John Piper’s Advice to Me (and every preacher)

Monday and Tuesday are for Preaching

About  eight years ago (17 now), I had the privilege of preaching the men’s retreat for Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. John Piper cares for the men of his church and was present at the retreat (maybe to make sure that I didn’t lead them astray!). It was a delight to be among such men and to feel their passion for Christ and their desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

Dr. Piper and I had a stimulating conversation about church planting over dinner one night after an exhausting game of soccer with the men in the afternoon. I am sure that he has forgotten me but the debt I owe to him is unforgettable and deep. In many ways, he has been my chief discipler for more than twenty years. One of the pieces of advice come from his outstanding book The Supremacy of God in Preaching. Below I have summarized his “APTAT” approach (page 48-49 revised edition) to the last two minutes before he stands up to preach. Of course, APTAT is also the way to prepare the message during the week.

“Gladness and gravity should be woven together in the life
and preaching of a pastor in such a way as to sober the careless soul and sweeten the burdens of the saints.” (p. 52)

  1. Admit – my utter helplessness not only for the task at hand, but even to breath without Him.
  2. Pray – for help. Beg for insight, power, humility, love, memory. (John suggests rising 3.5 hours before worship, spend two hours in prayer over your text. I have to start doing that.)
  3. Trust God – to empower for His glory based upon specific promise in His word.
  4. Act – in confidence that God will be with you to fulfill His word for His glory.
  5. Thank God – for the privilege of preaching His word.

And for you non preachers: Pray for your pastors and elders to be mighty men in the word and mighty on their knees.

One thought on “John Piper’s Advice to Me (and every preacher)

  1. Great words from a man of God! Our Pastor begins each sermon in prayer, asking the Lord to speak through him and use his words, since without Jesus, his words would be futile. Thank you for sharing!


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