Driscoll promotes wrong strategy

I am certain Mark Driscoll’s influence on Sydney Anglicans will only grow in 2009:

Love him, hate him, or over him - it is impossible to ignore him. I give thanks for the way he has challenged us to think harder about reaching unchurched Australia for Jesus.

The problem with Mars Hills Global

But I don’t like the strategy of Mars Hill Global. It sets up two kinds of plants:

  1. independent Acts 29 style church (so far so good)
  2. campus congregations that will set up a screen and have Mark Driscoll video preach 40 times a year.

Here is how it’s described on the Mars Hill site:

Mars Hill Church is a single church that meets in various campuses. Our multi-campus approach began as an effort to accommodate growth, and has since become a unique form of church planting in its own right. In some ways, a local campus functions much like an independent church, with its own staff, elder team, and programs. A campus pastor leads the effort as the visible presence from the pulpit (preaching roughly ten Sundays every year) and as the authority for all campus matters. The campus model allows people to participate in the ministry of Mars Hill Church and benefit from Pastor Mark's teaching and other resources, while at the same time experiencing many of the benefits of a smaller church, such as intimate community, neighborhood ties, and proximity. Also, the campus model allows pastors and local leaders to do ministry and spread the gospel without having to deal with the many administrative tasks"”managing HR and budgets, building websites and databases"”that hinder many churches. It also provides away for smaller, dying churches to reinvigorate their local ministry by joining the mission of Mars Hill.

Does anyone else agree with me that this is a really, really bad idea?

I actually like Mark’s preaching (mostly). He’s a brilliant communicator, he loves Jesus, he applies the word to himself and his hearers, he connects preaching to mission.

But I could say the same thing of lots of preachers I know - they’re not celebrities. They’re labouring away in small churches and large. They’re proclaiming Christ.

But I don’t want Driscoll - or anyone else - piped into small and under-resourced churches like mine.

It would be a terrible mistake to think we require the latest broadcast from Seattle to really connect with Roseville.

Why do I think Mark Driscoll won’t help my church connect with Roseville?

  • He does not know the culture here, nor is he part of it - we are not as Christian as the States
  • He does not know the people in the church, nor is he part of it
  • He speaks a different language
  • He will appeal to a fan base and a tech savvy church will easily pipe him in and grow - but they’ll be mostly transfer losses from local churches rather than kingdom growth of pagan Sydneysiders
  • The strategy depends too much depends on Mark Driscoll and is centred on him. 

Lets hope the Australian church planting network goes down the independent church route.

The Rev Michael Kellahan has experienced the highs and lows of church planting. He also understands ministering in a less well-resourced context, and is currently rector of St Barnabas, Roseville East in Sydney's north.

Comments (180)

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  • Grant Hayes
    April 29, 09 - 1:35am
    Incipient hubris on the part of Driscoll, methinks.

    Mars Hill ==> Mark's Hill ?

    It has all be tried before from the Vatican Hill.

    Reminds me of Richard Burton's solemn declaration in that 70s War of the Worlds:

    "The Earth...belonged...to the Martians!"

    OOOLAAA.
  • Grant Hayes
    April 29, 09 - 1:40am
    What next?

    Encyclicals from the Holy See-attle?
  • Grant Hayes
    April 29, 09 - 1:47am
    Sorry to go all Laocoonic, but don't be overly taken with Driscoll's Reformed doctrinal rectitude - it could be just Trojan horsing a bellyfull of Superba, armed to the teeth.

    Timeo Danaos and all that...
  • Shane Rogerson
    April 29, 09 - 1:56am
    thanks Michael. insightful. though I am not sure that
    the campus model allows pastors and local leaders to do ministry and spread the gospel without having to deal with the many administrative tasks—managing HR and budgets, building websites and databases—that hinder many churches.
    is such a bad idea. just sounds like a new denomination.

    with you re the centre of church life being a preacher in another continent. way too much focus on the preacher rather than the preached word.

    can' wait to see what unfolds, it would be too cynical to think he is just establishing a "reformed charismatic " papacy don't you think. he is on our team is he not?
  • Grant Hayes
    April 29, 09 - 2:09am
    Shane,

    "he is on our team is he not?"

    So were the early-ish popes, champions of robust trinitarian orthodoxy that they were.


    "it would be too cynical to think he is just establishing a "reformed charismatic " papacy"

    I was using humour to make a point. The global Mark-centred trajectory is a concern. Could all end in tears, and tears.

    Mark well the attitood...
  • Brian Tung
    April 29, 09 - 3:12am
    Didn't someone try to do this awhile ago (a bit before the www days). Something about the Book of Homilies.... Just substitute illiterate, ignorant and drunk local priests with....What are we substituing our preacehers for again?

    On another note, do we really care whether he's one our team or not. I would've thought whether he's (or we are) on Jesus' team is more important.
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 29, 09 - 3:14am
    it would be too cynical to think he is just establishing a "reformed charismatic " papacy don't you think. he is on our team is he not?


    yes and yes (although I understand some may disagree with me on second 'yes') .

    I think we should believe the gospel motivation they say lies behind this. I've no doubt they are being approached by churches weekly asking how they can tap into what seems a genuine movement of God.

    My concern is that the campus model is a quick fix that seems to play to Mars Hills strengths - Driscoll's preaching, his influential leadership, and technology. Ironically, you then end up with an attractional model of church growth.
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 29, 09 - 3:14am
    One of the things we need to learn is from the States is a big vision for Jesus' fame. Think global, act local. Too often our dreams, schemes, prayers & plans end at church, parish or diocesan boundaries. What would it look like if Sydney Anglicans planned to plant 5 churches in every capital city of Australasia over the next 5 years?
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 29, 09 - 3:18am
    do we really care whether he's one our team or not. I would've thought whether he's (or we are) on Jesus' team is more important.

    Yes & Yes.
    Yes, people care - well at least people on the blogosphere seem to. Why? Well if he is having an influence on next generation of leaders & nature of theological education for that generation & potentially local church plants - it is not an unreasonable thing to care about. Not, as you say, as important as whether he or we are on Jesus' team
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    April 29, 09 - 3:20am
    What would it look like if Sydney Anglicans planned to plant 5 churches in every capital city of Australasia over the next 5 years?


    a law suit?
  • Brian Tung
    April 29, 09 - 3:27am
    Seattle!!?
  • Dianne Howard
    April 29, 09 - 3:35am
    what would it look like?

    love for the lost
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 29, 09 - 3:36am
    a law suit?

    talk of law suits (in a far more serious context) isn't stopping our North American brothers and sisters from taking courageous action.

    Now I know GAFCON is far more complicated than this, and I'm not suggesting the Australian scene is like the North American, or that we should be taking action without speaking with local bishops here...

    BUT - wouldn't it be good to have an international and national vision for planting churches? to think about how the strengths of SA can be used to help resource churches elsewhere (I'm feeling another blog post coming on...)

    If we don't then we can't complain if we lose our next generation of leaders to Oz29 plants or a Mars Hill denominational campus model
  • Grant Hayes
    April 29, 09 - 3:51am
    "What would it look like if Sydney Anglicans planned to plant 5 churches in every capital city of Australasia over the next 5 years?"


    A whiteant imperium.
  • Grant Hayes
    April 29, 09 - 4:03am
    From the outside, it *looks* absurd when a diocese treats other dioceses within its own communion as *mission fields*.

    If we're talking courage of convictions, why doesn't neo-Puritan Sydney just part ways with its *apostate* liberal co-denominationists, and become Australia's own Mars Hill, sans the *Anglican* shackle?

    I guess divorce gets tricky when it comes to *assets*...

    So much calculation. So much ecclesiastical chess.
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    April 29, 09 - 4:07am
    My last post was a poor attempt at humour: ie being tongue-in-cheek about Mars Hill's branding.

    I apologise for chucking out that hand grenade. It was unhelpful.

    Any discussion about the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia would not only be a real yawn but would be off topic and thus against our posting policy :)
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 29, 09 - 4:10am
    OK confession time - I had no energy to write a fresh post for Syd Anglicans this week so I did the enviromentally responsible thing & recycled this one from my blog.

    There are 40+ comments over there if you want to see some other responses to Mars Hill Global Plans.

    No one yet is coming out batting hard for Mars Hill strategy - any takers?
  • Grant Hayes
    April 29, 09 - 4:11am
    Thank God for the posting policy ;)
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 29, 09 - 4:13am
    Any discussion about the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia would not only be a real yawn


    careful - Robert Tong may be about;-)
  • Grant Hayes
    April 29, 09 - 4:24am
    Re my connection of Mars Hill and Papacy at #1, #2, and #5 above, I note that Michael Jensen draws the same analogy over on Michael Kellahan's blog (see post #11 there).

    Seems moi the *cynic* is in good evangelical company on this point!
  • Steve Kryger
    April 29, 09 - 5:01am
    How about we start a discussion on the positives and benefits of what Mars Hill is proposing. I'm happy to kick us off:

    - it will start more churches in Sydney and Australia (or support dying churches).
    - it will provide recources (admin and tech support) to free churches up from some of these time consuming activities.
    - congregation members will benefit from the teaching of an excellent communicator and preacher.
    - less time preaching and preparing to preach (10 times per year, rather than 52 times per year) means (potentially) more time discipling one-on-one, running outreach activities, spending time in the community, etc.

    What are some other positives we can glean from this strategy?
  • David McKay
    April 29, 09 - 5:10am
    I like John Piper's preaching very much, but I think piping Piper is also a bad idea. Never warmed to it at all.
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    April 29, 09 - 5:34am
    Ok Steve not saying I agree with this - but I guess you could argue that we could employ 'deacons' to do the Mars Hill plan rather than 'presbyters'. Deacons are cheaper and quicker to train which means we can more F/T church workers on the ground.
  • Craig Schwarze
    April 29, 09 - 7:02am
    Like Mike, I worry that Mars Hill Sydney is just going to suck up some transfer growth but not really reach the lost. It will be worth looking at how they do church though, and why people find it attractive.

    And really, I think it's good for SydAng to have some competition in the Reformed Evangelical space.
  • Roger Gallagher
    April 29, 09 - 7:26am
    And really, I think it's good for SydAng to have some competition in the Reformed Evangelical space.

    Isn't this comment a bit dismissive of our existing Reformed Evangelical "competitors" such as the Presbyterians?

    IMHO, the main risk of the suggested Mars Hill model is an old one many churches have had to face - the reliance on one man because of his gifts as a preacher. If Driscoll goes, could they replace him with a preacher or preachers of equal skill, or would the whole structure start to break up?
  • Ian Powell
    April 29, 09 - 7:33am
    Hi all, This is my first comment ever and its a grizzle - sorry. I am somewhat amazed at the apparent narkiness in us. Millions are literally and terribley going to hell in our city and we are having very very very little impact. It seems clear Driscoll loves Jesus and honours His word - he is wrong on somethings as we are - he is unaware of where he is wrong as we are of where we are wrong.
    Let it rip - lets be like Paul (Philippians) and even if people preach Christ for wrong motives (not exactly the issue here)or not as brilliantly, relevantly and powerfully as we do (sad wry smile) lets cheer them on. We are at war in what makes the western fornt look like a picnic, so lets keep our eye on the battle and not on some details where godly men differ from us in all our near perfection.
    ian lovejoy powell
  • Phil Nicholson
    April 29, 09 - 7:39am
    We can affirm the sincerity of those proposing these plans and should be challenged by the boldness of the vision, but at the same time have serious concerns about the strategy proposed.

    I think the campus model with the control and teaching agenda set by a central authority sited on the other side of the world is an appalling mission strategy. It has many parallels with other Western (American?) strategies which offer a technological fix for human problems. There are numerous examples of churches around the world being drawn to the money, resources and expertise offered by others. The end result is usually dis-empowerment, conflict between the haves & have-nots and long-term frustration because of culturally inappropriate solutions.

    We would be far better served if Acts29 was to send out missionaries from the US to get their hands dirty working alongside Aussie church planters in doing the work.
  • Grant Hayes
    April 29, 09 - 8:02am
    Ian,

    Millions are literally and terribley going to hell in our city and we are having very very very little impact.


