This post is entirely unplanned. In fact, I just happened to see John Piper’s tweet about the succession plan going forward. And now that the choice has been made, I’d like to share a thought two why I believe Jason Meyer is the right man for Bethlehem Baptist Church as the successor to John Piper.
I met the guy who is replacing John Piper first on a UPS tram at 3:30AM nearly five years ago. He was reading his Greek New Testament, something which I came to find he was actually memorizing. I had to meet this guy. Walking to the parking lot, we connected as I soon to find what a gracious guy Jason Meyer really is. Jason worked third shift with me, seeking to evangelize the same people I was seeking to reach. He also pastored a small church out in the sticks, faithfully expositing God’s Word in total obscurity. He was completing his Ph.D while teaching NT Greek, and if I remember correctly, holding down a couple of other jobs. What I came to find God enabling Jason to do was nothing short of amazing. More than that, God afforded me a year of getting to know the kind of man Jason is, which leads me to this post and Piper’s announcement.
While in seminary, I always wanted a godly man to mentor me, to speak into my life and help me love Jesus more. Three years in, I did not think it would happen. But on that cold, autumn morning on a stinky UPS bus, God answered that prayer through Jason. Over the course of the next year, Jason would become my Greek professor, mentor, and a great personal friend. Every Thursday morning, we would meet at the UPS cafeteria, reading through Scripture and praying fervently for the Lord to work in our life. It was honestly the highlight of my week. We were not just praying. We were communing with God. The people you’re with when those moments occur are the ones you want to have with you the rest of your life.
I certainly don’t know Jason as well as others do, but I did have the opportunity to see his life up close and personal, how he loves his wife Cara and precious girls (and since then two adopted sons). I been with him in prayer, observed his love and passion for God’s Word. The sincerity and gravitas by which he walks with Jesus permeates every aspect of his life. There is nothing sensational about Jason Meyer, and that is why most of the evangelical world does not know him. He hasn’t sought a platform when he could have easily had one. He’s not that kind of guy. He’s the guy you meet at 3:30AM in the UPS cafeteria and the young preacher boy giving his life away to a small country church that no one has ever heard of. That’s the guy I believe God had long ago called to be the man to succeed John Piper.
There’s a lot of similarity between John Piper and Jason Meyer.
First, their love for the glory of God is preeminent. They are both men who are truly God-besotten.
Second, they are committed to exulting in God through the faithful exposition of God’s Word. Jason Meyer is an incredibly anointed preacher. His gifting excels mightily in the proclamation of the Word, as does Piper.
Third, they are both pastor-scholars. Jason could teach just about any subject for theological education (any has taught many already between SBTS, Louisiana College, and Bethlehem Seminary). He is also an accomplished writer, as we know Piper is as well.
Fourth, they are both committed advocates and exemplars of the adoption and orphan care movement. Jason and Cara have adopted two boys from Ethiopia, and John and Noel have adopted as well.
Fifth, they are both unassuming and unpretentious in their disposition. You would not be able to spot Jason Meyer out apart from the Spirit’s gifting being exercised through him, and the same is true for Piper. They are plain, ordinary men with extraordinary anointing from God.
Sixth, they are committed churchmen and encouragers of life in the body of Christ outside the pulpit. I witnessed that on a personal level through Jason’s investment in my life but also on a corporate level in the ways he led his church.
Seventh, they are intentionally investing their lives in the kingdom of God by training men for pastoral ministry. If I’m not mistaken, Jason was in the first class of the Bethlehem Institute (with JT and others). Jason has likewise invested himself in training others. One example of this would be while he was in Pineville, LA as a professor at Louisiana College. While teaching a preaching class, he realized that none of his students have been (or currently were) exposed to biblical, expository preaching, so with the administration’s permission, he used the school’s chapel services to preach expositionally through the gospel of Mark as a means not only instruct but also model biblical preaching for his students (not to mention that unbelievers were being converted in chapel!).
Eighth, these men lead a simple life. Like their disposition, their approach to life is not complicated. As far as I know, you can Google Jason Meyer and find virtually nothing. He has posted one tweet. He moved from Louisville in a U-Haul. He takes care of his family working three jobs, one of them at the middle of the night. That reminds me of how Piper is–with the clothes he wears, the house he lives in, the car he drives, the places he chooses to eat, etc.
Ninth, both these men have a passion of souls and the unreached peoples of the world. The call to go to hard places with not go silent with Jason, and the passion to reach lost people whether across the street or around the world will be magnified both in exhortation and by example.
Lastly, the reason why I believe these men have so much in common is because of their intimate knowledge of, and supreme joy in, Jesus as their treasure.
So when I got the news that Jason was being nominated to be the successor of John Piper at BBC, I was thrilled. They could not have selected a better man to take that role. Sure, who wants to be that guy who follows Piper? Maybe the guy pastoring a church of 50 in the backwoods of Kentucky? Yeah, that guy.
But seriously, in the big picture of my life and ministry, no one has impacted me more than John Piper. In the smaller picture of my life in seminary, no one made a bigger investment in my life than Jason Meyer. So to see the latter succeed the former brings me particular joy and gratefulness. My hope and prayer is that the greatest days of BBC will lie ahead as God sovereignly enables Jason to shepherd the people of BBC and serve the body of Christ in unique and at the same time familiar ways that Piper has for all these years.