God Doesn’t Throw People Away…
I’ve been very careful to avoid public comment around Mars Hill and the ministry of Mark Driscoll in recent months amidst the controversy. I know many people who are on staff and attend Mars Hill and I have deep affection and respect for their ministry, passion and heart for our city and region. I’ve followed the stories closely and prayed for the community that is all around us of people who love Jesus and desire Him to transform our city and the most secular region in the country.
I believe that God’s plans for Mars Hill are secure and the future of the church here is strong, because of Jesus’ plan and power to rescue people and set them free to a life and eternity that they don’t deserve but that we’re all desperately searching for. Mars Hill continues to proclaim the incredible truth that people are separated from God in their choices and their nature of rebellion but that Jesus lived perfectly, died dreadfully and was raised to reunite us with Himself. Mark preaches this and the people of Mars Hill know this well.
I know enough to know that there are areas of personal growth that Mark is pursuing that are difficult and will require time, I don’t know how much or if he’ll ever be in a position to resume the progress and role at Mars Hill that he’s had…BUT, I trust God to work in Mark, just like I trust Him to work in me. The ultimate reality is that God doesn’t throw people away. I’ve watched as people who don’t like Mars Hill or Mark pile on and use the recent controversy to bury him, which they wanted to do regardless of the offenses that have surfaced. Even if all the aspects of Mark’s leadership are as they have been portrayed, there is still a path to reconciliation and restoration.
In the Bible Paul is probably the starkest example of change as a guy that went from killing Christians to helping them build churches and wrestling with personal battles (Rom.7) amidst his leadership. He often deals strongly with false teachers but he always points to an available hope for those who have strayed to return to Jesus. In 1 Timothy 1 he mentions Hymenaeus and Alexander, he handed them over to Satan! But the verse goes on to indicate that the point was for them to learn not to blaspheme (mischaracterize God and His work in their life and the world).
Too often we take the approach that once we see the cracks in someone’s life we work hard to devastate them the rest of the way and write them off as second-class citizens for the rest of their lives/ministries. God doesn’t throw people away and neither should we. The life of a believer is a life of repentance and we create cultures where that isn’t safe when we seek to destroy people rather than give them an opportunity to be honest about what’s going on inside of them.
I’m not Mark Driscoll and neither are you but if you had the level of exposure that he does…neither one of us would come out clean, that’s why we need Jesus. When the expectation is total perfection or God throws you away – then we all hide, let’s give each other permission to stop hiding.
I’m praying for Mars Hill…and Mark Driscoll. We need churches and Pastors that love Jesus and people. We need MORE churches that make eternal deposits into the lives of people in Seattle and the northwest.