    As one of those millions, Ian, I can say that on-screen Mark Driscoll won't reduce your three *verys* much at all.

    Why buy into franchise Americana from Seattle? Driscoll may well be doctrinally appealing, but it's clear he's also edging into an ego-trip. Perhaps Sydangs would be doing him a huge favour by giving a firm thanks-but-no-thanks.
  • Craig Schwarze
    April 29, 09 - 8:04am
    Isn't this comment a bit dismissive of our existing Reformed Evangelical "competitors" such as the Presbyterians?

    There are a few good presy churches around. But my observation is that the denom in Sydney has been on it's knees for a long time.

    Anyone with contrary information, feel free to speak up.
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    April 29, 09 - 8:12am
    Doing Church
    Yes, it is right to have a sense of oversight, system. Often our models for this are limiting.
    As I look at my four young adult children, I am stretched and even more so when I relate to the Sunday evening STASH gathering at our church - St Andrews South Brisbane. Relating to 1400 first year students in the Sustainability course at QUT is a different level. This falls to the impossible. So I gain insight on how the "emerging generation in training" will do its thing as they take the baton.
    So to church. I get tired of reinforcing spent structures. We recently reflected on the ANZAC spirit (how that young generation did its thing) - I see similar patterns with the current generation. At St Andrews we have at least five very different gatherings. In reality, there are many more, if we include the numerous groups that emerge over almost any matter. Each of these groups reflect an element of God at work, a bonding between members, and an outcome of incremental change in people's lives. How did this occur? An absence of prescription from the Rector and a willingness by him to take risks have been factors. He focuses on biblical teaching and that people relate to Jesus with life matters. Jesus really does want us in relationship with Him. So, with relationship (with Jesus) the focus, the doing church bit is simply a case of looking to Him and letting Him manifest His ways. Doing Church is simply that - firstly getting people to relate to Jesus
  • David McKay
    April 29, 09 - 9:50am
    G'day Craig

    Being on your knees is a good place to be for a Christian...
  • Shane Rogerson
    April 29, 09 - 10:59am
    Ian
    Great you are posting.I agree there has been a bit of narkiness about Mark Driscoll over the last months which does reflect unimpressively - yet for most there is a substantive discussion about the nature of church, mission and the importance of preaching and preachers - all the things you and I hold dearly I imagine

    I agree " let it rip" We need more to hear. whatever motive.

    yet surely its worth discussing some of the implications of this kind of impact.

    Imagine the possibility of beaming Mark Driscoll into the assembly at 15 King St each Sunday. No longer would they need to gather to hear one of our better preachers who has lived and breathed the city most his life, who walks the streets and meets the people. They could call off the nominators, sell the rectory and recapitalize in a decent projector and a screen. We could rationalize more churches and simply them send them into Newtown for the screening, most likely screenings. imagine the impact on pagan central ( the suburb not Moore!)

    will that help the lost millions? maybe. there are some who care enough about the millions to say that they don't think it will, because less preachers & less assemblies of God's people, may actually mean less witness and proclamation, less 'means' of meeting Grace. It may actually be that our impact is miserably less if we rely on only a few gifted preachers in a few preaching centers formally known as churches. that would be worth getting narky about! Shane
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 29, 09 - 12:02pm
    Ian
    sorry if what I've put here comes across as narky.

    If I can use your Western front analogy - that's precisely why we need to think about strategy. Yes, we need tactics & we need to know who we are fighting with and against. But without the right strategy we can be throwing all out energy into the wrong thing.

    Some strategy matters theologically. Other strategy is just a pragmatic wisdom call. The proposal for Mars Hill Global deserves to be looked at carefully and graciously - I've tried to describe it fairly and say where I think its wrong. Lets engage with the substance of what they're putting in that linked doc.
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    April 29, 09 - 12:39pm
    At the end of last year, the majority of students in QUT's first year Sustainability unit (1300) expressed a preference for a virtual course - ie pre-recorded lestures/performances which they would view in their own time on their laptops individually or in groups. So this is waht we are doing. Coupled with this is about 40 tutorial groups each with two tutors. Now because sustainability is a balance of economic, environmental and social dimensions it represents great complexity or chaos - not too dissimilar to application focused biblical preaching. From this I look at alternative ways of reaching out and don't even flinch. Actually I am excited that Christ is preached. The need is very great for people to have a relationship with Jesus.
  • Roger Gallagher
    April 29, 09 - 12:46pm
    While I've expressed some concerns about the model Mark Driscoll proposes using, I've no problem with him coming to Sydney (or anywhere else in Australia - 80% of Australians do live outside of Sydney) and church planting. The harvest is more than big enough for us all!
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 29, 09 - 9:57pm
    Christopher,
    the internet has changed everything - we can't imagine what it will be like growing up digital.

    but... just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should. We need to work out a doctrine of what church is and think hard about what faithfulness looks like using new technologies.
  • Jeff Atack
    April 29, 09 - 10:08pm
    New post just gone up here relevent to discussions.
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    April 29, 09 - 10:32pm
    Michael
    Thanks for comment. I belive that we already have good understanding of church and its bibliical basis - doctrine. The challenge is its application to our context. The challenge is how limiting our structures are and how limiting we as leaders are. I really do wonder how much our leadership are trusting God and looking to Him on the big issues and letting Him lead. I know that I have this major fault. I would like to see more of the evidence that God has lead on big issues. So, asking clients what they would like to do, how they would like to receive church is not a bad question. A virtual display as a first step followed up by more intensive small groups and one to one type "accountabilities" fits biblically with me as a model. The key is to whom we look - Jesus or our own insight. This Jesus looking is a minute by minute exercise - sounds strange but with the thousands of unanswered questions which arise to me daily it is the only way to sanity I know. Aside from that I have confidence that He wants me in relationship with Him.
  • Jeff Atack
    April 29, 09 - 11:11pm
    Whatever you say about Driscoll, one things for sure...when he says or does something debate inevitably follows...

    I personally wouldn't like being preached to from a screen week in week out (I found the Big Day In disengaging enough and that was with a live message), though the stats/facts Driscoll quotes in the post I linked to above seem to fly in the face of this view.

    I wonder about how preaching is viewed in our circles...it seems to be put on a pedestal above teaching in the general sense. It seems the pulpit can be guarded jealously and yet we delegate much of the rest to small group leaders who, at times, got the gig because they were the only one's willing to put their hand up.

    I think the issue of cultural differences (Seattle vs Sydney) and the need to intimately know the message hearers is being overplayed here. Having listened to most of Driscoll's sermons I have found 90%+ to be perfectly relevent and on the money...the issues/idols/sins etc are common in western societies like the US and Aus. I suspect the relevence would drop if translated into a non-western culture though.

    To put it in perspective, the plan is for 100 MH campuses vs 900 independant plants, by those stats it is only a small part of strategy.

    In saying all that, if a MH satelite set up in Syd I wouldn't jump ship to join...and Oz29 plant on the other hand :~}
  • Craig Schwarze
    April 30, 09 - 12:30am
    Must admit, I'm getting more and more curious about how this is going to look and work in Sydney. The idea may have legs.

    If I were a pastor with, say, a small evening service that had been stagnant for 5 years, I'd be tempted to affiliate that service as an MHC campus and see what happens. Not sure if that's possible or not, but would be interesting...
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    April 30, 09 - 1:31am
    Yes, I think it is inevitable that someone locally will jump on the Mars Hill ship.
  • Craig Schwarze
    April 30, 09 - 1:33am
    I think it is inevitable that someone locally will jump on ship.


    Yep - and they'll be the most talked about parish in Sydney for about a week, I would imagine...
  • John Sandeman
    April 30, 09 - 2:38am
    (second thougths, point already made..)
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 30, 09 - 2:58am
    I think the issue of cultural differences (Seattle vs Sydney) and the need to intimately know the message hearers is being overplayed here. Having listened to most of Driscoll's sermons I have found 90%+ to be perfectly relevent and on the money...the issues/idols/sins etc are common in western societies like the US and Aus. I suspect the relevence would drop if translated into a non-western culture though


    Jeff
    can't agree with your claim that context is being overplayed. I think the feedback from Big Day In shows the difficulty of sending one message to 200+ different contexts.

    Yes, Seattle & Sydney are global cities - that context is similar though not the same. I'm preparing a sermon series on doubts people have about Christianity. While I've found Tim Keller's book The Reason for God very helpful - much of what he writes, is written to, and out of, the peculiar Christian culture in the States - religious right & fundamentalism v liberalism etc. That's not Sydney.

    Even to talk of Sydney's culture is misleading - how many tribes are there in Sydney?

    There is a place for speaking from outside the culture - think of internet evangelism to muslim world or older school radio broadcasts to closed countires. But to choose to have lead preaching in a church piped in from the other side of the world has to be a 3rd best option. Much better to have competent locals.
  • Jeff Atack
    April 30, 09 - 3:22am
    I'm not saying it has no bearing, just not as much as is implied.

    I think the feedback from Big Day In shows the difficulty of sending one message to 200+ different contexts.


    Not sure of the specific feedback you refer to here...my issue was stuff like music and the like didn't work. Perhaps the message was confused with too much going on rather than the technology per se.

    While I've found Tim Keller's book The Reason for God very helpful - much of what he writes, is written to, and out of, the peculiar Christian culture in the States - religious right & fundamentalism v liberalism etc. That's not Sydney.


    Driscoll does talk about fundamentalism/liberalism from time to time (not the religious right that I can recall), but pretty much every time he does it he explains what those terms mean such that you quickly understand the categories. In any case, most of the preaching is book-by-book which doesn't rely too heavily on cultural perculiarities in it's delivery.
  • Jeff Atack
    April 30, 09 - 3:25am
    Even to talk of Sydney's culture is misleading - how many tribes are there in Sydney?


    I'm sure there are plenty of tribes in Seatle too...I remember one quip that was made where a visitor to MH, referring to a goth girl decked out in black garb and white face paint, commented that it was great MH was reaching out to that group. MD retorted back that the girl was actually a church deacon! Clearly tribal differences aren't hampering their campus strategy so far.

    But to choose to have lead preaching in a church piped in from the other side of the world has to be a 3rd best option. Much better to have competent locals.


    As I said...don't disagree with this...not keen on video preaching myself.

    I actually wonder whether they will end up restricting MH campus' to the US and only plant churches internationall under A29.
  • Craig Schwarze
    April 30, 09 - 3:35am
    Jeff, I think the website makes it pretty plain that they are looking at planting Mars Hill churches all over the world.
  • Jeff Atack
    April 30, 09 - 3:44am
    I might be reading it wrong Craig but it seems less clear cut to me...
  • David McKay
    April 30, 09 - 3:47am
    Musing about us folk who don't like the idea of going to church for a video, yet enjoy listening to recorded sermons of other people's ministers in the car ...

    I think there's a difference and it isn't being inconsistent...
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    April 30, 09 - 3:49am
    Why don't parishes link together for regular monthly big events or campaigns to attract 5,000! Not really hard to do. Why don't they have a regular campus blitz in conjunction with the AFES or whoever? Not hard and not rocket science! My daughter just returned from PNG, the TSCC (tertiary students christian conference) in Rabaul where only 600 attended (no suprise as it is an active volcano)- they usually get 6,000! Our evening Minister says he never preached to under 10,000 in Ethiopia. So, why do we get involved in back room debates over Driscoll taking our thunder? Why do we get concerned when he takes our thunder? Whose Minister is this anyway? ours or Gods? Should we not be rejoicing over those who labour? Why don't we direct our energy to labouring and why do we wait for someone else to show us up. This message is all about humility that we are being humbled as we negelect to get on with the job God as asked us to do. I pray for labourers. I am thankful God is answering. But it is hurtful that Sydney and Moore are only using 5% of their capacity. Now under God we should be getting excited at what would happen. Ephesians 3:20. Lets get real about seeking HIs glory.
  • Phil Nicholson
    April 30, 09 - 4:09am
    I think there are 2 separate concerns being expressed about the campus strategy.

    1. The pastoral concern about whether it is wise to outsource the main preaching and teaching responsibilities of a church to someone with no personal relationship with the congregation. Is the separation of preaching and local leadership biblical or healthy? To my mind this is why many of us are happy to listen to MD's podcasts but still question this strategy.

    2. The contextual concern about whether the content of the teaching will address the needs of a congregation in another country. A campus approach may work across Seattle but will it work across the world? This is obviously a matter of debate and we won't know until someone tries it.

    And perhaps there is a 3rd matter of control and centralisation and what the long-term impact of this may be.

    I seriously hope they stick with the Acts29 approach for ministries outside of the US.
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 30, 09 - 4:13am
    Christopher,
    I really think the issue is strategy rather than arrogance/jealousy.

    I'd happily see Driscoll used in Sydney and beyond but think there are different ways for that to happen.

    A good way is for him to be instrumental in raising up the next generation of Australian evangelists, church planters etc. I see him doing this already and doing it more through the Oz29 network (see links at top of page for info on Sydney & Melb visit)
    A bad way (in my humble opinion) is by getting Australians to set up screens so that he can be preach 40 times a year.

    A similar issue was raised when the Australians going to the church planters conference in Seattle had to think through whether to be Acts 29 (Australia) or have a more independent relationship to the States. That was an important issue to work out.
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    April 30, 09 - 4:21am
    Phil
    A ggod contribution.- Valid concerns which need attention and "if all else fails" prayer...
    Joint venturing and local leadership are essential.
    I don't know why the Sydney parishes don't just get on with the job. Surely this is a big enough kick up the pants. This is the main agenda ie God is calling us into relationship with Him and has asked us to labour. Your two points are helpful guides to shape our action. My prayer is that disciples emerge and from this, the leaders of future generations! So, considering this, it is not hard to shape the ministry distinctives.
    Another systemic problem is that we think too small, we don't think and pray in terms of foundations of generations and a global impact. Moore is in a box seat in this regard. Roll up your sleeves and get on with it. What is being taught there that this is not happening?
  • Craig Schwarze
    April 30, 09 - 4:23am
    Christopher, I think you will find most parishes think they *are* getting on with the job.
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    April 30, 09 - 4:42am
    Craig, thanks for your comment.
    Yes, I believe you are right. They think they are. However, if they read the scriptures they will discover otherwise. They will find that God longs for us to return to Him, that we are directed to labour and that they are not leaving the major concerns of man's heart with Him. God has been very clear in His instructions to us. Indicators of growth, transformation, obedience might include: how many missionaries are we sending out this year, are our finances increasing greatly, how would we define our charity, our generous spirit, are we relating to the needy, are we training the next generation, are we making good progress in marriage and family life ...I am reminded of the story how do we grow a chicken.. answer, if we plant a feather we grow a chicken. That was the answer of a thinking person. He thought and from cloning science he might be right. The issue was he thought, which is good but he also needed to think and ask God. I could extend the illustration but I will leave it at that.
  • Craig Schwarze
    April 30, 09 - 4:45am
    Christopher, with respect, I don't believe you are in a position to judge whether the parishes are "getting on with it" or not.
  • Ian Powell
    April 30, 09 - 4:50am
    3 or 4 years ago Barneys had 1 of those growth spurts that we never quite understood + so rigged up what we called "The Alpha Room" where the sermon from main room was wired through + experienced on screen. The rest of the gathering was led by flesh and blood folk. The growth spurt did stop at that period but we never quite worked out why, there was a mild dissatisfaction with the whole evening community not being together but the screened message did not seem to be the problem.
    This leads onto a bigger question that I and quite a few others feel, which is that while us ministers think we are pretty good preachers, i feel our preaching is generally pretty ordinary, I feel often enough not really preaching the passage and not breathing the spirit of the passages we talk from and often not inspiring for life. Many of us have much less understanding of people and Sydney folk than we think. Especially the unsaved. Good Christian folk need lots of encouragement to speak honestly about how uninspiring so much of what we serve up in sermons is. We pay attention to the well intentioned flatterers and ignore the unssatisfied becasue we all know that Sydney Anglicans are great with the text.
    Why this rave? Driscoll may well understand post-mod Sydney-siders better than most well intentioned Syd Ang preachers - culural difference may be over-rated.
    I offer this critique hoping to help - but I may well be totally wrong.
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    April 30, 09 - 5:00am
    Craig
    Thanks again. You are right. Actually, I am not really concerned over this as I look to God. I genuinely believe that they are 110 percent committed and over extended and doing all the right things. I should not offer critique on their programs as I do not know what they are doing, aside from contact with a few.
    My commentary is more directed at what I see as possible, under God. Others might not see this but I do. Where there is a difference between this and what is happening is a question and I can only offer my perspective, which is what I have been doing.
    So your southerns - keep up the good work. God will lead in any changes He sees necessary as you look to Him. You have had excellent training opportunities. God has blessed you greatly. Look beyond the blessing however to the relationship He wants with you and delight in this. God will do more abundantly than you ask or think and so rattle yor cages - be prepared for that time. Pray that you can send your best people to the mission fields and we need you guys up here. We have seven universities in SEQ with way over a hundred thousand university students. A long term missionary is three generations and short term ten years! We need long termers here.
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 30, 09 - 5:56am
    Ian
    thanks again.

    you said
    Driscoll may well understand post-mod Sydney-siders better than most well intentioned Syd Ang preachers


    Even if that is true (& I hope its not) the problem is he wouldn't be preaching just to them but to the other 99 campuses around the world. But Mars Hill in Kabul and Katoomba and Kalamazoo are in very different places. You could fill each of these with evangelicals keen to hear Driscoll but can any preacher speak to such different places?

    At one level, you can say yes - just tell them about Jesus and sin and resurrection - the cultural context is that they are created by God and have run from him.

    But a better way is to learn from Driscoll's reading of his particular culture and do the same in ours. So if our preaching stinks and we don't communicate to the unchurched then learn from MD & get on our knees and do it.

    We wouldn't want CMS to be setting up screens and broadcasting from Sydney - why would be happy to see it come from Seattle?
  • Jeff Atack
    April 30, 09 - 6:15am
    But Mars Hill in Kabul and Katoomba and Kalamazoo are in very different places

    Mike, I reckon Driscoll is smart enough to know that MH Kabul won't work.

    The MH folk already know who downloads the MP3's off their site so if they do go global with campus' (and I'm still not convinced they will) then this will no doubt figure into the model.

    ...which of course does put Aus at the top of the list.
  • Ian Powell
    April 30, 09 - 6:22am
    Hi Michael,
    I have no idea about Kabul but Seattle is not really such a jump to Sydney and what we lose in specifics we gain in his deeper insights to western culture and humans generally in which he vastly surpasses almost all of us. I am no worshipper of St Mark of Seattle but he seems specially gifted and used of God.
    We could, but probably won't learn much from Mark about culture reading because it is when the pupil is ready that the teacher can teach. Most of us seem not really willing to unlearn stuff we think we know and to start learning. We have very powerful traditions of our fathers that blinker us to our obvious failures and weaknesses. Our complacency in the midst of failure is remarkable. We think we're OK cause we're doing better than neighbouring dioceses while Sydney dies. We need all the help we can get, and why not let folk give it a go. My favourite point in Arch's first mission address is that he wanted to hear of failures, if not it meant that we were not trying hard enough or really trying afresh. Lets try some new approaches instead of just re-potting congregations and calling it kingdom growth.
    Why not let CMS set up screens etc if they wanted to. Our city is going to hell and we sit around critiquing. We are good at that and almost totally hopeless at hearing critique of ourselves - Semper reformata (always reforming) must be taken seriously for ourselves first and not just when we feel like killing someones elses sacred cow. - Grumpy? Ian
  • Phil Nicholson
    April 30, 09 - 6:47am
    Mike, I reckon Driscoll is smart enough to know that MH Kabul won't work.


    But the latest news is that they are planning translations. So it seems that they are planning on screening to non-English speakers (i.e. significantly different cultures) at least somewhere.

    Ian, I think Michael's point about CMS not just setting up screens refers to mission out of Australia. i.e. Our view of mission recognises the need to send flesh & blood people to go and understand and relate and care as they preach - not just to beam a one-size-fits-all message from Australia. I think this is at least part of the concern being expressed here about the MH strategy.
  • Jeff Atack
    April 30, 09 - 6:54am
    But the latest news is that they are planning translations. So it seems that they are planning on screening to non-English speakers (i.e. significantly different cultures) at least somewhere.

    You could be right Phil, but don't necessarily equate non-english speaking with completely different culture...I'm thinking other Western nations like France, Germany etc.

    Driscoll is very culturally saavy. I would find it hard to believe he would be so full of himself to think a sermon with subtitles would be best approach for downtown Baghdad.

    Could be wrong though!
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 30, 09 - 7:09am
    OK, I better explain Kabul.
    I understand that part of Mars Hill's thinking about going global was the feedback they were getting from US forces who were deployed in Iraq & Afghanistan who were taking the vodcast, replaying it to their mates & calling themselves Mars Hill church.
    Brilliant. More power to them. The internet does have its uses.
  • Justin Moffatt
    April 30, 09 - 7:20am
    Jeff: A screen in Kabul can be seen in downtown Baghdad?? Would like to see that.

    :)

    (Commenting to subscribe to the follow-up comments.)
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 30, 09 - 7:21am
    Ian
    just to pick up some of what you said...

    but he seems specially gifted and used of God.

    Yes - I agree.

    We could, but probably won't learn much from Mark about culture reading because it is when the pupil is ready that the teacher can teach. Most of us seem not really willing to unlearn stuff we think we know and to start learning. We have very powerful traditions of our fathers that blinker us to our obvious failures and weaknesses.


    The varied response to his 18 point critique may prove your point. Some have been defensive and dismissive, when there is much to learn.

    Lets try some new approaches instead of just re-potting congregations and calling it kingdom growth.


    Yes, yes, yes - but please not this approach. Even Driscoll can make strategic mistakes & I think this is one. (I will be the happiest person to be proved wrong though.)
  • Phil Nicholson
    April 30, 09 - 7:26am
    @Jeff. I had thought that too. Certainly these cultures are more similar to the US than non-Western cultures. But as soon as you operate in any different language you also have significant cultural differences as well. Much more than I suspect we realise from a surface/pop cultural perspective.

    Driscoll is certainly very savvy about his own culture and an excellent observer. But I don't think we know how sensitive or aware he is of other cultures and what is needed to operate in ways that are culturally appropriate. e.g. Joking which seems to be a strength at MH can be a killer in a cross-cultural situation. You don't need to be full of yourself to make cultural blunders.

    Speculating about what MD can and can't do though is not so helpful as we just don't know. So my comments are not meant in any way to be a criticism of him. I would not think this approach was the best way to plant or grow more churches no matter who was doing it.
  • Ian Powell
    April 30, 09 - 7:35am
    Hi Michael - At the risk of turning this forum into a confessional - I know that I am off balance at the moment, but my main concern was not whether MD has a good or bad strategy, my fear is for US.
    So blessed and so pathetic and so criticsl of other brothers who are desperately trying to honour Jesus and reach the perishing. Who knows what may work - what we are doing clearly isn;t working - this is not pure pragmatism but part of the picture.
    The figures of salvations given at 08 Synod and left utterly unchallenged was 300 or so. No reason to panic - not.
    ian
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 30, 09 - 7:51am
    Ian
    you're not alone in voicing those concerns & we'd be mad not to be think afresh about our ministry in light of Mid Point Review.
    at the same time (perhaps in God's kindness) there seems a genuine movement of God coming from States from Driscoll (& others) that has kicked off all kinds of conversations about how ministry should be done and what future should look like. No clearer proof than yesterday's post by John Woodhouse.
    Now along the way, some have just dismissed anything coming out of States and defended any practice we have as THE way things must be done. That's foolish, especially with so many unchurched just not connecting with us at all. If you think I've crossed the line & am just using this forum to diss him then I'm sorry - it wasn't the intent.
    But as we think about what we can take from Driscoll, we shouldn't just jump on the bandwagon & uncritically take anything he puts out. (I even think Sydney has stuff it can contribute to the movement there.)
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    April 30, 09 - 8:05am
    Fourty years ago a movement stated at New College - over four years, fourty young men became Christians and ten of those wound up in full time Christian work. They came from outside Sydney. I was one and the foundations of my Christian life were laid there. I had no Christian background but strangely I was highly receptive to the gospel and to the teaching from scriptures. The witness was blunt, poorly presented and packaged but with a real concern for the lost. The key element was love and bible focused discussion. This by any evaluation was a mini revival. Unknown to us a group of Minister's wives prayed. From this people are doing Christian work in many countries. Now the downside of Driscoll's package is that it will mostly likely break all guidelines of cultural anthropology and result in damage. I have worked in South Asia as a missionary and subsequently studied anthropology - I know what damage is possible. We all know what is possible - just from listening to the target Christians have become in the media over recent decades. It is right to register concern. I would like to see a Sydney response. They are able to do a better job than we in Brisbane. Through working in a social change unit at University I am aware of the downside! Christians are sitting ducks, and I don't like giving a better target!! What do we do? Pray. Rethink what your Arch said - it was not impossible and if you work together I think your outcomes will glorify God.
  • Joshua Bovis
    April 30, 09 - 8:06am
    Apart from the obvious parallels with the Roman Catholic Church and Starbuck's franchises, here are some concerns I have.

    A)The assumption that people will be able to relate to Mark Driscoll even though:1. They don’t know him2. Will not have the opportunity to know him3. He will not be able to know them.4. His mouth has caused a lot of division amongst Christians.

    B)An unhlepful dichotomy placed between preaching and pastoral work. I think as preachers it is important to work hard in getting to know and love the people whom you are preaching to. Granted, it is hard if the church is a big church - but Mark Driscoll will not be able to dop this and cannot possibly know the context of every church that he is being teleported to.

    C)His use of language and his…’Driscollisms’(for the want of a better term). Although he was toned down in Sydney, he does offend a lot of Christians unnecessarily by his humour and language. I did not realise until recently just how much his humour is not appropriate for Christians (Ephesians 4-17 - 5:21 does not seem to be in his mind at times)
  • Joshua Bovis
    April 30, 09 - 8:06am
    Do we want this guy to be beamed into churches unchecked? How would he be accountable if he goes overboard (which he often does)? How can a teleportation station (church) respond?a. Turn the volume down?b. Edit his sermon with a beep beep beeeeeeep?c. Turn him off.d. Put a disclaimer notice at the beginning and end that says:


    “THE MINISTRY TEAM @ ST STARBUCKS DOES NOT ENDORSE ALL THE CONTENT OF PASTOR MARK’S SERMON AND APOLOGISES FOR ANY OFFENCE THAT WILL/MAY/POSSIBLY ARISE DUE TO THE DRISCOLISMS”?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Mark is gifted, godly and passionate. I think he has been very encouraging to the body of Christ when it comes to contextualisation of the gospel but my concern with him is that at times I think his contextualisation is not always consistent with his theology and if that be the case he will unwittingly and unwillingly subvert not only his own message and ministry but also the message and ministry of the churches that he is being teleported to.
  • Steve Kryger
    April 30, 09 - 8:16am
    No one is suggesting that this is the perfect strategy - like nearly any strategy it will have holes, and is open to critique. And we're good at critiquing. We're good at spotting what's wrong with an idea, why an idea might not work, why the motives of the instigator might be wrong, etc. The comments on this post testify to our ability to critique an idea.

    My concern is that we seem to be much better at critiquing than creating and initiating, better at identifying concerns rather than identifying possibilities. Perhaps we need to be quicker to offer ideas for moving forward, if we are going to critique the initiative of others to reach our city.
  • Justin Moffatt
    April 30, 09 - 8:27am
    My concern is that we seem to be much better at critiquing than creating and initiating, better at identifying concerns rather than identifying possibilities. Perhaps


    Steve -- good point -- although it should be said that this thread, created by Michael, is about critiquing a particular strategy. We need to get Kellahan to write us a new post: 'If Mars Hill wants X, and you don't want X, then tell us what will work.'
  • Justin Moffatt
    April 30, 09 - 8:28am
    That is, Joshua is in the right ball park to write his critique.
  • Steve Kryger
    April 30, 09 - 8:38am
    Thanks Justin.

    I think it's a good idea to critique the strategy, just not sure how helpful it is to critique without offering any solutions or better ideas. We won't get anywhere, other than agreeing that we don't think the strategy is a bad one (which seems to be the almost universal opinion, judging by the comments). It's easy to critique. It's hard to create.

    On the subject of creating, perhaps we don't need to wait for Michael to write another post...if you don't agree with Driscoll's strategy, what are your ideas for how we can make Jesus known? What will work more effectively than Driscoll's strategy?
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 30, 09 - 9:32am
    Steve
    Please don't wait for me to write a brilliant strategy - first night home this week & four kids to get to bed.

    Let me share though an idea someone just sent me privately...
    Why not start a Mars Hill evangelistic video group now? Take advantage of MD's preaching in the same way the marines in Kabul are - not a bunch of Christians sitting around either - no admission without a non-Christian friend. Let them hear then sit around after and talk Jesus. Pray for them. As they become Christians you can either link them up with your church or plant a new one. (you know by now my preference would then be for one of you to preach rather than Mark Driscoll but lets work that out later). I understand there are a few churches where variations on this are being done. Love to hear reports from anyone doing this now...

    Also - I think its ok for us to say 'no' to this part of MD's strategy but a resounding 'Yes' to the way they are backing the planting of independent Acts 29 & Oz29 style churches. That's something I've written about here and elsewhere. By saying 'no' to video preaching campus church, we can be in a better postion to say 'yes' to independent churches.
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 30, 09 - 9:39am
    Joshua
    the 'Mark cussing pastor' critique is one I don't accept but would prefer not to open that much documented can of worms here.
    you are right to point out though that a campus video model means you lose 'control' of the teaching. That happens whenever you have a guest preacher in - that can always be exciting for the regular pastor! But Mark wouldn't be a 'guest' he would be the 'lead preaching pastor' - so if you do have him 40 times a year, you need to have confidence that he is the right person to be preaching and you better be able to submit to his teaching. If you can't then you shouldn't even consider it.
  • Phil Nicholson
    April 30, 09 - 10:08am
    what are your ideas for how we can make Jesus known?


    * Start (or continue) making prayer for church planting initiatives a central part of our church prayer life. And be praying that God will show us what our own church needs to be doing better or more of.
    * Get behind the Acts29/Oz29 initiatives - i.e. independent churches with support/training from Mars Hill. Give and pray for them even if they are outside our denominational structures.
    * Sponsor and support experienced church planters from the Acts 29 network to come from the US to Australia as missionaries to plant, model and train locals how to do it.
    * Cough up the money and employ more evangelists and church planters, either as staff members of existing churches or to be sent out as local missionaries into an unchurched community.
    * Encourage our members to try new outreach initiatives in their own relationship network, give them freedom to fail, pray for them publicly in church. Help church members to see themselves as co-workers in the gospel, sent and supported by the church where-ever they are.

    I don't know what the best strategy is but I believe the primary need is for more workers and more prayer not more money or technology. Tell MH that if they want to help the work of the gospel where we are, this is what they can give.
  • Steve Kryger
    April 30, 09 - 10:09am
    I like that idea Michael.

    Here's another.

    If Driscoll is culturally out of touch with Australians (as some are arguing), what about beaming Sydney's best preachers into churches across the Diocese for 42 weeks of the year, with the local pastor preaching the other 10 weeks?

    This is similar to what Mars Hill does in Seattle (and is proposing here) and would provide high quality preaching that's (potentially) more relevant to our context, and the 15-20 hours the 'local' pastor would not need to spend preparing a sermon each week could be spent in one-on-one discipleship, outreach activities, etc.

    The Diocese could help out with admin - providing on-going, post-college training to the pastors, and could provide resources such as websites for each church.

    I guess I'm suggesting we could make use of the model, but use a different preacher/s.

    What do you think?
  • Steve Kryger
    April 30, 09 - 10:13am
    Great ideas Phil, thanks for sharing.

    I wonder if we could even run a large-scale prayer event in Sydney - gathering people from across our city to pray that Jesus would be made known, and that God would make us increasingly passionate for His renown, and that He would give us wisdom to know how to make Him known in our Diocese.

    Perhaps gathering people together (rather than prayer events in churches) might help us to see that there's a lot of us, and we're all in this together, that the harvest is great, and that God has gifted Sydney with many workers, who, working together and praying, could make a (continuing) big impact for His name.
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    April 30, 09 - 10:45am
    thanks Phil, Steve, Michael ...
    An interesting discussion. More ideas:
    1. Teach keen outreach interested church members how to pray. This is not a five minute or one Saturday morning exercise but a campaign for a few months.
    2. Then, step two, use this orientation to get this group to pray about matters in their lives and the people God leads into their lives - another month - in before work or Saturday morning breakfast sessions.
    3. Then, step three, initiate discussion on how they can connect with significant others around them. This will again take time as they create the space for this to happen.
    4. Finally you are at the point of identifying some kind of fishing trip, outing, meeting ... which can be the vehicle for exposing them to a relationship with Christ. This might be a big event, but given our culture not likely. Sorry MH no takers for your package as we will at that point have a path more crafted by God. Also we are orientated to discipling and outreach and delighting in the Lord that we have the priviledge of being His messengers.
    So the emphasis is to do a deep work in the lives of a few who are open, available and teachable - whom God has prepared for this step.
  • Shane Rogerson
    April 30, 09 - 1:10pm
    interestingly we already use video broadcasting for evangelism - the one we have used is called Introducing God.
    maybe we could have a similar format and use Driscoll's series on Vintage Jesus instead, then give them the book to take home as well.
    here's the blurb on the DVD / study resource

    Features 12 teaching sessions by Mark Driscoll. This study of the life of Jesus calls us all to examine the Truth about Him in a world that desires to water down or even exclude some the key points in scripture relating to who Jesus was and how He changed history. Includes 1 study guide. This video driven Bible study is perfect for your small group Bible study.

    (recorded in high definition, plays in standard DVD players)

    Video Sessions:

    1) Is Jesus the Only God?
    2) How Human Was Jesus
    3) How Did People Know Jesus Was Coming?
    4) Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?
    5) Why Did Jesus' Mom Need to Be a Virgin?
    6) What Did Jesus Accomplish on the Cross?
    7) Did Jesus Rise from Death?
    8) Where Is Jesus Today?
    9) Why Should We Worship Jesus?
    10) What Makes Jesus Superior to Other Saviors?
    11) What Difference Has Jesus Made in History?
    12) What Will Jesus Do upon His Return?


    Has anyone tried this - has it worked?

    I am going to give it a try - just checked it out and its looks excellent - have just ordered it so if you are interested and have some people you could bring along then email me shanerogerson at optusnet dot com dot au
  • Justin Moffatt
    April 30, 09 - 1:55pm
    Shane -- This is a worthwhile idea, I reckon. A valid use of Mark's Gifts. I haven't heard the series, nor read the book. But assuming that's all good, it has to be better than 'outsourcing' preaching.
  • Joshua Bovis
    April 30, 09 - 8:23pm
    Michael,

    Thanks for getting back to me. I just want to say one more thing about something you said:
    the 'Mark cussing pastor' critique is one I don't accept but would prefer not to open that much documented can of worms here.

    That is fine MIchael. But I have noticed that his special exegesis of Song of Songs was unhelpul...actually scratch that. It was terrible!That was one church! What would have happened if that SOS sermon was beamed into 20 Sydney Churches, or 50, or 100?
    I am not anti MD nor am I a Driscollite, and I thought most of what he said in Sydney was excellent. I have heard of the cussing pastor critique also and I gave him the benefit of the doubt. For a while I had no hassle with his some of his worldly humour but then I realised that this was saying something about me and my worldliness. Now you may not want to open this can of worms here, but if he was teleported to hundreds of churches, the can of worms may be opened by Mark himself. And ministers of these churches would be left to clean up the mess.

