john-piperBest-selling author and pastor John Piper will focus on his writing after preaching his last sermon as senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where he has served for more than 30 years.

"This is the last message in the series of 30-year theological trademarks, and I am calling it 'sorrowful, yet always rejoicing,' " Piper said from the pulpit Dec. 30. "I believe for these decades this theme and tone has marked us deeply. We are a happy people. But we are not what you might call 'chipper.' There is a plaintive strain in the symphony of our lives. I think Jesus was the happiest man whoever lived. And oh how sorrowful! A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

Piper, 66, has stepped down from running the church with close to 5,000 weekly attendees, but he still has the passion to write books, preach and tour the country with his Desiring God ministry, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

"I have ... a limited amount of energy, and I want it to go toward reading, writing, preaching, but not organizational efforts at meetings," Piper told the newspaper.

His dozens of books include Don't Waste Your Life, Spectacular Sins and What Jesus Demands From the World. What Jesus Demands From the World and Spectacular Sins won in the Christian Life category of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's Christian Book Awards in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

A 2010 LifeWay Research survey of U.S. pastors ranked Piper among the 10 most influential living preachers alongside Billy Graham, Rick Warren and Max Lucado.

Piper will stay on as a Bethlehem associate pastor until Easter. Along with his wife of 44 years, Noel, and their 17-year-old daughter, Talitha, their youngest of five children, will then move to the Knoxville, Tenn., area, for close to a year while he works on his writing, the Star Tribune reported. Then they plan return to their home near Bethlehem's downtown Minneapolis campus.

Piper will be succeeded Jason Meyer, 36, but said he will still occasionally preach at the church.

"I don't think that's [retire] a biblical word," he told the newspaper. "No offense to people who do it. I feel God's pleasure when I preach. I feel really alive."

Click here to view the text of John Piper's last sermon.

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Order Life in the Spirit to actively grow your ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. Your congregation will stay saturated in God's Word, learn to hear His voice, understand their purpose and calling and move into an active role in your ministry.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Jentezen Franklin encourages church leaders to encourage their flocks to vote their values.

    Why We Must Count the Cost—and Vote

    There is a propaganda war that is raging in this country, and it is full of manipulation, lies, ...

  • Pastors, do you see anything familiar on this list?

    10 Habits You Should Think About Dropping

    If you recognize these patterns in yourself, take an inventory.

  • Life.Church is at it again with its ever-expanding free technology.

    Life.Church Open Network Launches to Further Equip Church Leaders

    Life.Church adds to a decade of generosity by expanding its free resources.

  • Have you ever had a cringe moment during your church announcements?

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Church Announcements

    Sometimes they just miss the mark, albeit unintentionally.

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Peace is indeed attainable in this selfish world. Just look for it in the right place.

    Finding Peace in a Fallen and Selfish World

    You can have peace in this world. Just stop looking in the wrong places.

  • Praying for leaders

    Failing to Do This Can Spell Disaster for the Church

    And it has the potential to destroy many lives.

  • Church members argue

    12 Reasons Church Staff Conflict May Arise

    This is not unique, but among these there are some that seem more pervasive than others.

  • Some of these reasons for leaving the church are simply not plausible.

    7 Reasons People Leave Their Church During Crisis Times

    Some of the excuses are pretty extreme and, quite frankly, lazy.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders