Piper Still Working on Soul, Family During Leave

Halfway into his first leave from ministry, evangelical pastor John Piper released an update to let supporters know how he is doing on the soul, family and vocational front.

"[W]e continue to probe the roots of our most characteristic sins with a view to confessing them and repenting and seeking God's transforming power through prayer and Bible-saturated counsel," he said of him and his wife, Noel, in a brief update Sunday.

The influential pastor left the pulpit of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis in May after announcing to the congregation that he would be taking his first-ever leave of absence. His break was not prompted by a particular sin but by "ongoing character flaws" – including pride – and the stresses they have caused to others. He said he felt his marriage, soul and ministry pattern needed a reality check from the Holy Spirit.

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Piper also stopped all blogging and writing as well as speaking engagements – with a few exceptions that he and his wife agreed to.

For now, Piper said the priority is soul and family.

Along with spending extended time in prayer and Scripture, the couple is spending "much more time than usual" talking with each other and connecting with their wider family.

And on the vocational front, Piper said, "[W]e are finding that we do love Jesus more than we love serving Jesus. And we really love serving Jesus, especially at Bethlehem, and are eagerly looking forward to being back."

While Piper had expressed the hope of returning to preaching after his eight-month leave, he said Sunday that he has not yet given much thought to the place and pattern of "post-leave ministry."

Currently, Kenny Stokes – former downtown campus pastor at Bethlehem – is serving as Interim Pastor for Preaching while Piper is away.

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