Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Spring 2000 roll out of Mark Driscoll/David Nicholas A29 collaboration as a historical preamble to the recently discussed thread in question


... And just as Mohler became president of the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) flagship seminary at the young age of 33, Chandler has now become the president of the Acts 29 Network. The 16-year-old "gospel-centered" band of churches aims to write the next chapter of the missions described in the Book of Acts' 28 chapters. Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll cofounded the network with late Presbyterian pastor David Nicholas in 1998. In March 2012, during a meeting with board members present, Driscoll tapped Chandler to succeed him, shifting the offices to Dallas. (Driscoll remained on the board for a time, but is no longer listed as a member of Acts 29 leadership.)

So goes the account at Christianity Today about the origin of Acts 29.  Let's revisit the Spring 2000 Leadership Journal

Leadership Journal, Spring 2000
 Generation to generation
 How mentoring works for pastors
 Mark Driscoll

I'm a 29-year-old church planter in Seattle. A couple years ago I met David Nicholas, who lives in Boca Raton, Florida. He pastors a large church, Spanish River Presbyterian, that he planted 35 years ago, and he still has a heart for church planting. We developed a close mentoring friendship. I fly down to see David about four times a year, and he visits me each summer. We talk on the phone a couple times a week. He has walked me through some major issues in my life and ministry.

 I am now mentoring other church planters who have launched three daughter congregations out of our church. One is Ron Wheeler, a 23-year-old church planter with a congregation of 200 that already has had a daughter church, our granddaughter, as it were. That daughter church is led by a young man being mentored by Ron.

 David has interacted with all of these young planters. We've put together an entire network of church plantersÑfrom Omaha, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and other places. Each March, we gather with David in Florida for training and friendship.

 David and I are now partnering to launch a mentoring organization for young church planters called the Acts 29 Network. We began with 11 churches in the U.S., some overseas, and we're getting several requests weekly from young pastors wanting to join. David and I invest in them theologically, financially, and personally.

 All of this came out of a friendship between an older man and a younger man who share a love for church planting.

 Mark Driscoll

So if in a 2000 edition of Leadership Journal Driscoll wrote "David and I are now partnering to LAUNCH a mentoring organiation for young church planters called the Acts 29 Network" [emphasis added] then by Mark Driscoll's account circa the year 2000 the Acts 29 Network wasn't officially launched yet, was it?

Or maybe it was.

For some reason when Tom Telford broached the subject of Acts 29 Network in a 2001 book he didn't mention Driscoll at all and focused quite a bit on David Nicholas. 


Tom Telford
copyright 2001 by Tom Telford
Published by Baker Books

ISBN 0-8010-6381-7

Spanish River Church has listed as its "Most valuable missions agency: Acts 29 Network"
from page 63

page 66 David Nicholas' "Acts 29: Churches planting Churches" gets a reference from Telford.  Is that message still accessible for consultation?

from page 69

Acts 29 Network. With things moving well with the network of church-planting pastors, Pastor Nicholas felt led of God to start a new network of churches that wasn't directly part of the denomination. He decided to call it the Acts 29 network and wrote up guidelines: the planted churches should be theologically Reformed, have a heart for church planting, and prmoise that when they become self-supporting, theyw ill pay back the amount that was given to them to initially begin, and put 10 percent of their income into new church plants.

As he shared the idea with the church and others, almost right away, ten established churches responded enthusiastically and committed to the Acts 29 Network, agreeing to sponsor church plants. A Network agreement was drawn up to show the relationship between Spanish River Church and the church plant. The agreement requires reports for financial and leadership accountability.

For whatever reason, when Telford's book was published in 2001, David Nicholas was noteworthy and Driscoll wasn't.  The recent CT article states that Mark driscoll co-founded the Acts 29 network sixteen years ago as of 2014, which makes for a year of 1998. 

