Saturday, September 06, 2014
Confessions of a Reformission Rev, "... I decided it was time to blow it all up, create some strategic chaos, and start all over again ... I realized I was already getting bored. There was no dragon to slay ... ." Driscoll explains a 2002-2003 re-org
An Update from Pastor Mark
August 24, 2014
I may be an author, a speaker, and a thought-provoker; but in the deepest recesses of my heart, I’m a local church pastor, and that’s what I want to give the rest of my life for. ...
What is striking about this statement is that while he mentions that "in the deepest recesses of my heart, I'm a local church pastor" this is difficult to take at face value in light of the summation of his public ministry.
If that was how he saw himself and he aspired to no more than that why start Acts 29? Why would have have worked with Jamie Munson and Tim Smith to reverse-engineer Mars Hill to a target growth marker? Why envision Mars Hill starting a Bible college and a music label? Driscoll's jokes about world domination and changing the world are far-reaching enough across his ministry it isn't difficult to consult them.
In a 2006 sermon Driscoll discussed idolatry and he made a point of sharing what, at the time, he believed his idol to be.
While the sermons for this series "Christians Gone Wild" aren't easily available, thanks to the sweeping media purge earlier this year ... there's still ways to refer to the June 2006 sermon.
RESISTING IDOLS LIKE JESUS
Part 22 of 1st Corinthians
Pastor Mark Driscoll | 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 | June 18, 2006
Here’s the tricky part: Figuring out what your idols are. Let me give you an example. Let’s say for example, you define for yourself a little Hell. For you, Hell is being poor. For you, your definition of Hell is being ugly. For you, your definition of Hell is being fat. For you, your definition of Hell is being unloved. For you, your definition of Hell is being unappreciated. That fear of that Hell then compels you to choose for yourself a false savior god to save you from that Hell. And then you worship that false savior god in an effort to save yourself from your self-described Hell. So, some of you are single. Many of you are unmarried. For you, Hell is being unmarried and your savior will be a spouse. And so you keep looking for someone to worship, to give yourself to so that they will save you. For some of you, you are lonely and your Hell is loneliness, and so you choose for yourself a savior, a friend, a group of friends or a pet because you’ve tried the friends and they’re not dependable. And you worship that pet. You worship that friend. You worship that group of friends. You will do anything for them because they are your functional savior, saving you from your Hell. That is, by definition, idolatry. It is having created people and created things in the place of the creator God for ultimate allegiance, value and worth.
So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to get incredibly personal. This will get painfully uncomfortable if I do my job well. I’m going to ask you some probing questions. We’re going to try to get to the root of your idols and mine and I am guilty. I was sitting at breakfast this morning. My wife said, “So what is your idol?” I was like, “Hey, I’m eating breakfast! Leave me alone. I don’t want to talk about that.” I’m the pastor. I preach. I don’t get preached at. Eating bacon. Don’t ruin it. You know, it’s going good., And I told her, I said, “Honey, I think for me, my idol is victory.” Man, I am an old jock. More old than jock, lately, but I – I’m a guy who is highly competitive. Every year, I want the church to grow. I want my knowledge to grow. I want my influence to grow. I want our staff to grow. I want our church plants to grow. I want everything – because I want to win. I don’t want to just be where I’m at. I don’t want anything to be where it’s at. And so for me it is success and drivenness and it is productivity and it is victory that drives me constantly. I – that’s my own little idol and it works well in a church because no one would ever yell at you for being a Christian who produces results. So I found the perfect place to hide. [emphasis added]
And I was thinking about it this week. What if the church stopped growing? What if we shrunk? What if everything fell apart? What if half the staff left? Would I still worship Jesus or would I be a total despairing mess? I don’t know. By God’s grace, I won’t have to find out, but you never know. So we’re going to look for your idols, too. Some questions. Think about it. Be honest with me. What are you most afraid of? What is your greatest fear? See, that probably tells you what your idol is. Sometimes your idol is the thing that you’re scared of not having, not being, not doing. What are you scared of? You scared that you’ll be alone? Are you scared that no one will ever love you? Are you scared that you will be found out that you’re not all that smart? Are you scared that you’ll be stuck in the same dead-end job forever? What are you afraid of?
