By Acts 29
April 14, 2016
It is with deep sadness that we have accepted the resignation of Darrin Patrick from the Board of Acts 29, and removed him as Vice-President and a member. We have taken these steps to respect, honour and affirm the decision and process of the elders at The Journey. ...
Darrin Patrick, vice president of the Acts 29 church planting network and founding pastor of The Journey megachurch in St. Louis, has been fired for violating his duties as a pastor.
The Journey cited a range of ongoing sinful behaviors over the past few years including manipulation, domineering, lack of biblical community, and “a history of building his identity through ministry and media platforms.”
In a letter announcing its lead pastor’s removal after 14 years of leadership, the church clarified that adultery was not a factor, though elders looked into inappropriate interactions with two women.
A years-long pattern of sin led to the dismissal this week of Darrin Patrick, lead pastor of The Journey, a St. Louis, Mo., megachurch. While the reconciliation process is underway, an expert in pastoral crisis management who was called in to work with the church said Patrick’s restoration could take as long as his undoing. He does not expect Patrick to return to ministry anytime soon.
After confirming “substantive allegations of pastoral misconduct … combined with deep historical patterns of sin,” the elders of The Journey this week called for Patrick’s removal. He also resigned as vice president of the board of Acts 29, a church-planting network of congregations, which includes The Journey.
T. S. Eliot famously wrote "April is the cruelest month" in his poetic masterpiece The Wasteland. April seems to be a cruel month for Acts 29 as Darrin Patrick has been relieved of personal pastoral duties at the Journey and is removed from Acts 29 leadership.
We've already discussed the riddle of Acts 29 board member Eric Mason being scheduled to speak at a conference in 2017 alongside Mark Driscoll today. There's time for Mason to clear the air, and perhaps it's just as simple as the host decided to contact Mason and Driscoll without knowing the last three year's worth of news. Stranger things have happened.
But since Darrin Patrick signed off on that announcement about kicking Driscoll out of Acts 29 along with Mars Hill back in 2014 and there was talk about how there were issues that the Acts 29 board members knew about ... it might be worth revisiting Mark Driscoll's own statements from the past that suggested that Darrin Patrick was Mark Driscoll's personal pastor:
However, because we live in an era in which Acts 29 has scrubbed away most of the stuff we quoted here on the subject of Driscoll, sometimes you've got no choice to quote from your earlier documentation.
(starts at 00:31:52)
Q. How do you lead staff who are your best friends?Do you want the honest answer or should I punt?
... You can't. ... you can't.
I hate to tell you that. ... Deep down in your gut you know if you're best friends and someone works for you that changes the relationship. Right? Because you can fire them. Of course you want to be friends with your elders and the people you work with. I mean, we're a church. I mean you wanna, you NEED to love the people you work with. But one of the hardest things, and only the lead guy gets this. Nobody else on staff even understands what I'm talking about. When you're the lead guy you wear multiple hats. Say it's someone who works with you and they're a good friend. You wear the "Hey, we're buddies" hat. We're friends. We go on vacation. We hang out. We do
dinner. We're friends.
But you also wear the "I'm your boss" hat "You need to do your job or I might have to fire you" hat, and you also wear the "I'm your pastor. I love you, care for you, and I'm looking out for your well-being" hat. Those three hats are in absolute collision. Because how do you fire your friend and then pastor them through it? Right? I mean that is very complicated. I love you, you're fired, can I pray for you? That is a very .. what are we doing? I think if you're going to have your best friends working with you they need to be somewhere else on the team but not under you or the friendship really needs to change.
And what happens is when people are your friend ... I don't think that many do this intentionally but they want you to wear whatever hat is at their best interest at the time. So they didn't do their job, they're falling down on their responsibility, and you talk to them and say, "Look, you're not getting this done." They put on the "hey buddy. Yeah, I've been kinda sick lately and my wife and I are going through a hard time." and they want the friend hat on. And as a friend you're like, "Oh, I'm so sorry, dude." But then you put your boss hat back on and you're like "Yeah, but we pay you and we need you to get the job done."
And then they want you to put the friend hat back on and keep sympathizing.
And you're totally conflicted. ...
I have very good friends in this church. I have elders that are very dear friends, but when you have to do their performance review, when you have to decide what their wage is, when you have to decide whether they get promoted, demoted or terminated it's impossible to do that because you can't wear all three hats at the same time.
First guy I fired, he was a dear friend. A godly man, no moral or doctrinal sin whatsoever, he just wasn't keeping up with what we needed him to do. And it wasn't `cause he didn't try and wasn't working hard. And he had a wonderful wife and a great family and to this day I think the world of this guy. And if my sons grew up to be like him, I'd be proud. And I'm not critical of this man at all.
But I remember sitting down at that first termination. First I put on the friend hat. I said, "I love you, I appreciate you. I value you." Then I put on the boss hat, "I'm gonna have to let you go. Here's why." And then I put on the pastor hat, "How are you feeling? How are you doing?" And he was really gracious with me and he said, "This is just the weirdest conversation I've ever had." And I said, "Me too, `cause I'm not sure what hat I'm supposed to wear."
Does that make any sense? The best thing is if you have a best friend maybe the best thing to do is not have them work with you. Or if they do have them work under someone else. And to also pursue good friendships with people outside of your church. Some of my dearest friends today are not at Mars Hill, they're also pastors of other churches. Darrin Patrick is here, Vice-President of Acts 29. I love him. He's a brother. He's the guy I call. ... He's a pastor to me, you know? Matt Chandler is here. I count as a friend. By God's Grace, C. J. Mahaney, I count as a friend. [emphasis added]...
Okay, so Matt Chandler and Darrin Patrick both signed off on the announcement that Mark Driscoll was out of Acts 29 and Mars Hill was shown the door. Darrin Patrick was a pastor to Mark Driscoll, according to a talk Driscoll gave in 2008. Sometimes it seems that what Driscoll may mean saying "he's a pastor to me, you know?" is that some guy is well-known enough that Driscoll found it useful, for a time, to name-drop him in his networking endeavors.
You would think that if board members of Acts 29 like Eric Mason don't have a problem with speaking at a conference alongside the Mark Driscoll whom they booted from Acts 29 in 2014 that at least Mark Driscoll might have a problem with speaking at a conference with Eric Mason ... but then maybe not. And maybe it doesn't matter which guy of whom Mark Driscoll has said "he's a pastor to me, you know?" because in the end Driscoll can say "God told me to do X", then say it wasn't what he wanted while he does it. If the Acts 29 board members who aren't out because of historical patterns of sin want to stick to what they once said, it may help if board members don't end up at the same conferences as the guy they kicked out of Acts 29. And unfortunately if Darrin (Mark Driscoll said of him "he's my pastor, you know?") Patrick is out then this doesn't just raise questions about Patrick's fitness for ministry, it boomerangs back on "I see things" Mark Driscoll.
As for the third name in the name-dropping moment ... can anyone even remember the last time Mark Driscoll talked about his friend C. J. Mahaney?