Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"If I Had It to Do Over Again . . ."

Mark Driscoll, from last Sunday's sermon, "Humble Christians":
I should've waited to plant this church. I had never been a pastor in a church before I started my own church. I should have been. Had I to do it over again, I certainly would have started Mars Hill Church. God called me to that, and I rejoice that, by his grace, in spite of me, things are going pretty well.

But, I had not even been a member of a church when I started my own. That's like, "I flew in a plane once. I'm ready to be a pilot." Not really. And there's other people on board. And that's not safe for them. I went to a church and though, "I could do this," so I did. And so much of the pain and problem in the history of Mars Hill is that my zeal was out ahead of my preparedness, particularly my humility. Arrogance, braggadociosness, pride, self-sufficiency--that hurt the health of Mars Hill early on, and I have been, by God's grace, trying to catch up my character with my responsibility ever since.

I really want the best for you, particularly those of you who are called by God into leadership positions. Had I to do it over again, I would have become a member of a church, I would have worked through the eldership process at a church, I would have subjected myself to the elders. I would have received rebuke and correction and exhortation. They would have talked to me about my pride and my anger and my bitterness, my short temper, my self-sufficiency--a whole list of things that needed work, and I would have humbled myself. And then when they confirmed that it was time, God could have lifted me up to go start Mars Hill. As it was, by the grace of God, we have made it, and by the grace of God, I'm learning as I go.

But, do not use me as the best example. Had I to do it over again, I would do it over again, and I would do it differently. And I think our church would be better served had I waited a few years.
In light of all the recent discussion of his preaching choices and style, this seems like an illuminating perspective.


Don Johnson said...

So resign, already.

He's not indispensable. If he is admitting incompetence, he ought to resign and do it right next time.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anonymous said...

Of course he's not indespensible, nobody is. That alone is not reason to resign, or everyone would need to resign.

It also doesn't look like he's saying that he thinks he is currently unqualified or disqualified or icompetent. It looks to me like he's saying that, if he knew then what he knows now he'd have taken a different route. How many of us can't say the same?

Of course, we didn't know then what we know now and we can't go back for a do over.


Andrew said...

Come on, Don. I find it a little hard to believe that if a well-known fighting fundy mouthed those same words (minus the part about Mars Hill Church), you would have the same reaction. You would probably be praising them for their humility. And rightfully so, by the way.

I am not a big Driscoll supporter at all, but let's be fair.

Anonymous said...

If what Driscoll said in that recent sermon bears fruit, wonderful... it would be an answer to many prayers offered up by many people. My hesitancy to get too excited here is that he has "confessed" his pride and lack of humility before and used that as a platform for bashing his church and certain leaders for THEIR pride and lack of humility.

Also, I have been researching MH for a little while now, and I have some deep concerns regarding Driscoll and MH. What grieves me the most is what appears to be spiritual and church abuse. The patterns I kept consistently running into through a variety of sources, (MD's own sermons and his recent book, Vintage Church among them), compelled me to create a blog.

The following is from my “About” page on my site, :

Freedom for Captives is about liberating people from that which binds them. Isa. 61:1 is my calling, my mission in life, namely: “to bring Good News to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” My focus at this time is about exposing what I believe to be church and spiritual abuse occurring at Mars Hill Church, Seattle.

In this blog you will find postings which cover:
Mars Hill Church Abuse; Mark Driscoll; Spiritual Abuse; Church Abuse; Psychological Abuse; Former Members of Mars Hill; By-Laws; Controlling Personalities in the Church; Narcissistic Leaders & Other Character Disordered Leaders; My Brief Experience of MHC & Abusive Systems; “Christianized” Misogyny; “Wives Submit!”; “Obey Your Leaders!”; Membership Requirements; and more…

As a survivor of spiritual abuse and trained as a mental health professional, I perceive what appear to be many signs of spiritual abuse and cult-like control: Controlling Pastor with “Yes Men” Elders; No Talk Rule; No Dissent; Emphasis on Submission/Obedience; Shunning of “Unrepentant” Former Members; Dis-fellowshipping Questioners/Critical Thinkers; By-Laws Removing Accountability of Pastor/Elders; Mind/Thought Control; Membership Covenant and Financial Giving Pledge Required; “Biblical” Counseling Only, if Referred Out, Must Sign Release Form (no confidentiality allowed); Kangaroo Court Firing of Two Elders Who Dared to Question; Extreme Gender Role Enforcement; Members Must Attend Accountability/”Community” Groups…

Similar lists of abusive churches and leaders are found in VanVonderen’s, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, and Dr. Enroth’s Churches That Abuse).

In Him Always,