    As you pointed out:
    Mark wouldn't be a 'guest' he would be the 'lead preaching pastor' - so if you do have him 40 times a year, you need to have confidence that he is the right person to be preaching and you better be able to submit to his teaching
    The recent controvery regarding Mark was due to one sermon in one country.
  • Ian Powell
    April 30, 09 - 11:30pm
    I add another trivial response - about MD language. Have not heard the offending sermons. But the comment that Christians were offended is farily inconsequential. Many of our brethren would find some of Luther appallingly offensive (was going to quote him but felt it would not be printed) and God saying he will wipe shit on peoples faces in Malachi and Jesus of course. But even the radicals in our midst keep bowing to the shiboleths of our particualar Christian culture whereas lovelessness goes barely challenged and empire building ministers are admired. We limit unwholesome speech to a few specific words rather than whole sets of discourse and slander. Sorry becasue I guess this has all been discussed a while back - I feel we need to challenge ourselves rather than critique others (this is a slight overstatment in the 2nd half). I wish we could recieve a letter from Jesus a la Revelation so we could repent of our sin. I think I have just mounted my hobby horse I'm with DL Moody " I have more trouble form DLM than form any man I know" We are, I am the problem - not they.
  • Steve Kryger
    April 30, 09 - 11:53pm
    Joshua,


    The recent controvery regarding Mark was due to one sermon in one country.


    I daresay if most (all?) of us, including myself, were scrutinised as closely as Mark Driscoll, others would find much to object to.

    Jesus is the only perfect preacher.

    I agree with Ian:


    I feel we need to challenge ourselves rather than critique others
  • Michael Kellahan
    April 30, 09 - 11:54pm
    Just cross posting Daniel's comment on my blog. He says:

    I love, love, love MHC and Mark’s preaching. And I think MH Global is an awful, horrible idea. I was uncomfortable with the Seattle simulcast idea, but this is out of bounds. And I live in the US.

    1) Seattle deserves a pastor who knows and loves the city, but other cities should be content with a total outsider?
    2) Preaching and pastoral care are inseparable. Megachurches strain that, but possibly keep it together by maintaining closeness between the “preaching pastor” and other pastors. This breaks the bond.
    3) I don’t know about Australia, but I remember thinking that Mark’s preaching would go over like a lead balloon among unchurched New Yorkers. Off-color jokes, sneering references to homosexuality, bad grammar, lowbrow culture. The culture gap only gets bigger when you go international.
    4) Where are the great new preachers emerging from Acts29 or MHC? Phil Ryken succeeded James Boice succeeded Donald Barnhouse. DM Lloyd-Jones succeeded G Campbell Morgan.
    5) Totally fails the “what-if-Mark-gets-hit-by-a-bus” test. St Paul’s ministry DIDN’T fail when he died, because Timothy, Titus, Epaphroditus, and a host of unknowns were doing the same thing he did, including preaching, all over the Mediterranean.

    I hope somebody wise and close to MHC sits on them. Piper? Warren?
  • Gary Haddon
    May 1, 09 - 12:18am
    Re: post #83 ... Christopher you have just described what we, and I believe most parishes in Sydney, have attempted to do ever since Connect09 was on the agenda. In fact, it seems to me that you're decribing our (I should say my Parish's) current main strategy - connect (with God and our community)!

    post #84 - Shane the Rogo - email me and let me know how it goes, I have found the Introducing God program missed the mark of connecting with the people in my context on many levels (most significantly involved with being based on the spoken concept of 'autonomy', which no-one really got without more explanation, and like a good joke, having to explain it all meant that the effect was lost) and so it would be good to see if Driscoll does it better.

    In general: I say if someone is going to try something to reach the lost, then bring it on, have a go. It's why I'm in ministry - if I thought I needed to be able to do it "right", then I would not be leading a church ... ever. I hear you Powellie. But outsourcing preaching is not the relationally based model of ministry which I believe Jesus has called me to, so I wouldn't sign up because I reckon process is as important as outcome (probably more so).

    Herewith probably ends my posting until next time I'm laid up for a bit and unable to get out and about in my Parish, 'having a go', and instead am stuck inside for a few days...
  • Justin Moffatt
    May 1, 09 - 12:23am
    Re Post #88 -- Steve:

    Of course! Of course we say silly things. That is not under question. And critique ourselves. Rigorously.

    But none of us are not going to be the preaching pastor, beamed in across 100 campuses all around with world. That's Joshua's point. We all say dumb things, but there are natural checks and balances in a local congregation. The preacher is a part of the household. He is there, in the flesh and blood, to be held accountable for his words.

    Like a father in a household, if I can use that language.

    My hope in this regard is that we don't outsource preaching, like we don't outsource fatherhood.
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 1, 09 - 12:34am
    Gary - re your concern about Introducing God. (I'm pretty sure) Dominic has set it up so that you don't need to use the video of him at all - you can take the structure and materials but do the local talks. I think this is a better option and may overcome the kind of conerns you got. Not sure about the home bible study version of IG - my experience is with the dinner+talk+small group version.
  • Ian Powell
    May 1, 09 - 1:05am
    Bro Justin (and the other sisters and brothers)
    I know paul uses the father thing for those he has led to the Lord (once or twice only) I do feel it is always a dangerous image especially for mnisters to use of ourselves as it tends to infantilize our brethren and elevate ourselves and one that Jesus outlaws for his brothers. Even though i know Justin uses it in a humble way.
    ian
  • Justin Moffatt
    May 1, 09 - 1:28am
    Brother (and not Father) Ian -- right you are. I mean it by way of illustration, rather than by parallel. My point still works if one is a sibling, parent etc.

    That is, you are present in the household, and can be confronted and challenged for the silly things a person says. Which we all say.

    I don't outsource brotherhood etc.

    Thats my point. And Joshua's before me.
  • Joshua Bovis
    May 1, 09 - 3:06am
    Justin,

    Thankyou - that was indeed my point.

    Steve,
    If you noticed my concerns about this Mars Hill teleportation project, MD's language was not my only concern. I am not a prude, I am same decade as Mark, but I simply have real hassles with him being beamed in when his sermons polarise Christians of the same theological team as him. The message of the cross will offend people, but when a preacher offends Christians unnecessary??? He does not need to do this.
  • Steve Kryger
    May 1, 09 - 3:24am
    Can I raise this again: if you don't agree with Driscoll's strategy (or with his content, as Joshua is suggesting), what are your ideas for how we can make Jesus known? What will work more effectively than Driscoll's strategy?

    We had some good ideas being tossed around before - let's keep them coming.
  • Joshua Bovis
    May 1, 09 - 3:52am
    Steve,
    I am mindful of these things in my ministry:
    1. Pray
    2. Remember John 15:15 & the parable of the yeast (ministry is slow, often growth is behind the scenes & not easily perceived)
    3. Preach the Word (keep the whole council of God)
    4. Don't fall into theological dissonance (easy to do)
    5. Make friends (of the non-Christian variety)
    6. Parish visitiation (do more of it)
    7. Be all things to all people (1 Cor 9)
    8. Be patient.
    9. Semper Reformader (always be doing it)
    10. Don't be sucked by pragmatism (what works does not always mean it is right)
    11. Be authentic & real
    12. Love people

    These are not my ideas, but things that has been modelled and taught to me by mature Christians over many years. Frank Retief said something to me once I shall never forget.
    When it comes to church growth I know of no secret techinques or magic programmes. But I do know this: That if I preach the cross God will form the church.



    One last thing to clear up with you Steve:
    I don't think I have been remiss in critiquing the Mars Hill idea on this forum without offering my ideas, even though your posts (74 & 96)imply otherwise.
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    May 1, 09 - 3:58am
    Hi again,
    Do you know why QUT is going virtual with its lectures in some courses - to avoid discipline issues and confrontation - students are seen as clients and we have to treat them well. So we go virtual. The human element is delegated to a host of tutors... How long before people at church will call out during a sermon or play computer games - its coming. I have students who will come into my office and ask if it is OK to look over my shoulder while I work on the computer! If we take their mobile phones off them during the lecture they threaten us with stealing. Such is social change...
    Options - we go the entertainment /performance route; we try to built bridges and connect; we try to start where they are at and have fun activities to lead them into understanding; we use jokes, cartoons, rock music; we get guest speakers (few want to return) - I suspect we have all tried these.
    What room exists to negotiate with MH regarding their proposals?
    If they pass over Sydney, is Brisbane next? Brisbane has no capacity to respond and will wear the damage. So, Sydney's thinking this through this is important. As Steve said keep the ideas rolling.
  • Jeff Atack
    May 1, 09 - 4:19am
    Tim Keller gave a helpful talk on idolatory at the recent Gospel Coalition conference. One element he touched on under the umbrella of ministry was preaching being turned into an idol.

    Is it possible, aside from all the issues mentioned already, that part of the reaction against an "outside" person preaching via video is that preaching has been made into an idol; that the ministers sense of worth and achievement have become too wrapped up in their role as preacher, and the prospect of someone else coming in rocks the idol too much.

    I am saying this as a (very) part time preacher myself, but it did strike a chord when Keller said it.
  • Dianne Howard
    May 1, 09 - 4:20am
    Christopher

    Slightly off topic question.
    How do you find literacy skills these days amongst young adults?

    Thanks Di
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    May 1, 09 - 4:29am
    Di,
    Please don't start me on that. IN SHORT HOPELESS.
    This year we have to teach them how to write an email, how to think clearly and logically....and this is with people with an English background!
    Following email to Professor - just a sample:
    HEy
    THNKX!!!
    ummm da other meeting 2moz is wif 'Mary' agin isnt??
    i dunno if my info waz eny help 'Sam' seemed 2 not lyke it dat i waz tryin 2 help:(
    i dunno y??
    should i bring enyfing else 2 da meeting 2moz????
    cyaz
  • Steve Kryger
    May 1, 09 - 4:30am
    Hi Joshua, thanks for sharing those reflections on things to be mindful of in ministry.

    When I was suggesting that we keep the ideas coming, I wasn't directing this at you, but rather to all of us - I'm just keen to move beyond critique, and keep sharing ideas for what we can do and should be doing instead. I agree with Michael that we need to critique (and I think we've done this fairly comprehensively), but I also agree with Ian - 300 new Christians is not many. There's lots of scope for us to be creative in sharing the gospel, and I'm sure with all of our heads put together we can move beyond critiquing, and onto idea generation.

    I'm sorry if my comment looked like a personal attack - I certainly didn't mean it to be.
  • David McKay
    May 1, 09 - 4:34am
    Dianne, I think Joshua has answered this somewhat. It's Semper Reformanda, Josh, and the whole counsel of God. Will take "visitiation" as a typo.

    But I don't get your theological dissonance point, Josh. In the words of that great Oxley moron, please explain.
  • Dianne Howard
    May 1, 09 - 4:35am
    Too easy!

    That is my experience also. And I am talking about uni students. Interesting.

    Di
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 1, 09 - 4:41am
    Can I raise this again: if you don't agree with Driscoll's strategy (or with his content, as Joshua is suggesting), what are your ideas for how we can make Jesus known? What will work more effectively than Driscoll's strategy?

    Steve,
    I wonder if that might be a post for another day... 'Top 5 ideas for making Jesus known in Sydney in 2009'
    be nice to do that under a heading other than the one we are. It is important enough to do in its own right. I'm happy for that to be my post for next week. We'd also bring in other voices who may otherwise miss this, thinking there is just a long discussion on Driscoll & Mars Hill global.
    Don't want to be a wet blanket though... what do others think?
    I'm off to soccer coaching soon so may need to look in on this later...
  • Christopher Gordon Sandford
    May 1, 09 - 5:02am
    Michael,
    Great idea "let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works" making a relationship with Jesus known as a possibility is an excellent topic and the best thing we as Christians have going for us.
    I would like to see a thousand ideas generated in the week. Then to distill them to ones generically relevant for us. Remember is our goal is Global!
    Di,
    Yes they are Uni students! One task I have for next semester is to reply to emails from 1400 students - it will take about three hours per day!
    Chris
  • Joshua Bovis
    May 1, 09 - 5:19am
    David, Di,
    Many apologies for the typos - was pressed for time and did not check spelling. Painful hand excema also makes typing difficult. Being called a young adult - is 35 a young adult these days?

    Ministry dissonance - ones theology not matching ones practice (eg - Believing in Rom 1:16, that the Gospel is God's power to save, yet in practice using bait n switch methods to present people with the gospel. Sadly all too common within youth ministry.)

    Steve,
    Thankyou for clearing this up.

