Mark Driscoll, the controversial pastor of Mars Hill Church, is getting hammered lately. Many of his faults as a leader are being exposed right now and I have to think this is a pretty difficult season for him.
So I just wanted to take a minute and honor him. Pastor Driscoll isn’t one of my heroes or someone I listen to often, but I’ve always admired his amazing boldness and courage in wading into very tough territory, spiritually speaking. He’s spoken out on many social issues, on charismata, on sexuality, and many others. He’s challenged both the Church and the World in many important ways. The decisions that he’s made to engage in those battles are coming full circle in this time, as he’s being attacked from a variety of sources, but I for one am glad for his example.
The reality is that no leader is perfect. As many of his weaknesses are being exposed, it’s important to keep a balanced perspective of him. It seems wise to me that he take some time off from ministry and ask the Lord to heal some of these issues – but that’s so that he can come back twice as bold and with a greater capacity for leadership. He’s not a failure, and I’m believing that his future fruitfulness will far outweigh the past.
It is not easy to lead effectively. There is a temptation to use controlling tactics to get stuff done. The opposite extreme is the very real danger of allowing contrary opinion to distract from accomplishing the mission, and many leaders struggle to have influence for this reason. I am not intending to excuse controlling behavior, but it important that we understand it and be able to give grace and forgiveness when required, and honor where it is due.
It’s also important to honor those who have been hurt by Driscoll, and it seems there’s a good amount of people in this camp. It’s important for these types of things to come to light and I’m glad for this exposure, but I call on the Church to show honor and commitment as we confront error. I pray that there would be complete restoration to all those who have been hurt, and that there would be grace for understanding and forgiveness.
“Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Gal. 6:1