Mark Driscoll hardly caught his breath after quitting as lead pastor at Mars Hill Church, as the Seattle-based mega church imploded in multiple scandals, before launching his own web site and once more appearing at evangelical conferences.
On Sunday, Driscoll delivered his first Seattle-area reappearance since last August at the big, box-like Gold Creek Community Church in Mill Creek. He was greeted with a standing ovation, with more than 100 people lining up to greet him after the 9 a.m. service.
Driscoll was also greeted by a dozen pickets on the street outside. “He has re-purposed his ministry without reconciling with thousands of persons who were abused,” said Van Rue, one of the protesters, who has attended both the Mars Hill and Gold Creek churches.
Inside, lead pastor Dan Kellogg brought on Driscoll with the words: “He’s in the middle of re-purposing his life.” Kellogg claimed Driscoll was “unfairly treated by former staff and the media,” and exclaimed: “He’s baptized 10,000 people who found Christ.”
“I would like to talk about Jesus instead of me: It would be much more pleasant and helpful,” Driscoll began.
In his familiar attire of blue jeans and vest, backed up by a message screen, Driscoll quickly intoned: “Faith in anyone other than Jesus Christ is faith in vain. Faith in anyone other than Jesus Christ is inviting destruction into your life and drowning in eternity.”
Driscoll built the Mars Hill Church, which he co-founded, into a mega church which eventually had 15 “campuses” in five states, and an estimated regular attendance of 13,000.
It came crashing down last year, amidst plagiarism accusations, questions about where “church planting” donations designated for Ethiopia and India were really spent, and multiple accusations of threats, intimidation and “shunning” of followers and ex-followers.
In a famous message to pastors and church planters, Driscoll declared: “I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus and by God’s grace it will 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; but the bus ain’t gonna stop.”
The climax came with formal charges brought by 20 former pastors and elders. “We concluded that Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff in a domineering manner,” Mars Hill’s Board of Overseers said in a statement on October 15, 2014. Driscoll resigned the same day.
The fallen pastor has picked himself up, with none of the mea culpas or public soul searching seen from his former top aides.
Driscoll paid a quick tribute Sunday to the “wonderful, amazing, delightful people” he worked with at Mars Hill. As for himself, said Driscoll, “I’m still in the middle of it. Lord, what do you have for me?”
Click here for more.