    Blessings one and all. Enjoy the weekend!
  • Dianne Howard
    May 1, 09 - 5:32am
    Joshua
    I didn't notice your typo! Just questioning Chris on his experiences with young adults and literacy.
    Sorry to hear about your hands.
    Di
  • Martin Kemp
    May 1, 09 - 5:40am
    I think comment #89 is one of the best responses to the whole MD phenomenon I've heard in months. Surely in a city the size of Sydney we can find 5 guys of our own who can pull off what MD has done. The issue is that they haven't been given the encouragement to do so (which was the thrust of MD's critique of us last year). I think that planting a MH church plant here is not a solution. The solution has already been given and enacted: permission for guys who can pull it off to have a go. I know of two guys who have planted churches since MD's visit last year who I reckon have what it takes. We'll see the results in 5 years.
  • David McKay
    May 1, 09 - 8:43am
    Joshua, my oldest son will be 35 this year and he's still young. Why he only became a father 5 months ago! [But his dad was a dad at 22, so I'm not old, either...]
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 1, 09 - 12:31pm
    In my mind it is crazy to get Mark D back to help launch an Australian Church planting network. Sure- he is used by God. But so are many other Australian pastors who are (to put it bluntly) gifted bible expositors and preachers, with a more rounded faithfulness and more... Australian. Also- there are more than one National Australian Church Planting network being launched... and one which is evolving and gaining ground has nothing to do with Acts 29 and does not seek its blessing in any way shape or form- but is willing to work with all Bible based Christ Focussed church planters. It is still finding a name- but it will not have 29 in it.

    Conference in Sydney in June 25-26 will help all the networks. Be there.
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 1, 09 - 12:57pm
    Elsewhere on this website there is a stimulating discussion on so called deliverance ministries. One reason I am concerned about Mark Driscoll being involved in any church plant networking in this nation is his very strong push of demonology deliverance along the lines that Peter Bolt warns has no biblical basis. The other reason is he really is on about His movement. He is very fond about saying he is not a Guru. (Methinks he protests too much...).

    He says stuff I agree with,(like lots of Australian Reformed Evangelicals) and he says it well.We want to like him because he claims to represents a reformed brand of evangelicalism that seems to be so effective. But I am convinced we will not actually grapple with how to grow the Kingdom if we defer to what he does without robust discussion- so thanks Michael for helping that happen.

    Along with that, I want to say Mark's strategy probably will work as it has in Seattle... and is really already here with the thousands who watch his productions or portions of them (edited and produced by a band of highly skilled and wonderfully creative technicians). That is not really the point. He will produce more franchises in his new global denomination. The point is- will we invite him in to do that? I for one will not. Not because it is ineffective in it's own terms, but because I question it's theological and ecclesiological basis.
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 1, 09 - 1:25pm
    Martin
    thanks for comments.
    I probably should have mentioned the June 25-26 conference before. Could you possibly fill out your comment #111 to explain (for newbies) what the other network is you are talking about - some may be confused. Is there someone to go (other than the conference - online?) to find out more. Is there a link to conference you can give?
    Also, are you able to say anything about what relationship will be with Oz 29?
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 1, 09 - 1:45pm
    He will produce more franchises in his new global denomination. The point is- will we invite him in to do that? I for one will not. Not because it is ineffective in it's own terms, but because I question it's theological and ecclesiological basis.


    Martin
    are you able to give us a summary of your concerns? So far I've got:
    1. demonology
    2. 'guru' syndrome
    3. a wrong/different 'theological and ecclesiological' basis of ministry???

    You're not alone in putting these concerns, and I agree with your call to graciously and robustly consider them.

    I take it these concerns are sufficiently serious to put him outside the Bible based, Christ focused church planters you are willing to work with. Is that fair? Do I have to share this view of Driscoll's ministry to be part of the new network or will there be room to differ on that? I guess I'm asking how much of this is your view, and how much you're speaking as one of the leaders for the church planting network.
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 1, 09 - 1:48pm
    www.moore.edu.au/register

    is where to go to register for this conference. It actually is one of the biggest collections of evangelical reformed church-planters in Australia for a long time. It will mesh real Theological questions with real coal face issues and allow for lots of interesting discussion and interaction.

    This conference includes people who represent the two new networks being talked about at the moment. Firstly, those who have been to Seattle and checked out Acts 29 and chatted with Driscoll about an Australian version- (although they may not call it Oz29 either- I hope they don't!) they launched these ideas in Feb 2009... people like Andrew Heard, of Central Coast Evangelical.
    The second group are who are eager about a National Australian Church planting network that is less keen about linking in with the globalisation of Mars Hill, that will promote resource sharing, theological and practical discussion around church planting and also conferences like this one. Both these evolving networks will be discussed (and no doubt debated) at the conference.

    Is that o k Michael?
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 1, 09 - 1:52pm
    Thanks Martin

    I'll try & make the link pretty but I'm hopeless on these things...

    Church Planting Conference
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 1, 09 - 2:03pm
    Answering 114.
    Oh these are just my thoughts. (shared with some- and I am hoping to actively persuade others!)
    We already have people who are much more eager about Mark and Acts 29 than I am in our (proto)network. (and I have to say, there are many things about Mark Driscoll that I like too! One strong reason for not going down the Acts 29 Australia approach is that it shows yet again the lack of real risk-taking leadership in Australian Evangelicalism... which was one of Mark's critical insights.) And I think you will find that some of the Australians who went to Seattle to check it out are less eager now to merely have the Australian franchise (ala comment #89). So at that point I am not alone.

    I think Mark is Christian. I think he is a gifted and able pastor and communicator. (albeit with some serious doubts about some of his more questionable views).

    I just don't think we need or will be benefitted by him becoming a lynch-pin in forming an Australian national network to encourage and promote the multiplication of truly effective Australian congregations across different denominations or non-denominations that grow the kingdom of God. He is wanting to globalise Mars Hill. I will not buy into that.

    Why? We don't need to. I believe we will regret it if we do.
  • Pete Sholl
    May 1, 09 - 8:31pm
    Hi Michael

    The latest 9Marks e-journal is on multi-site churches. Might have some interesting insights. I haven't read it yet but a brief look at some of the issues raised looks good.

    Pete
  • Dianne Howard
    May 2, 09 - 1:30am
    Martin, thanks for all that you have said and especially for expressing your theological concerns:

    ‘Not because it is ineffective in it's own terms, but because I question it's theological and ecclesiological basis.’ (Martin)

    Di
  • Shane Rogerson
    May 2, 09 - 3:09am
    it might be helpful to understand how Driscoll himself works with other.
    he is documented pretty extensively as talking about 4 keys areas.

    1. theologically - do we have the same reformed soteriology.
    2. missionally - do we have the same philosophy of ministry
    3. structurally - do we want to organize ourselves along similar lines
    4. relationally- do we get on and like each other.

    correct me if I misrepresent him but I think that is important in any critique.

    1. theological Driscoll has a clearly reformed view of how God saves. he is even very 'sydney' in his view of 'unlimited limited atonement' aka amyraldianism (look it up).
    re the operation of the Holy Spirit today he is a continuationist (i.e the gifts of the spirit have not ceased and continue to operate today). this also is not uncommon in Sydney though most are so cautious in their continuationism that they are functionally cessationist. his demonology is one of the peculiar out-workings of this but it is definitely not central to his theological framework.

    2. missionally this is where the biggest sticking point seems to be for many - we love his willingness to contextualize and be culturally savvy, but some see the multisite multinational campus thing as strangely at odds with this. Michael is essentially saying wrong philosophy of mission. I agree.

    3. next post
  • Shane Rogerson
    May 2, 09 - 3:16am
    3. organisationally Acts 29 have already agreed with the Australians who went there not to branch into Australia but rather partner with and repsect an indigenous movement. they have until November to get their buts into gear I imagine. if nothing has happened by them then i imagine all bets are off. A29 will advance. thankfully there is stuff happening. I like the idea of oz 29 and am not so worried that we might have things to learn from America, whilst maintaining it as a local led and bred movement.

    4. relationally - there are some who love and some who loathe him - and its just a stylistic thing. his previous reputation for language often falls into this category but as someone who has watched him for years, he is not the man he used to be.
    If you don't like the cut of his jib, thats fine - but try not to assassinate his character in sanctimonious theologizing which is really just slander. some people just don't get on and the danger is to over theologise the relatively minor differences they have because they tend to be people who like the world of stars wars where there was clear cut goodies and baddies.

    Ian Powell rightly reminds us that we're all wearing blackhats in this spaghetti western!
    hope that helps
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 2, 09 - 7:16am
    Actually Shane- that does help in that it is a neat kind of summary of the kind of decisions we all make when working with others. I think you are overplaying the similarity between him and us (which it seems you mean Sydney Anglican). Yes there are some significant similarities and points of resonance (which accounts for his popularity in Sydney). He is stridently about growth and mission, he uses some of the same words as us: Reformed, Biblical, Christ Focussed etc...

    I have listened to Mark and read a heap of what he has written- I like a lot of it. I have watched him via the internet. I think he is gifted. I like a lot of his his stylistics. I have talked with Mark ever so briefly in Sydney last year. I liked him. I have very carefully not slandered him- I just disagree with Him on a few fairly basic points, and want to convince others to look before they leap.

    We have learnt from Mark. Thank you God. He wants to grow Mars Hill aggressively and internationally. I want to grow the church, and like the idea of local leaders and church planters making the call on what their local church will look like. Acts 29 will offer all sorts of gifts and resources. We need to listen to what they say- and evaluate it.

    But do we actually want all the other stuff that will come with the nice wooden horse?
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 2, 09 - 7:28am
    Thanks Dianne.
    We have to be careful when we lampoon our own but feel bad about having theological questions about what attracts us.
  • Dianne Howard
    May 2, 09 - 7:51am
    Hi Martin, can you explain in a bit more detail what you are meaning in the above post.
    cheers Di
    (it sounds like I was lampooning someone!!)
  • Shane Rogerson
    May 2, 09 - 7:57am
    well I guess we have to trust that people will be discerning, and teach them to be discerning.

    it strikes me that there are tonnes of examples of heros in the reformed Anglican faith whom we laud and recommend - but that doesn;t mean we into everything they say.
    the classic example is Richard Baxter - every one in my year was given a copy of reform pastor when I was in first year - yet I understand he ended his ministry as a unitarian! that doesn't mean I can;t learn from his pastoral practices though I need to be thoughtful and not sycophantic.
    the same could be said of all our own great pedagogues.
    the fruit isn't always immediately evident, but I am prepared to see it bud a little before we prune.
  • David McKay
    May 2, 09 - 8:24am
    Shane, could please cite a source for your comment that Baxter ended his days as a Unitarian? I have never previously read this. Are you sure?

    Please enlighten us.
  • Gordon Cheng
    May 2, 09 - 11:03am
    yet I understand he ended his ministry as a unitarian


    I doubt it.

    Here's a description of Baxter's ministry by Baxter himself:

    The thing which I daily opened to them, and with greatest importunity laboured to imprint upon their minds, was the great fundamental principles of Christianity contained in their baptismal covenant, even a right knowledge, and belief of and subjection and love to, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost...


    [bold mine].

    That's as quoted by Jim Packer in his Introduction to the Reformed Pastor. It's thoroughly Trinitarian in character. If Baxter had renounced this view, I imagine Jim Packer would have mentioned it.
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 2, 09 - 11:07am
    Packer, does talk (somewhere?) about the irony that Baxter's church building in Kidderminster is now a unitarian meeting hall.

    Even if Shane is wrong with the example, (lets hope he is) the point stands
  • Gordon Cheng
    May 2, 09 - 11:15am
    Michael, the same Packer intro says:

    In theology, for instance, [Baxter] devised an eclectic middle route between the Reformed, Arminian and Roman doctrines of grace: interpreting the kingdom of God in terms of contemporary political ideas, he explained Christ's death as an act of universal redemption (penal and vicarious, but not substitutionary), in virtue of which God has made a new law offering pardon and amnesty to the penitent.


    Which is confused but not unitarian.
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 2, 09 - 11:22am
    Shane's comments @ 120 & 121 nail for me what are the important things for us to consider in figuring out nature of relationship between Sydney Anglicans and Mark Driscoll.

