Monday, 17 February 2014

Am I Missing Something Here?

“Everyone will know that you are my disciples
because of your love for each other.” John 13:35

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Seattle's Mars Hill Church, is famously (or is that infamously?) quoted as boasting, “There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus, and by God's grace, it'll be a mountain by the time we're done.... ‎You either get on the bus, or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options."

I have to admit that when I first heard those words, I was shocked. Surely a pastor, a ‘shepherd’ of God’s people, wouldn’t really think this way, let alone speak it out! And then I got to thinking; at least he had the guts to be honest – there’s no ambiguity about the way he intends to run things. Buyer (or at least, sheep) beware!

But how many others in church leadership act out this attitude, one way or another, without maybe even seeing it - or being willing to admit to it? How many broken, battered people have been ‘run over’ by leaders who love ‘their’ church more than the people in it?

What is it that makes us so blind that we willingly damage our brothers and sisters - seemingly without conscience or regret? How do we possibly justify behaviour which inflicts such deep, sometimes mortal wounds?

Seriously! Am I missing something here?


  1. So...I was actually born and raised in eastern Washington, USA - the side where Mark studied communications and philosophy. A friend of mine turned me on to Mark's teaching ministry (podcast) after we finished our years of bible college.

    About 4 years ago, after serving as an associate pastor in Montana for 2 years, I went through a "church planting" evaluation process with Acts 29, the church planting network Driscoll co-founded. During the face-to-face interview trip, I actually saw Mark at a nearby mall while we were grabbing lunch. He was shopping with one of his kids. I walked over and introduced myself, sharing why I was in town. For all of his tough talk, Mark is actually quite short. After being approved and endorsed to plant by A29, we started a small church in Montana which lasted 2 years.

    I think the "bus ministry" (i.e. driving over people) so common in churches today can be traced to a number of problems. Our conformity-based structures require conformity-based leaders with a hierarchal chain of command. I never see this endorsed in scripture. Also, we still want a king, don't we - whether it's a gifted, mega-church genius like Driscoll or the myriad of small-town gifted pastors who operate within the exact same model.

    1. "We still want a king, don't we…"

      It does seem to go that way. Even though God warned that kings will always want to "claim their rights".

      Mega-church or small-town, as far as I can see, the model is broken!

  2. I'm done with models. Give me the Holy Spirit, a pair of tennis shoes, and a mustard seed of faith.