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John Piper, Tim Keller, and Don Carson talk about growing older, making transitions, and pastoral succession.

Note that Piper told the people of Bethlehem last Sunday:

My proposal to the elders--and it comes from Noël and me, not just me (we have talked a lot about this, as you can imagine)--is that I transition from pastor for preaching and vision to a fulltime writing and BCS [Bethlehem College and Seminary] teaching and mentoring and wider speaking role on June 30, 2014--three years from now. And that we be very intentional and prayerful and thoughtful about a successor in those years.

That's not the plan yet, because the elders have to think through all the implications and come to a mind.

The Gospel Coalition looked at this issue in a profile on “Gospel Integrity and Pastoral Succession,” which includes an explanation of what Keller and Redeemer plan to do.

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7 thoughts on “Succession Plans and Growing Older”

  1. Mark E. Robinson says:

    Thanks for posting this, Justin. Having been deeply affected by the ministry of Carson and Piper, especially during my more formative years, I’m encouraged as I see these two men of God finishing well and demonstrating unimpeachable integrity along the way.

  2. Matt Capps says:


    Thank you for posting this. It is an encouragement to me as a young pastor to run the race with wisdom and keep focused on long-term fidelity and effectiveness.

  3. Jim Jacobson says:

    Very interesting conversation. I believe that Pastors should be more intentional about the future beyond them. Too many churches and movements are centered around an individual. The individual needs to duplicate themselves, and hand over easily what is not theirs in the beginning.

  4. Luke Simmons says:

    Will be nice for Piper to have some more time to focus on writing. Maybe he can actually get something published. :-)

  5. sean buchanan says:

    I wonder what these men are transitioning to? I hear Carson say focusing upon writing, but Piper? Keller?
    It’s very wise to not remain in their current role indefinitely, and its wise to develop an apprenticing plan > YET <
    We need your ongoing contributions to society – why not go work with world leaders in the Majority World – mentor them how to care for their countries.
    I'm respectful of a new pace to ministry, but I'm anxious to hear what you plan to do next.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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