I have seen a lot of online chatter about the resignation of Pastor Mark Driscoll, and have been following this story for a few years now. I remember one of my friends sharing a YouTube video of his a few years ago, and I couldn't help but wonder how long he would last. Everyone loved him, but I was disturbed by the way he spoke, the things he said, and the subtle arrogance of his message.
My point however is not to bash Mark, as I do not feel that it's my job, nor is it necessary. There are plenty of Christians who are more than happy to burn him at the stake, and post his many sins for the world to see. Which is sad. Sad because we are all sinners, and even though he was a public figure, and should be held accountable, there is no excuse for the Christian "trolling" that is taking place.
This story is interesting to me for very different reasons, and no one else seems to be considering what part we all have to play in this case of the "abusive pastor" the "rock star pastor", the church that seems to have exchanged being a body of Christ for fame, fortune, and worldly success.
So I pose the question both to myself, and to you.
Is your church the next Mars Hill? Is my church the next Mars Hill?
I think the answer is quite possibly YES.
What is it that Mars Hill Church and our churches have in common? Have we traded community worship and fellowship with any of these?
Rock Bands - Bands that worship loud and proud, only your not really sure who you just worshiped. Did you worship God? Music? The band? Did you clap at the end of the song? Who are you clapping for? God? I'm confused here because I can't remember the last time I clapped for God. It just seems really strange, or maybe it doesn't seem strange anymore because you just follow along like a robot, and everyone is clapping so you clap too.
A Dynamic Speaker - You know what's funny about one of the most amazing and powerful preachers in the NT? He spoke of himself, admitting that he wasn't a great speaker. His words weren't eloquent, and he didn't use metaphors and catch phrases like they were going out of style. He just spoke the truth.
The Building or Buildings - You can only have the best and you want to make sure everyone sees that your church is the most comfortable and flashy place around. You have hundreds of thousands tied up in sound systems, lighting, chairs, and coffee corners. Sure children are starving in your hometown, but people aren't going to come if you don't have all the bells and whistles. I'm not bashing building bigger churches, but what has happened to our church when we have flavored syrups and hot teas, and not a single Bible under the seats? I mean the whole reason we are serving coffee is because it makes seekers feel at home right? I'm guessing those seekers didn't bring a Bible either.
The Sermon Series - Which brings me to the sermon series. Who are we kidding, you don't need Bibles because most of the sermons come from books written by other people (or the pastor himself) and there may be a verse or two sprinkled in but no one actually needs a Bible because we save the serious study of God's word for small groups (at least that's what I hear). These are the popular messages based on what the people want to hear, and when you leave you may feel more like you walked out of a self-help class than a worship service. I'm guessing you could tell me more about sin, and living, than you could about God himself. Quick give me 4 Biblical names of God. Where can you find the book of Hosea in the Bible? What was the number difference between clean and unclean animals that entered the Ark? What was the tent of meeting, the Ark of the covenant, or the tabernacle? Have you ever heard of any of these things in church? Do you really understand who God is?
The Automated Tithe- I kid you not I have heard it said that you can pay your tithe online, and have it drafted so you "DON'T EVEN HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT". Maybe these words were misspoken, I understand that it happens, but what the heck is wrong with us? When we take an act that is as important as giving God our first fruits and just make it another line in the budget? It's like paying a bill. No need to think about what it means, it's just another box to check off our "List of things Christians should be doing list". Are you paying attention to what you are giving TO GOD? Are you paying attention to how this money is being used? It's time to wake up, we are walking around like zombie Christians, living lives much like our tithes... automated.
Baptism and The Lord's Supper - If you're church has gotten to big to regularly baptize or practice The Lord's Supper, it may be time to find a smaller church!
We live in the age of consumer Christianity. Church is all about us. What we like to listen to, what kind of chairs we like, the option of sugar or splenda with our church coffee, sermons that motivate or inspire us, and what kind of decor will make us look edgy, hip, and cool to the outsiders. We need a reality check because church isn't about us, it's about God.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42
In the end, I think there is a whole lot more to this story than just Mark Driscoll, I think we should be looking at the entire church, and our churches as well. I am ready for a change. A revolution where churches stop trying to be something they're not! It starts with us.