(Photo: The Gospel Coalition via The Christian Post)
Noted theologian and founder of Desiring God Ministries, John Piper confessed that he is an introvert affected by brokenness, but God used him anyway to build a powerful ministry and pastor it successfully for 33 years.
This week, in a discussion about his 33 years of ministry with 75 pastors, Piper confessed to not really being a people person and shared how God was able to turn that feature of his personality into a blessing for his congregation.
"It's amazing how many introverts go into the ministry. It's amazing how many people go into the ministry who don't really like to be with people," Piper told his audience. "Now a lot of people would say that's a bad thing, you should repent of that, turn around and do something else or learn to hang out with people."
"Plead with God to make your indisposition to be with people a blessing to people. In other words, I would say after 33 years, my default after preaching is to go home and pray and read, not to hang out for three hours over a meal. That's my disposition. I do hang out for an hour and pray with people, and I'm glad I do, and it is rewarding to do it," noted Piper.
But "if you're wired that way (introverted), instead of constantly praying God would make you another kind of person, pray that He would make you really useful for people. I think He's done that for me. I think there are 'brokennesses' in my childhood, 'brokennesses' in my family that make me the way I am. I don't think it's altogether admirable, it's just reality," said Piper of his experience.
"And so what do you do with that?" he asked. "You say well 'I'm just gonna quit and not be a pastor,' or you can say, 'God, you can take five loaves and two fish and feed five thousand people and you can take this kind of human being and take those dispositions and indispositions and make them a blessing to people."
Piper, who was initially responding to a question on what he feels are the three priorities for a faithful ministry, had told the pastors: "Love the Lord your God with your whole mind and strength, love your neighbor as yourself and love your Bible."
"I really think if you don't love what you're seeing in your Bible you probably aren't gonna survive or you'll become a CEO and manage an organization and therefore my plea is ask God to cause you to see wonderful things in His Word every day that stun you, make you love to come back to the book every day and then operate out of that being stunned," said Piper.
"The people by and large are just making it from one day to the next. I don't think people go to church mainly to see a sharp cool organized situation with a leader," highlighted Piper.
"They want to see a man who has been with God, they want to smell what that's like, see what that's like and so I think your top priority is to be amazed at God, amazed at Christ, amazed at the Gospel."
Piper pointed out that God helped to keep him intimately acquainted with the Bible through his introversion and that helped him to be a blessing to his ministry.
"I believe what people have benefited from me most is what I have seen in the Bible. I don't think I have blessed Bethlehem much by being a good organizer or a good model of personal evangelism. I can list a lot of ways they have not benefited from me. But, if I don't despair, if I say there's been some good done, I know where it came from — it came from me taking notes over my Bible," he said.