I have been listening in to the CT Audio podcast “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill” with significant interest. Mars Hill was a church that was started in Seattle in the late 90’s and “quickly” grew to 15,000 over a couple of decades. It ended with the resignation of the lead pastor, Mark Driscoll, amidst an investigation into allegations of abusive actions and domineering leadership.
For me, listening to this has not been a detached, voyeuristic rubber-necking at an accident on the way by. I wanted to be like Mark Driscoll in his heyday. I listened to many of his sermons. I read many of his books. And I was impressed with his direct and brash style of communication.
As much as the podcast serves as an autopsy of what went wrong at this mega church, it also serves as a needed corrective to some of the thoughts from those early years that can take up residence in a small town pastor like me. There were good things that happened through Mars Hill. There were good things that Mark Driscoll spoke into my life through his podcasts. But with them also came a host of problematic methods and thought patterns.
The podcast hits me at a perfect time. I am currently preaching through the book of 1 Timothy. The instructions to church leadership in this book is clear. From the qualifications of elders that state that a church leader is not to be quarrelsome, to the clear instruction that a leader is to be an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity… 1 Timothy is clear that a man who leads the flock of God is called to shun all domineering and quarrelsome tendencies.
Unfortunately, many of the very skills required to plant a church from scratch can easily devolve into an arrogant, “my way or the highway” kind of attitude. As a church planter, I am stating this from experience.
God has done a great work in forming ReCAST Church over our history. And it would be a subtle shift for me to over-own that work. It would be easy for me to assume that the things I have done and the work I have put in have made this church. And Satan would love for that credit to rest on me and for that seed of arrogance to grow into pride of “success”.
But by God’s grace I will continue to give credit where it is due. We will continue to worship God. We will continue to recognize that all growth has been from Him. I will not over-own this responsibility that He has granted to me. I will continue to serve in gratitude and gladness.
ReCAST is His Church. I serve Him.