    This post started as a comment about one aspect of their global mission strategy - videocasting Mark's preaching to campus churches. The comments rightly put that issue in a broader context about how we assess Mark's ministry. Given that, can I say I really regret the heading 'Driscoll promotes wrong strategy'? The things Shane points us too show that for me this should be a difference between friends about the best way to do ministry in Australia. I think given the time and energy Driscoll gave to us here, and the energy that has given to lots of the next generation - it would look really churlish if the big message they got back was - 'we don't trust you, we think your strategy stinks'. In as much as I've contributed to that I'm sorry.

    It's right that we graciously and carefully work through these 4 areas as we think about how we work or don't work together. It will also be important to wait and see what Oz 29 (& yes, that is just a working title) come up with in terms of their leadership & nature of relationship with Acts 29 & MD. Personally, I don't mind a little competition when it comes to people trying to out-do each other to reach unchurched Australia.
  • Shane Rogerson
    May 2, 09 - 11:38am
    just to finish off Baxter see The reformed Paster p.9-10
    Gordon I suggest you read down another 10 lines.

    an insightful quote by J I Packer. somewhat of an expert on the Puritans.

    "Baxter was a big man big enough to have big faults and make big errors......Baxterianism ...altered the content of the Puritan Gospel.... Time proved them right; the fruit of the seeds which Baxter sowed was neonomian Moderatism in Scotland and moralistic Unitarianism in England."

    see also "among God's Giants" p.159
    "BAxter was a great and saintly man; as pastor evangelist, amnd devotional writer, no praose for him can be too high: but asa theologian he was, though brilliant, something of a disaster...."

    his political method showed all the seeds of moralism, Arianism, legalism, liberalsim.
    it reaped a bitter crop....and yes today Kidderminster is unitarian.

    yet reformed pastor is indeed a classic.

    the point is: time will tell, and sometimes you won't know until the fruit shows later.
    And just because the part is bad, it doesn't mean the whole is useless. And slippery slope arguments can themselves be quite slippery at times.
  • Craig Schwarze
    May 2, 09 - 12:09pm
    But do we actually want all the other stuff that will come with the nice wooden horse?


    What are the "negatives" you perceive Martin? You've expressed concerns about his demonology, but your tone seems far more disapproving than this (fairly minor) difference would justify.
  • Craig Schwarze
    May 2, 09 - 12:11pm
    In theology, for instance, [Baxter] devised an eclectic middle route between the Reformed, Arminian and Roman doctrines of grace...


    I'll point out the obvious - we are clearly *far* more in tune theologically with Driscoll than Baxter...
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 2, 09 - 12:29pm
    To Dianne- no I was not talking about you at all. Sorry about the ambiguity. I was trying to say that in these kinds of discussions we can come across as very harsh on people we know here in Australia who are doing a great Job (lampooning)- but fall over ourselves repeating the great insights of people/movements/denominations we are attracted to from US. I'm sad about that. But not about your posts.
    This is very dangerous. And yes- I do think it is more than a minor difference we (or perhaps it is just I?) have with my brother Mark Driscoll. I don't want to write him off- but I am not eager to commit hagiography either. Let's by all means learn from him. This was a good question raised by Michael in the opening article. I vote "no".
  • Gordon Cheng
    May 2, 09 - 12:31pm
    just to finish off Baxter see The reformed Paster p.9-10
    Gordon I suggest you read down another 10 lines.


    I did! If that's your source, then Baxter was not unitarian.
  • David McKay
    May 2, 09 - 1:29pm
    I've got mixed feelings about blaming someone for what their disciples did with their message. We can't blame Jesus for the mess we have made of his church, but on the other hand, those who have introduced doubt about one part of God's Word have created a monster, and surely should be called to account for what they started.

    It does seem that the promoters of church growth, for example, have often gone further than McGavran, Hybels and Warren would have wanted to go. Does this mean that what the disciples have created can be laid at the feet of the original folk with seemingly noble motives?

    Were there seeds of Unitarianism in Baxter's theology, or was its heterodox composition to blame for what others made of it?
  • Brian Tung
    May 2, 09 - 1:54pm
    Does anyone else see the parallel between 2009 and 1959?
  • Shane Rogerson
    May 2, 09 - 2:00pm
    the point is Baxter was and or went wacky in some way yet the fruit of that took ages to show - yet we still receive the good stuff he did as just that - good stuff. I recently reread reformed pastor and raved about it- as you would no doubt.

    yet if we argued along the lines of his moralistic neonomian trajectory ( ie he ends up saying you are saved by your own righteousness, a BIG no no I would have thought! ) - he wouldn't have been recommended for fear of a generation of Sydney Anglican elders being 'infected' with scholastic, moralistic Arianism.... but then again that accusation has been made somewhere I am sure.
    exactly Brian
    Driscoll is fundamentally on the same team - just look at his soteriology ( ie how God saves) - to say otherwise is just plain ungracious and ungenerous - but the exact fruits of his theology, philosophy of ministry etc are yet to be discerned.
    good on Michael for wanting to critically evaluate where this thing heads.
    my guess is its his ministry philosophy and personal style that bring most unstuck.

    BTW who knows where he will be in 10 years considering what he was saying in '99 ... I reckon he's humbly repented of a lot more views than I have in that time - & to me it mostly seems to be heading in the right direction.

    I guess that's why I think it would be nice for latent theological kosher policeman in us all to cut him some slack, and generously evaluate our brothers ministry. we could do worse than his influence
  • Brian Tung
    May 2, 09 - 2:26pm
    If Driscoll is going to be the new Billy Graham, can anyone comment (intelligently) on his effect on post-Christian, post-literate, Green-voting, gay-loving, Wii-playing, Gen-Y pagan Australia. It's all very nice that a bunch of seasoned preaching connoisseurs thinks that the man is a red-hot evangelist to those unreachable to us, but the proof of the pudding...

    The quib about 1959 was also intended to take us in another direction - what if Sydney had decided to close all their churches and instead ran weekly Graham rallies or radio broadcast his sermons? Would we still have the Jensens, Woodhouse, Galea, Manchester etc etc?
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 3, 09 - 6:32am
    Brian
    Driscoll & Graham?
    some quick thoughts: there was certainly suspicion of Billy Graham in '59. Theologically you could say he was further from Sydney Anglicans then than Driscoll is to us today - the thought of bringing youth to hear a Baptist must have caused some concerns. Imagine how risky it must have looked then.

    Graham reached a city, and probably challenged a generation - Driscoll is reaching lots of the generation already inside church - so as you say - he may not be the evangelist to unchurched Australians


    Both used new technology - radio & internet before anyone heard them live.

    what if Sydney had decided to close all their churches and instead ran weekly Graham rallies or radio broadcast his sermons?

    Closing churches is not what is being proposed by Mars Hill Global plan. They want:
    1. existing churches to continue (good)
    2. new independent churches to be planted (also great - bring more on)
    3. and new videocast campuses (I think, not so good)

    Would we still have the Jensens, Woodhouse, Galea, Manchester etc etc?

    Not only them, but also the hundreds of names you've never heard of who served faithfully for a lifetime. Is the next generation really just there to press 'play' for the Driscoll DVD?
  • Gordon Cheng
    May 3, 09 - 9:18am
    I guess that's why I think it would be nice for latent theological kosher policeman in us all to cut him some slack, and generously evaluate our brothers ministry.


    Exactly! Which is why this may be a good moment to either substantiate or correct the statement that Richard Baxter

    ended his ministry as a unitarian.


    It seems fairly clear that he didn't, and an important part of theological generosity in Baxter's case will mean being accurate about what he actually believed.
  • Gordon Cheng
    May 3, 09 - 10:25am
    Also, on the main topic, Driscoll's approach may be mistaken in this instance, but he is generally a solid gospel preacher. Putting him up on a video most weeks may be a little like having a woman preacher; theologically and biblically questionable but a darn sight better than a live preacher preaching heresy.
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 3, 09 - 11:16am
    Putting him up on a video most weeks may be a little like having a woman preacher;

    Can everyone please resist the temptation to swallow my dear friend Gordon's bait... you'll only encourage him. Far too important a topic to go to now.
  • Simon Rose
    May 3, 09 - 4:04pm
    Mark posted an article recently that his sermons will be translated into other languages. I think this would be a great benefit for worldwide missions, as some overseas missionaries could spend five days in the community talking about God rather than 2-3 days because they would not be stuck at home writing a talk themselves. It would allow 'conversational' preachers / missionaries to go further in their efforts and not have to worry about the lack of a 'pulpit' preacher. And when it comes to worldwide missions, this is definitely a benefit to seize because of such a lack of people hearing about God.

    And will Mark's talks strike people from other countries and cultures, I don't know, but I think it's definitely worth a shot given what benefits could be had.

    I don't think Mars Hill Church has grown all the thanks to 'transfers' from other Seattle churches, they are quite unique in that they had many many baptisms recently at their Easter service for instance.
  • Simon Rose
    May 3, 09 - 4:11pm
    Is the strategy too dependent on Mark? I think God is using him to bring many people to Christ, and so for this reason I reckon maximise the use of his preaching as it seems they are doing with the video plays at other campuses. I think the Acts 29 Network is doing many wonderful things to be learnt from, that don't hang on Mark alone, and I'm sure he wouldn't want it that way.
  • Phil Markham
    May 3, 09 - 5:14pm
    Fellow SydAngs, I'm a first time commenter and to be honest this kind of discussion upsets me. I wanted to support Ian Powell's comments.

    my main concern was not whether MD has a good or bad strategy, my fear is for US. So blessed and so pathetic and so critical of other brothers who are desperately trying to honour Jesus and reach the perishing.


    The deeper issue here - our critical nature - must be confronted and repented of. Ian speaks the truth.

    On this particular issue? The man can preach like no one I've heard and points Christians and non-Christians alike to Jesus at every chance he gets. I say rig up the big screen and see what happens.
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    May 3, 09 - 10:46pm
    Fellow SydAngs, I'm a first time commenter...


    Welcome Phil

    BTW - can we give the Baxter issue a rest. It seems off topic to me.
  • Brian Tung
    May 3, 09 - 11:48pm
    LOL Driscoll is to Syd Ang Woes is Obama is to the GFC/Climate Change/Western Democracy

    I agree with Michael re the comparison between Driscoll and Graham. That's partly my point. Graham was a lot further away theologically to Sydney than Driscoll is in their soteriology.

    Don't want to be reactionary or self-righteous out of fear or whatever. But for those with eyes to see, they should consider the warnings of Iain Murray in Evangelicalism Divided. The greatest enemy to evangelism is evangelism.
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 4, 09 - 12:17am
    Brian - not sure I understand your last line?
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 4, 09 - 12:29am
    Fellow SydAngs, I'm a first time commenter and to be honest this kind of discussion upsets me. I wanted to support Ian Powell's comments.


    Phil, welcome. Great to have you pitching in.
    Discussions like this only benefit from having spoken what would otherwise be silent concerns.

    What is being proposed (at least viz a viz the videocast campuses) is a pretty radical departure from how church has been done. Some may say 'good - we need to try anything' but I think we have a responsibility to think carefully about it. We need to be 'critical' in the very best sense of that word.

    As Ian points out, and others have affirmed, we musn't be self righteous and arrogant in that, and need to keep an eye on our own failings and the needs of the lost. If you or others reckon the comments are self righteous and arrogant then please pitch in to 'name and shame'.
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 4, 09 - 2:37am
    To Craig # 132.
    Yes- you are right to note that I think there are some negatives beyond the differences in the way we talk about Demonology and define Church. (Although your summarising these differences as "minor" is itself something that I think discourages frank and open theological thinking. Why are they minor? He certainly doesn't present his teaching on this (for example Christus Victor) as a minor point. It has some massive implications for how we respond to all sorts of practical ministry situations- not to mention our methodology in praying with and for those who feel spiritually oppressed.

    The other negatives: I think the Mars Hill (denomination) wants to grow its influence. They are pretty honest and open about that- but why would we want them to grow their denomination here? I think we can and will learn from this denomination in Australia. We are right to feel cautioned and see creative ways of reaching the people in our nation, and using ideas they have successfully used. (Actually this is the real benefit of this kind of cross-pollination). But to roll over and give Mars Hill a carte blanche is unwise and abrogating our responsibility to do church planting and mission in our nation ourselves...

