Mark Driscoll. Just the name alone brings about an array of emotions, emotions that vary among Christians on a similar scale as who they vote for in elections.
He’s polarizing, he’s brash, he’s doing God’s work.
How I Was Introduced to Mark Driscoll
When I began developing my own relationship with Christ, Mark was a man who I looked to for guidance. You see, like many who grow up in the church, there’s a point in time that I like to call the critical moment, where the child either chooses to follow the world, or develop their own relationship with the Father.
There’s many sermons available for viewing anytime of any day with the explosion of the internet. However, not all Christian speakers are men I align with. In fact many I find will have a great biblical knowledge, however, aren’t somebody I see as being similar to myself. Thus, making it more difficult to truly engage in listening to what they have to say. By saying this, I am in no way meaning I disagree with what they present, but rather view their personality and attitudes towards things different than mine. We vary by degree, not by kind.
That being said, there was somebody who I began watching online in 2008 that I could look at and say, “yeah, that’s me.” And here’s why:
A MAN of God
This man was Mark Driscoll. In the Christian world that I grew up in, it was refreshing to see somebody who wouldn’t perfectly describe the word “milk toast.”
Mark would present the Bible as it was; there was no sugar coating, dumbing down, or apologies for how biblical heroes acted. He presented the faults of those in the bible as lessons to learn from, and didn’t apologize for Jesus’ actions, such as the flipping of tables and benches of the money changers in the temple. (If you haven’t you can read the story here)
Another aspect of Mark’s ministry that inspired me was his transparency. In a move that many churches have since copied, Mark would hold church services in which attendee’s could text their questions, and Mark would answer them on stage. Putting yourself on the spot and allowing the holy spirit to speak through you in such a situation as that is not only brave, but surely a declaration of dependence upon God.
Mark would also admit to faults publicly, whether that be with his family, friends, or the outside world. How many people do you see publicly admit to faults like Mark has. He showed humility and was a great role model for living a strong life for God, but also being soft and humble when needed.
A great example of Mark’s humility
A Businessman for the Kingdom
Finally, Mark was a good businessman. Business and the Church have often drawn negative connotations from people, however, a church must be viewed as a business in order to survive.
By business, I mean the Church must be able to market itself and the Word of God, use accounting principles to prevent fraud from within, and yes, be able to sell Christianity. All of these things will be increased by a church that is alive, growing, and filled with the Spirit, however as you can read in my post here, you should be content, but not complacent. Meaning, love what God has given you, but don’t just sit around waiting for God to do something. Do things to give him the opportunity to open doors and allow you to grow.
All Men Fall, Great Men Rise Again
Being a type-A, competitive man I understand how Mark is. He has made mistakes, been over zealous in speaking his thoughts, but who hasn’t? He speaks on Christian men today being weak and not living as Christ would. Allowing the world’s views to dictate their own and rather than being opposed to things the Bible opposes, becoming accepting of everything the world presents. However, as I’m sure Mark would agree, disagreeing with somebody’s choices and lifestyle, does NOT mean you do not love them. And I believe throughout Mark’s ministry he has shown love and kindness towards those the Bible deems as sinful. Because just as they sin and need forgiveness, so do we.
Mark is at a time in his ministry where even his own brother’s are turning on him. Those who championed him at one time, are removing him from speaking engagements and things that just years ago they would have loved him to be a part of.
He has since resigned from Mars Hill Church, a church based in Seattle, a city that at one time had some of the fewest Christians per-capita than anywhere else in the US. Seattle is now home to many strong and growing churches including the one led by Judah Smith. Mars Hill is also the church that Mark spent 18 years growing into one of the most recognized churches in the entire US.
In this time of hardship, Mark does not need more condemnation, but rather encouragement to fulfill what God has for his life.
“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. – Acts 13:38
Why Write This Now?
The reason I write this is because this past Sunday my church, James River Church, one that is pastored by a great man of God in John Lindell who I have had the opportunity to learn from my entire life, welcomed Mark to speak.
The Sermon was so fittingly on Paul, one of the Bible’s greatest heroes. In the sermon Mark showed how Paul, then Saul had made many mistakes, turned to God and then lived a life that was far from easy including being stoned, imprisoned, and shipwrecked. Many of these due to his belief in the one true King.
For those reading this, I urge you to stand along side Mark. Forgive him as Jesus forgave you. Uplift this brother in Christ and allow him to continue winning the hearts of men and women to be filled with Jesus and walk a life for him, as he has done so many times before.
To Mark, don’t give up the good fight brother. Continue presenting Jesus as the Savior for the world and the one true hope.
You can find more about Mark Driscoll at his blog: MarkDriscoll.org
– Cooper Mitchell