Prominent evangelical pastor John Piper along with other church leaders plan to tackle the issues of men becoming strong Christian leaders in today's world during the Desiring God ministry's annual pastors conference held Monday to Wednesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Joining Piper at this year's conference, titled, "God, Manhood & Ministry – Building Men for the Body of Christ," will be Doug Wilson, Crawford Loritts, Darren Patrick, and Ramez Atallah. The main sessions –which begin with Wilson's message, "'Father Hunger,' in Leading the Home" – are Webcast for free at www.desiringgod.org starting at 7 p.m. EST.
In a short video clip introducing the conference, Piper said, "It seems to us that a really important thing to us is helping men be men – Helping men discover what is [their] unique contribution to life, church, family, mission as man, not just as human, but what is God calling [them] to be as a man."
"This conference is going to wrestle with how to help the men of our Church grow in the grace of godly manhood for the sake of all those relationships and all of that God-honoring flourishing," he continued.
A new addition to the conference, that have been offered by Desiring God since 1988, is a side-by-side discussion between Piper and Wilson on the subject of ministry approach during the last session on Wednesday.
The theme for the discussion between Piper and Wilson, who is the pastor of Christ Church and faculty member and senior fellow at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho, is "The Supremacy of Christ in All of Life – The Pastor and His Worldview."
Piper, who is the pastor for "Preaching and Vision" at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, said he plans to discuss with Wilson how the two might approach ministry similarly and differently, and "just have a conversation together and dig into some of our common roots in the teachings of [18th century theologian] Jonathan Edwards."
Atallah, who serves as general secretary of the Bible Society of Egypt, plans to talk about the ways pastors can lead in difficult areas of the world where Christianity is not readily accepted. Born in Egypt, Atallah is also the honorary chairman at International Fellowship of Evangelical Students and served as program chair for the Lausanne III World Congress.
Piper said he invited Atallah to the conference in order for him to talk about what it means to "minister in a setting globally where the stresses are so high."
"We really need to rise up and be the kind of men God is calling us to be and not wimp out on the call of God just because there are dangers in the world," said Piper, in reference to Atallah's conference subject.
Piper said that he looks forward to the pastors conferences each year for not only the information that is taught, but to sing worship songs together and to vigorously discuss theological issues in the presence of each other.
"It's really significant that we get together. It means a lot to me," Piper said.