free resources available to 3.5+ million users. Among those resources are:
- Articles – An array of topic-based articles about Prayer, the Bible, and sharing the Gospel. Many are written by Piper himself, and some are written by staff writers.
- Sermon Series – A collection of John Piper sermons taken from his pastoral days to Bethlehem Baptist Church as well selections from conferences at which he preached.
- Podcasts – A great selection of podcasts to enrich your understanding of the Gospel. With several to subscribe to, there is something for everyone. In “Ask Pastor John” Piper answers the difficult questions about theology; Being a reformation pastor, “Here We Stand” is a 31-day study in those that founded the movement; and “Look at the Book” is a series that teaches listeners about reading the Bible.
One of the amazing things about the Desiring God ministry is that all resources are free to anyone who wants access to them. His ministry is funded primarily through donation (98%.) This enables Piper and his ministry team to extend this offer to help people deepen their relationship with Christ and obtain true joy in their life.
One of the biggest, and for some controversial, topics that is fundamental in Piper’s teachings is Christian Hedonism. It is a concept he wrote about in his book, Desiring God. While a complicated topic, it can be explained in a simple statement, “God is most glorified in us when we are completely satisfied in Him.” It is about finding our love for and in God is so deep that the outflow is doing the things that express the passion we have for Him. We all struggle with what we think God desires of us, and what we desire of life. John Piper explains this in great detail in his podcast, “Everyone Wants to Be Happy,” and in “How to Explain Christian Hedonism over Lunch.”
John Piper is still active on the ministry trail. He still maintains his position of chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary; he contributes to the Desiring God podcasts, primarily the “Ask Pastor John” series. In that series, he has nearly 1400 episode: Questions on why a Christian suffers, relationships, how we should serve God, and the deep questions we all have about God and Christianity.
Written by Jeff Bray | Image source: DisiringGod.org