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Vibrant, Strong, Wise, Tender, Gutsy, Masculine Pastors and Their Superbly Strong Partners in Ministry

September 20, 2007

John Piper's reflections on pastors and their wives.

John Piper recently honored Chuck & Carol Steddom and Sam & Vicki Crabtree for their contribution to Bethlehem Baptist church over the past ten years. The following excerpt from his comments captures the essence of pastoral ministry at this complementarian church:

1. Both (Chuck and Sam) bring masculine force to their work.

You meet it on the basketball court: Sam simply doesn’t miss shots, and Chuck is a gorilla on the boards. But I mean the masculine force in worship and administrative motion. It is no secret I want the leadership of Bethlehem to have a vibrant, strong, wise, tender, gutsy, masculine feel to it. There are too many effeminate churches—especially in worship services—and it is killing the church for men who think this is too silky for them. And it is killing the church for their women who wish they were there growing strong in grace. Praise God for two men who give to the leadership at Bethlehem a humble, strong, and naturally masculine feel. They don’t need to work at it. They embody it.

2. Both of these men married superbly strong partners in ministry (Carol and Vicki), especially at the piano.

Whether it is worship services, weddings, funerals, or other gatherings, Carol and Vicki are models of undistracting excellence. That is, they do their work so well they are almost invisible. There is no distracting flare. There is rock-solid strength in the genre at hand, and I never lose a moment’s peace worrying about their competence or their appropriateness.

Reflecting on their partnership in the gospel, Pastor John rejoiced, “The Lord is my chosen portion and cup, you hold my lot, the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places” (Psalm 16:5-6).

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