Having your own hunger for God is an essential foundation for ministry work, well-known pastor and theologian John Piper told those attending and watching the Internet livestream of a Christian leadership conference held in Raleigh, N.C. on Tuesday.
"The foundation of your ministry is a hunger for God," said Piper at the Advance 13 conference. "Above that, the foundation for your ministry is being satisfied in all that God is for you in Jesus. The goal of that ministry is to help people go there. All your life, give yourself to that – to bring those people from loving the world, being satisfied in the world, until they put all that to death and to praise Jesus as their all satisfying treasure. That's the goal in ministry, to help them get there."
Piper, whose last sermon as the lead pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis will be on Easter Sunday, said he believes that ministry leaders should have the joy of Christ inside them in order to lead well.
"Whether or not a hunger for God is an essential foundation for a faithful and effective ministry will depend on what you believe the goal of ministry is," he explained. "If you believe, as I do, that the goal of ministry is the all satisfying gladness of your people's hearts in the glory of Christ, or in all that God is for them in Christ, then it will follow that your joy in Christ is an essential foundation for that ministry."
The theme for the Advance13 conference, which is being held at the Duke Energy Center, is "Building Faithful and Effective Churches." The conference is hosted by Advance the Church, a partnership of local churches in Raleigh/Durham that focus on the planting and revitalization of Gospel-centered churches.
Piper said the foundation of his message on Tuesday is centered on 2 Corinthians 1:24, which reads: "Not that we have lorded over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for your stand firm in your faith."
"It is so helpful to have crystal clear, apostolic statements about what you are supposed to try to do in ministry because there are just a thousand things you are told to do as you read magazines and books – it just becomes very overwhelming and discouraging at times," he said.
"That was Paul's clear apostolic goal in his ministry – 'I am working with you so that you will have joy.' That's what I think pastors should do. That's what a faithful and effective ministry inspires to," he added.
Piper said there must be a hunger for God because "when there is no hunger for what you are eating there is no pleasure for what you are eating."
One of the most popular re-tweeted statements from Piper's message found under the conference Twitter hashtag #advance13 was "Nobody will sustain authentic love for the world who is not profoundly satisfied in Jesus."
Scheduled to speak on Wednesday at the conference are pastors J.D. Greear, David Platt, and Matt Chandler.
On the Web: http://www.advance13.com/