Earlier in the same year Mark Driscoll published a book, so 2006 could be considered a landmark year in which Driscoll explained his motives and his idolatry of victory. But more saliently to the recent statement about being a local church pastor, it's worth noting that by the time the 2006 book had been published it had become apparent by Mark Driscoll's own account that just being a local church pastor wasn't enough for him circa 2002. Ron Wheeler's blog this year referenced a meeting of some kind between Mark Driscoll and Rich DeVos
... I remember during one of our conferences somewhere around 2002, sitting at the table with you there in Boca, when you interviewed Rich DeVos on how he structured his business model. I remember soon thereafter when you started talking about how it wasn’t that important that you knew your people or led them yourself, but that you “led the people, who led the people, who led the people”. ...
Wheeler's account can be cross-referenced to the book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. There Driscoll recounted getting counsel from Jon Phelps in chapter five and in chapter six referenced DeVos, as will be established below:
Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006
CHAPTER FIVE: JESUS, WHY AM I GETTING FATTER AND MEANER?
A very wise friend who is a successful business entrepreneur, Jon Phelps, [WtH, for more on Phelps]shared an insight with me around this time that was very clarifying. He said that in any growing organization, there are three kinds of people, and only two of them have any long-term future with a growing organization. First, there are people on the rise who demonstrate the uncanny ability to grow with the organization and become vital leaders. Second, there are people who attach themselves to the people on the rise as valuable assistants who rise by being attached to someone else on the rise. Third, there are people who neither rise nor attach to anyone who is rising, and they cannot keep up with the growing demands of the organization. These people fall behind, and the organization can either allow their inability to slow down the whole team or release them and move forward with out them. This is difficult to do because they are often good people who have been partly responsible for the success of the organization. But the needs of the organizational mission, not the individual in the organization, must continually remain the priority if there is to be continued success.
Up until this point, nearly everyone in the church had been connected to me, and I could no longer pull them all up with me. Simply, leaders needed to rise on their own or attach themselves to other people on the rise, or they would have to be let go.
So we made all these difficult decisions, and the church stabilized. Finally, we had facilities, money, men rising up to lead, intentional community housing, a successful concert venue, and a church that seemed organized to us. We had grown a church of one thousand people in a tough urban culture despite massive hardship. With things going so well, I feared we'd get too comfortable, and so I decided it was time to blow it all up, create some strategic chaos, and start over again. [emphasis added]
JESUS, TODAY WE VOTED TO TAKE A JACKHAMMER TO YOUR BIG CHURCH
1,000 to 4,000 people
from pages 140-141
It was a warm spring day and I sat in my office at the church, gazing out the window at large white clouds blowing through a clear blue sky, enjoying our success. I had lost about forty pounds by shifting from the Fatkins to the Atkins diet, had paid off all the personal debts I had accrued as a broke pastor, had fitted up the old home for my family, was getting closer to my lovely wife, was enjoying my three children while looking forward to a fourth, finally owned a vehicle with less than 200,000 miles on it, and was the pastor of one of the largest churches in our city at the age of thirty-one. My eye no longer twitched, I wasn't throwing up from acid reflux, and my vertigo had cleared up.
I was sitting at my new desk, which was the first piece of furniture I had ever owned that was not a donated hand-me down. ... We owned our church building outright and had money in the bank. I had a large staff for a church our size and was sleeping like a Calvinist at nights because things were under control.
On that day I had only a few appointments, with lengthy breaks in between. I decided to walk down to the deli a few blocks away and get a Reuben sandwich on sourdough bread and some fresh air. On the way back, I walked barefoot and remember thinking these simple pleasures had made the day one of the most relaxing and satisfying days I ever had. But by the time I walked back to the church, I realized I was already getting bored. There was no dragon to slay, no hill to charge, no battle to fight, and no foe to conquer. [emphasis added]
It was the winter of 2002, and our church had fought through hell and gone from homeless to one thousand people--a big deal in Seattle. I had nearly killed myself and had gotten the church to the comfort zone.
As I sat at my desk eating my sandwich, I ruminated on a simple talk that Richard DeVos, the founder of Amway, gave at our national Acts 29 conference, in which he explained four simple phases of organizational decline. ...
Phase 1--creative, the dream stage
Phase 2--Management, the reality stage
Phase 3--Defensive justification, the failure stage
Phase 4--blaming, the death stage
So it looks like Wheeler's general chronology for when Driscoll would have had a meeting with DeVos seems to match up with things Driscoll himself has said. Mark Driscoll's 2014 comment to the effect of being a local church pastor withstanding, it has to be interpreted in light of the previous 18 years of ambition and self-testified desire for continual and upward expanding victory.
As for what the rest of the "strategic chaos" was circa 2002-2003, Driscoll's got a book that explains that.