I’ve been reading Mark Driscoll’s Confessions of a Reformission Rev. lately, right alongside my lovely wife. Mark’s writing style is frank, brutally honest, sometimes even crude, but the book is full of humor. Some parts are downright hilarious, like the chapter entitled "Jesus, Could You Please Rapture The Charismaniac Lady Who Brings Her Tambourine To Church?", as well as his observations of local churches he visited:
From the printed material and sermon, it was readily apparent that this church was into the bling Christ, who will make you rich and cure all your diseases, except for the epidemics of consumerism and eighties charismullet hair, of course. They even taught that Jesus was a rich man and that only people who lack faith get sick, presumably like the junior varsity Job and Paul. For them, Jesus was a pinata, Christianity was a whacking stick, and their mission was to teach people how to get goodies to fall out of heaven.
At many points in Mark's chronicle of events and experiences in building his church and sorting out life as a pastor; I simply could not put the book down. He regularly shows himself to be one with a burden for his people and a devotion to their spiritual well-being:
The young urban arty type God had burdened me to build a church for generally came from jacked-up homes, which they wanted to overcome in hopes of one day having a decent future for themselves and their kids. But they had no idea what a decent Christian family looked like. So what they needed was a friendship with godly older families to learn about marriage and parenting. The last thing they needed was a mono-generational church.
Some good points Mark touches on in the book
Does your church act as missionaries into your culture and community, or do they focus on attempts to bring seekers into the church to hear the gospel? Or worse, does your church do neither?
It was interesting to see Mark early on in the building of Mars Hill Church come to realize Elder-led church government is both practical and the biblical model of government. He rejected congregational government. In fact, he compared the idea of using congregational government within his own church early on to ”lunatics taking over the asylum”. He had similar rejection of Senior Pastor ecclesiology (used in many mega churches today) because it did not take into account that pastors can actually make mistakes and sin, and needs peers to hold him accountable. And although he takes elder led government and expands it a bit by mixing in some Rick Warren Purpose-Driven Church hoodoo, which I won’t explain; it was still reassuring to see him come to same fundamental conclusion of elder leadership that the Reformers believed strongly in.
I was impressed with the boldness of Mark’s vision for his church early on. Even in the early days when his church, as he says; “could not fill a bus”, Mark had plans for it to “plant multiple churches, run a concert venue, start a Bible institute, write books, host conferences, and change the city for Jesus.”
On a very personal note, Mark’s words struck at my heart while reading his book concerning being burdened for lost people. I wonder if in my growth as a Christian I have forgotten what its like for those who are truly ignorant to the Gospel that the church preaches. Seeing the clueless young people Mark came in contact with on a daily basis in very secular Seattle, people enslaved to sin, worldviews perverted by postmodernism and humanism, people from broken homes, people with no functioning view of Biblical manhood, or Biblical family values... was eye-opening. I imagine most cities are not much different in this respect. And just because we believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation doesn’t exempt us from being active missionaries into our community in a personal way.