Nevertheless, Driscoll's early 00's account may square the circle here:

Seasons of Grace: The Story of Mars Hill
By Pastor Mark Driscoll

In the eighth season, our worship ministry was in great disarray and I had a dream that Brad Currah, who had been a member of our core group before the launch, was leading worship. I repeatedly informed Brad that he was to be our worship leader and after numerous conversations he began volunteering time overseeing the worship and arts ministries. Brad had spent a few years playing the club scene with his band Springchamber, but was quickly overwhelmed with the demands of his first time pastorate and quit his job at Microsoft to free up time for ministry and hoped to live off of his wife Devonna's salary. But, she soon became pregnant and needed to quit her job. I then got a call from a pastor in Florida who had a network that funded church plants. Grace and I met with Pastor David Nicholas at Spanish River Church, and his church planting network agreed to help us financially. [emphasis added] This gift allowed us to bring Brad on full-time, which has culminated in a fantastic independent worship album, multiple worship teams, and an aggressive set of new songs written by some of our many gifted artists.
In our ninth season in the beginning of 1999 we were forced to move from our Laurelhurst location. Five days before the end of our lease we still did not have a location to meet in and were dreading the move. Then, pastor Rick Hull and First Presbyterian Church in downtown Seattle graciously welcomed us in. So, we shut down the 7pm service, and ran the 5pm service in their 1300 seat sanctuary. The move was nothing new, in three years we have had services in four locations and at four different times, and the office has had six different phone numbers due to all the moves. It was also during this season that we launched our first daughter church, The Gathering, one hour north of Seattle in Mount Vernon. A family, the Tackels, I had met while teaching at a conference purchased an RV to begin taking their children and their friends to our church. Their 23 year old son Ron Wheeler had returned from a one year missions trip in Africa and resonated with much of our ministry philosophy. He began a Bible study in his community that continued to grow until they launched their church at 6pm on Easter of 1999 in a beautiful old brick church in downtown Mount Vernon. Funding for Ron was generously given by Dr. David Nicholas and our Acts 29 church planting network, and funding for his worship leader Micah Kelly was given from Ken Hutcherson and Antioch Bible Church. [emphasis added] It was also at this time that we hired Janet Sawyer and Eric Brown, both members of our church, to come on staff full-time as administrators who have very much helped organize and stabilize our chaos. [emphasis added]

In spite of a dream of Brad leading worship given by God in 1998 this was around the same time Mark Driscoll met Tim Smith and it wasn't long before "we let him go" became a send off for Brad Currah.  If you're interested in reading about the divine dreams and the respective trajectories of Brad Currah and Tim Smith in the earlier years of Mars Hill go over here.http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/02/where-are-they-now-part-6c-driscoll.html

It would appear that by 1999 some Acts 29 Network organization existed through which to provide support for a church, by Mark Driscoll's account.  In this case Driscoll's comments from a spring 2000 journal could be explained by the possibility that some journals are quarterly and take months to assemble.  By the time the copy hit print the present-tense description Driscoll gave at Leadership Journal would have been past-tense.


How do you do this over such long distance?
Driscoll: We talk all the time. David is my pastor [emphasis added]. He prays for me. He invests in me. He doesn't tell me what to do, but when he sees things in my character or theology that need to be challenged, he speaks to that very directly. I desperately need that. I tend to be stubborn and aggressive. I need someone strong speaking into my life, saying, "Think about this." But it has to be predicated on friendship and love.


By about 2002 to 2005 David Nicholas no longer seemed to have the same presence within Acts 29.  The public press coverage of the collaboration at the dawn of the millennium makes it all the more mysterious how and why the collaboration seemed to abruptly end.  Whether or not people affiliated with Acts 29 from 2000-2005 will ever address on record how things broke off between Mark Driscoll and David Nicholas remains to be seen.  One can only wonder whether David Nicholas saw "Pussified Nation" or Mark Driscoll's other writings as William Wallace II and what he may have thought of them.  One can only wonder whether Jon Phelps saw the WW2 content, too.

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