Monday, June 09, 2014

on ten painful lessons from the early days of Mars Hill, Driscoll said, "I was carrying the burden myself ... " a series of screen captures from marshill.fm seem to suggest otherwise

http://pastormark.tv/2011/12/06/10-painful-lessons-from-the-early-days-of-mars-hill-church
...
For the first five or six years of Mars Hill, I was the only paid pastor on staff and carried much of the ministry burden. I was doing all the premarital counseling and most of the pastoral work as the only pastor on staff. This went on for years due to pitiful giving and a ton of very rough new converts all the way until we had grown to about 800 people a Sunday. At one point I literally had over a few thousand people come in and out of my home for Bible studies, internships, counseling, and more. My phone rang off the hook, my email inbox overflowed, my energy levels and health took a nose dive, and I started becoming bitter and angry instead of loving and joyful. It got to the point where either something had to change or I was going to go ballistic and do something I really regretted.

Through much prayer and study of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that I’d done a poor job of raising up leaders along with me to help care for his church. I was carrying the burden myself and was not doing a good job because it was too much. [emphasis added] I needed to transition from caring for all the people to ensuring they were all cared for by raising up elders, deacons, and church members. This spurred me to make some dramatic changes to increase membership and train leaders.

We began a process of intentionally challenging qualified men to step up as elders to lead, finding and training men and women to serve and lead as deacons, and we started a Gospel Class to clearly articulate what we believed about Jesus, the Bible, and the church to make clear what we expected from members. Our first teams were not amazing, but some of those people, through years of maturing by God’s grace, are now amazing leaders and servants.
...
Another problem that came from not having built a great team is that everyone expected me to be their pastor in a therapeutic model where we had 1-on-1 meetings every week.

Who was this "we" Driscoll was referring to?  Didn't he say earlier that he had done a poor job of raising up leaders with him?  Didn't he just say in the previous paragraph he was carrying the burden himself?  This ... within the first six years of Mars Hill?

For the sake of review:
Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan
ISBN-13:978-0-310-27016-4
ISBN-10:03-10-27016-2

page 54

... The church started as an idea I shared with Lief Moi and Mike Gunn. Lief is a descendant of Genghis Khan and his dad was a murderer, and Mike is a former football player. They proved to be invaluable, except for the occasional moments when they would stand toe-to-toe in a leadership meeting, threatening to beat the Holy Spirit out of each other. Both men were older than I and had years of ministry experience, and they were good fathers, loving husbands, and tough.  [emphasis added]...

But since it's conceivable that some people will get tired of reading the same material published by Mark Driscoll quoted again this time we've got pictures.









What exactly about all of that suggests that there was no team in the first six years of the history of Mars Hill? 

Driscoll went on to write:

We began a process of intentionally challenging qualified men to step up as elders to lead, finding and training men and women to serve and lead as deacons, and we started a Gospel Class to clearly articulate what we believed about Jesus, the Bible, and the church to make clear what we expected from members. Our first teams were not amazing, but some of those people, through years of maturing by God’s grace, are now amazing leaders and servants.

Within the first six years of the church?  But if that's the case then Mark Driscoll playing some role in getting Paul Petry and Bent Meyer into the leadership structure of Mars Hill happened after this first-six-years period.  Again, who is this "we" if Driscoll was carrying the burden by himself? 

Moving along ... Driscoll wrote more in the piece about ten lessons from the early years:

While the sentiment of being a unified team was good, since we required a unanimous vote of the elders to do anything, the leadership team went from being accountable to being adversarial, stifling, and impossible. But, we could not move leaders on unless they chose to resign and leave. The truth is that when a church is planted, the first elder team will not be in place years later—even Jesus’ team of a mere twelve people did not hold together for a full three years, and we cannot expect to outperform his leadership. The goals of the church are not to secure power and position for leaders but rather to glorify God, reach non-Christians, and mature Christians by putting in place whoever is best suited for these tasks

This claim that a unanimous vote was required by some group keeps being asserted but evidence for the claim is rarely (if ever) produced.  As for the claim that "we could not move leaders on unless they chose to resign and leave" the testimony of Mark Driscoll himself suggests that they were letting people go.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/02/where-are-they-now-part-6b-mark.html
CONFESSIONS OF A REFORMISSION REV
MARK DRISCOLL
(C) 2006 BY MARK DRISCOLL
ZONDERVAN
ISBN-13:978-0-310-27016-4
ISBN-10:0-310-27016-2


CHAPTER FIVE, 350-1,000 PEOPLEpage 135

We had to quickly reorganize all of our systems and staff.  Our administrative pastor, Eric, left, which we all recognized was God's call on him.  And our worship leader was a great guy and great musician but was unable to coordinate the multiple bands in the three locations, so we let him go. [emphasis added] This was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made because he was a very godly man who had worked very hard and would have been fine if the church had not gotten so crazy so quickly, and he and his very sweet wife were both close personal friends of mind. But I needed a worship pastor who could lead mltiple bands, coordinate multiple services in multiple locations, and train multiple worship pastors while keeping up with a church that was growing so fast that we had no idea exactly where it was going. I had no one who could possibly fill this role but felt compelled to wait until God let me know, so I just left a gaping hole in our leadership to create a crisis that would force a leader to emerge. 
Strangely, even though Mark Driscoll spent time repeatedly telling Brad Currah he'd seen Currah leading worship at Mars Hill in a dream that was taken as a divine oracle ... Currah didn't have that role for really all that long before "we let him go". 

For as much time as Driscoll spent in a post from 2011 explaining how he was carrying the burden of Mars Hill by himself anyone who visited marshill.fm circa 1999 to 2002 might have the impression there was actually a team of people and of people that Mark Driscoll actively recruited to join him in planting Mars Hill Fellowship. 

As a postscript, for those interested in reading an examination of pre-2007 bylaws to assess whether or not complete unanimity in voting was actually necessary:

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/08/mars-hillgovernance-that-required-more.html

There were decisions that executive elders made that had to have unanimous voting (with abstentions permitted) but the repeated claims that all MH elders all across the board had to agree on everything is simply not true. Not only was there a team but that team did not necessarily have to always agree on everything all the time at all levels for decisions to get made. 

2 comments:

Ryan said...

From reading the bio pages that you've posted screenshots of, it kinda _does_ sound like Mark was carrying most of the pastoral burden back in those days. Look at the "duties" on each elder's bio and imagine what the church would've been like if those bios accurately describes what each elder was doing in the church at that time...

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Driscoll mentioned that he didn't raise up leaders with him and the peculiarity with this phrasing is that when you observe he was pretty much the runt of the litter on the elder team it WOULD Be hard to "raise up" leaders when the early history of MH involved Mark recruiting older and more experienced men from ministry to help plant Mars Hill.