Thursday, April 14, 2016

Throckmorton: Driscoll provides update on launch time for Trinity church, mentions help coming from outside of Arizona, revisiting Mark DeMoss' statement to Daily Beast about Driscoll's realistic goals

After the first meeting of The Trinity Church, Mark Driscoll is moving full steam ahead toward the launch of the church in the late summer of this year.  According to Driscoll’s most recent video update, The Trinity Church will launch in late summer with two services.

Until then, Driscoll invited interested people to participate in the work parties at the church and give money. He disclosed that a donor made a matching grant of $50k. Driscoll also said that people are driving in from California and as far away as Georgia to help get the church ready for the launch. Children’s ministry involves bouncy houses in the auditorium.
Who would drive from as far away as California and Georgia to help Driscoll get his corporation going in Arizona is simultaneously mysterious and not mysterious.  Justin Dean, for instance, seems to have landed in the Georgia area in the wake of the dissolution of Mars Hill.  So there's certainly plenty of room in the world for a diaspora of people who still believe that Mark Driscoll is somehow still fit for ministry. 

But why they should feel any sense of obligation to travel across state lines is mysterious, 

As for the two services straight out the gate from the initial launch, it's worth revisiting an old article from earlier this year in The Daily Beast:
02.20.16 9:01 PM ET
Driscoll’s new website lists more than two dozen church leaders who are “praying for The Trinity Church.” Among them is Mark DeMoss, owner of a Christian public relations firm who worked for Mars Hill in 2014 during the church’s many crises. DeMoss is not working for The Trinity Church, but said he’s just trying to “be a friend,” and offered insight into what he says are Driscoll’s plans.

“I think he’s very realistic and he realizes that he might launch a church speaking to 100 people. I don’t think he’s under any big idea that he’s going to open the doors and have a megachurch immediately. But, I think he has the potential to do that again.” [emphasis added]

Although DeMoss wouldn’t name anyone in particular, he says Driscoll “spent a considerable amount of time reaching out to people that he knew or thought he had offended or hurt in some way and did whatever he could do to right those relationships. He’s had some success with that, but there have been some people who were not receptive to a restored relationship.”

So according to DeMoss, Driscoll was being realistic and realized he might launch a church speaking to 100 people and wasn't under any big idea he would open doors and have a megachurch immediately.

Right, so ... .
Pastor Mark and his family moved to the Phoenix valley last year. After spending months praying specifically for a church building with 1,000+ seats along the 101 Freeway, Pastor Mark believes that God has supernaturally provided. [emphasis added] Like most older church buildings, this one needs some service projects and financial investment to make it a good home, but we are excited about its potential.

We know that God has gone before us, preparing an opportunity to minister. This building provides a wonderful opportunity for our mission: Why? So that lives and legacies are transformed!

At the moment the legacy that seems to be felt most in need of transformation would be Mark Driscoll's.

Okay, so technically the Hartford Institute for Religion Research describes a megachurch as having a regular attendance of 2,000+ a week. So DeMoss could technically say Driscoll was not expecting to just open the doors and have a megachurch right away simply because 2,000+ weekly attendance straight out the gate would be unlikely.

That said, why shoot for a building capable of having 1,000+ seating and open with two services out the gate if megachurchiness isn't even a goal? Not that anybody said megachurchiness isn't even a goal for the guy who used to talk about his church being a gigachurch ... .

It could come across as if Mark Driscoll doesn't feel it's even worth trying to do this church plant thing again if he isn't shooting for the resources to be a megachurch pastor within a calendar year of formal launch. 

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