Best-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."
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. Enroll in the FREE Mini-Course to experience Dr. Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.
NICL Training offered in FL, TX and GA - Learn everything you wish someone had taught you about business and ministry before you finished seminary. Gain the knowledge that will help propel your life and ministry to the next level as you implement practical lessons from Dr. Rutland's training. Training Dates and Details.
The NICL Online is a brand new option for those church and ministry leaders who cannot attend the in-person training. Now, you can receive all 60-hours of Dr. Rutland's training from the comfort of your home or ministry for a full year. Learn more about NICL Online.