Mars Hill, a network of churches in Seattle, is shutting down as more and more accounts keep surfacing of behind-the-scenes abusive behavior by their otherwise publicly charming and inspiring founder, author and senior pastor, Mark Driscoll.
I’ve seen this happen many times over the years as churches and Christian movements of all stripes rise and fall.
When a church or movement organizes around a gifted man and his individual vision or mission, it will grow rapidly at first but then stumble as it eventually hits up against his limits.
This is not how it should be.
“Church” or some move of God must never become a platform for one man and his particular gifts, vision, ministry or mission.
In the New Testament, true church is never idealized. It is messy, but it also is presented as the wonderful, dynamic, fluid, multi-gifted, and fully participatory Body of Christ – where we all minister one to another and to a waiting world according to the unique grace and gifts God’s given each of us.
The modern idea of “church” as a discrete organization primarily led by or dependent on a single leader – whether called “senior pastor”, “bishop”, “apostle”, “grand poobah” or whomever – simply isn’t found in the New Testament.
Nope, not, nadda … it just ain’t there.
Nor does the New Testament support the modern idea of “church” primarily being a platform for some inspirational leader’s particular gifts, vision, ministry or mission – no matter how good or enticing they may be.
I understand why “church” often is about going to some well-scripted service to be inspired each week by a motivational leader, his message and his worship team. It eliminates the need for us to actually do the hard work of being the church as a community of people who minister one to another – each and every one.
Mars Hill, in contrast, lived by Mark Driscoll and eventually died by Mark Driscoll.
Let their folly and ruin be a lesson for all.
~ Jim Wright