    The reason Mars Hill is interested in Sydney and Melbourne is that they've seen the real interest from us (evangelicals) in what they're doing. And we are interested, but let's feel free to notice and name weaknesses in them as they certainly have in us!
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 4, 09 - 7:15am
    .
    why would we want them to grow their denomination here?


    If they can grow with gospel growth then why wouldn't we want them to grow? Shouldn't we rejoice at it?

    I don't have a problem with Mars Hill having big hairy global plans that include Sydney or its influence growing. I wish we were as audacious. I also think they're genuine in wanting Jesus' fame to grow rather than their own.

    I don't think its right to suggest Oz 29 is a Mars Hill denomination. How the relationship with Acts 29 & Mars Hill is to work out is yet to be spelt out. There is supposed to be a genuine concern for it being Australian and local.

    While there is room for more denominations in Australia my guess is that they'll want a looser affiliation/network/influence/friendship than a denomination. If that is the case then you may be able to have new church plants that are Anglican AND Oz 29. We'll need to wait and see.

    I think the independent Acts 29 styled plants (see my original post) are going to be the more significant part of the global plans - much more important than videocast campuses.
  • Howard Robert Petts
    May 4, 09 - 9:22am
    I too wanted to support Ian's comments. As you are paid clergyman I really respect your courage in speaking honestly in support of Mark's global initiative. You're right - we're in a battle and we need as much support as we can get.

    I live in a regional area, and my wife and I enjoy listening to Mark's sermons and they've been a great support in difficult times - times when the preaching of our local church has been patchy. This idea of Mark's may actually be more powerful for regional/remote areas than the city, as it is hard to attract good solid preachers. As an example, our local Anglican church has three positions vacant - none of which have been filled for the last 18 months...

    I also struggle with why it's so wrong to watch someone preach on a screen? Only last weekend I heard a sermon on Ecclesiastes preached at our local church, two thirds of which was lifted from a Katoomba Easter Convention sermon on the same book - why not just watch the KEC version on screen?
  • Brian Tung
    May 4, 09 - 12:19pm
    “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
    I agree with Ian, the problem is indeed US.
  • Lachlan Payne
    May 4, 09 - 1:08pm
    As someone who grew up in the Sydney Anglican system, now living in the USA and working at an Acts 29 Church, my heart breaks for the lost in Sydney, as those charged with reaching out to them with the gospel spend their time fighting amongst themselves about secondary issues instead.

    I thank God for humble leaders like Ian Powell who are able to see beyond their own failings and limitations, and those of others, and I take heart that this argument and conjecture appears to be limited to a very small group, albeit a noisy one.

    Is it such a wonder that Moore College admissions are down with an advertisement for the system such as this one?
  • Brian Tung
    May 4, 09 - 1:31pm
    This is exactly what the lost of Sydney needs, smug condescension and to have it done in their name.
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 4, 09 - 9:29pm
    Brian & Lachlan,
    I'm new at this moderation caper but I feel a bit like the Dad looking over the back seat, thinking he may need to tell the boys to be kind to each other or we'll all have to pull over and stop;-)

    Brian - I don't think those wanting a Mars Hill campus are like sinful Israel rejecting God as their king and running after worldy ways? - I'm guessing you wouldn't be saying that -right? Just warning us of the danger of chasing after a quick fix-all?

    Lachlan - thanks for contribution. Good to hear from someone bridging here & U.S. Yes, what we're talking about is secondary, but secondary is important too. If we only talked about secondary issues we'd never get to the gospel. If we never talked about secondary issues we'd never see the gospel applied to church ministry & practice. So secondary issues have their place, and this isn't a trivial one - how should lead preaching be done at a plant? What we're talking about here is how we do ministry in a contextually appropriate way - does the campus model work against Acts 29 own model of being missional and contextually appropriate? Whether you train at Moore or somewhere else, future church planters will have to work these kind of issues out - are they happy to plant a church where the lead preacher is being videocast in?
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 4, 09 - 9:43pm
    As an example, our local Anglican church has three positions vacant - none of which have been filled for the last 18 months...

    I also struggle with why it's so wrong to watch someone preach on a screen? Only last weekend I heard a sermon on Ecclesiastes preached at our local church, two thirds of which was lifted from a Katoomba Easter Convention sermon on the same book - why not just watch the KEC version on screen?


    Howard, thanks for contribution
    I don't think its wrong to watch someone on the screen & clearly Mark (& others) have served Jesus brilliantly in teaching people who may struggle to find good teaching themselves.
    I'd say there is a difference between using videocast when you can't get a local preacher and planning not to have a local preacher because you can get videocast.
    And you remind us again of the need for Sydney to send people to the bush.
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 4, 09 - 9:44pm
    Howard, Lachlan.
    Let me assure you that I am not poring over this discussion all my waking hours! I am doing my best in winning the lost of (my part) of Sydney- and trying to encourage a godly and god-honoring praxis when it comes to church multiplication. I am following up about 72 people who have recently decided to become a part of church-life (and Jesus too sometimes). I',m pretty sure many of the other people who have posted here have similar stories in the background.

    I can really understand why you may say that kind of thing. It may look like the above is all just empty words... and that is something we want to avoid. I'm not upset or angry with any of the others in this discussion- even if I disagree with them- precisely because we are talking about whether things are central or peripheral. I am very happy to thrash around ideas and responses to come to a good understanding of the best strategy here. As Michael says above.
  • Craig Schwarze
    May 4, 09 - 9:49pm
    I am following up about 72 people who have recently decided to become a part of church-life (and Jesus too sometimes). I',m pretty sure many of the other people who have posted here have similar stories in the background.

    I wish we were all following up 72 new church-goers!

    And thats where the rubber will hit the road with Mars Hill Sydney. If they come here and win souls for Christ, I will praise God for them. If they come and do nothing - I guess I will shrug and ignore them.
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 5, 09 - 12:16am
    For another American take on this look herewhere there is response to the newest Mars Hill campus at Albuquerque.
  • Phil Nicholson
    May 5, 09 - 1:12am
    I may be a bit slow, but it has just dawned on me that much of the disagreement expressed here is not about the specific strategy being proposed by MH, it is about whether strategy per se is important or not.

    Some see that it is important to preach the gospel and strategy is a non-issue. Good or bad, just preach!

    However, others (myself included) see strategy as important - secondary, but still important. Strategy also reflects our theology of ministry, although not always in obvious ways. So a poor strategy coupled with a true gospel will bear fruit but will also lead to unforeseen problems. My concern is not that the MH campus model will not bear fruit. But rather that if it is a bad strategy (i.e. built on a weak theology of ministry) it will have long term negative consequences and in the long run may hinder the gospel.

    We all want the gospel preached, the discussion is about the best way for this to happen.
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 5, 09 - 1:36am
    Yes!
  • Ian Powell
    May 5, 09 - 6:17am
    Hey Phil N - I am not sure if the way you've articulated it is quite right. I doubt anyone cares nothing for strategy. When Whitefiled took the gosple out of the chruches into the fields many good evangelical men mounted intelligent critiques about the down sides and dangers of reaching those who didn;lt come to church in this manner. Thank God he ignored their counsel although it did hurt his heart. The abandonment of the prayer book and church buildings for chruch was considered by many a serious error and led to Bunyan in prison.
    We have this new technology - no one is compelled to use it, some might like to try it and it might be ideal in some situations with some gift mixes of varnious teams.
    A semi-theological critique may frighten some from considering it. Whatever our strategy is, its harldy seems to be worrying the devil much - he's not losing many of his slaves through us. This is what worries me - Strategy matters - but we still need to walk with real humility and grace towards His servants not in our tiny tribe.
    ian P
  • Phil Nicholson
    May 5, 09 - 7:22am
    Hi Ian,

    I think we do differ somewhat on what is good strategy and on the overall importance of strategy. However, I fully concur with your desire that we desperately need to be doing more and better evangelism than is currently happening. I am actually very excited to see the way things are being shaken up at the moment. Phil
  • Martin Paul Morgan
    May 5, 09 - 7:47am
    To Ian,
    I agree with your sentiment. But what does walking with humility and grace look like in practice? Surely it does not mean not asking questions. There can be a strategic model we are attracted to, but have real questions about. To aask them is not the same as slam-dunking the people who came up with the strategy or who promote it (although that can happen too).
  • Ian Powell
    May 5, 09 - 8:10am
    Hi Martin - You are dead right that we must not become gullible, there are false teachers about, we must question. But "your great strength is your great weakness" and our concern for truth is only a step or two away form being narrow, harsh and sectarian. It seems so long ago that I read some, some of the earliest postings and some of them seemed to be to be overly dismissive of MD, questioning intent, seeming to make out huge differneces between us and him and our aussie culture and seattles - forgetting that a significant part of the real glory and power of evangelicalism is that we knew to overlook all sorts of differences about church order, sacraments, end time speculations, etc to seek and save the lost and to transform the culture (Baptists, Pressies, Anglcians, Independents, Uniting, sallies (with no sacraments and women leaders for 100+ years)etc etc. There is a generousity of spirit that marks classical evangelicalism that seems (in my not so humble opinion perhaps) to be lacking in some Sydney evangelicalism. So it is the spirit that breathes in the way we ask questions and how we speak of brothers like MD. I confess to fearing that when he dared to critique us, (with I thought great gentleness and kindness) ...US we who are Mr/Ms. Valiant for Truth he was going to get slowly diminished in our conversation after he had gone home. Shame. I have broadened foolishly into other topics. I must go to box at (probably) our most Connected parish
  • Brian Tung
    May 5, 09 - 8:41am
    Michael, thank you for being ever so gentle as a dad.
    And yes, a warning. Not saying anyone is evil or question anyone's motives (although motives, sincerity and zeal seems to carry a lot of weight nowadays). But please forgive me for being ever so cynical about silver bullets.
    I was going to a blah about the vodcat strategy and how it could be obscure the perspicuity of scripture and the theologia crucis; and it could perpetuate the ever increasing and unhealthy tendency of SyAngs to over-rely on the inspired preacher rather than the inspired preached Word, and the other every increasing tendency to prize innovation ('what we need is entrepreneurs') over faithfulness. But I'm a bit scared.
    For if I were to critique initiatives on theological basis, it might stop people from trying new things (although it seems that there would be some methods and strategies for the Gospel that the Devil would rejoice over if we were to adopt them - 2 Cor 4). I can't do it on pragmatic grounds because no one knows whether it'll work. So what I'm left with is - we should jump headlong into all ideas under the heading 'Gospel initiative' for otherwise I am being unloving towards the lost or being arrogant.
    BTW personally I'm still agnostic about the vodcat strategy. But its advocates are certainly persuading me in a certain direction.
  • Howard Robert Petts
    May 5, 09 - 9:40am
    This is a little bit of thinking out loud - but I wonder if there is a little bit of resentment at the success that Mark is having... I was thinking about it, but Sydney diocese has been faithfully upholding gospel truths throughout a very difficult period of some 50 years or more, fighting off liberalism, the fundamentalist backlash, and the extremes of pentacostalism. Isolated in a sea of false teaching, they weathered the storm whilst others overseas fell. Criticism was batted away, often because it wrong.. Our institutions (in our own minds) unassailable. But perhaps, over time, guarding our orthodoxy has become a source of pride. Most outsiders, even from our own camp theologically, are viewed with suspicion. Meanwhile in the US and Britain, reformed evangelicalism has grown and flourished under God's blessing, and in time God raises up Mark Driscoll (amongst others). He's incredibly gifted and his ministry is blessed beyond the wildest dreams of our own ministries...

    The biggest problem for us is he's not one of us. So we’re suspicious. But perhaps even more difficult for us is that theologically he is so much like us! How come he can have so much success in such a short time when many of us have laboured faithfully so hard, with so much opposition, for so long, with comparatively such little fruit? I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Mark plants a church in Sydney and Melbourne and they rapidly outgrow any of our own. What will be our response then?
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 5, 09 - 12:12pm
    I wonder if there is a little bit of resentment at the success that Mark is having.


    Howard, I think that's neither right nor helpful. Regarding Mark: he would be the last one to point to himself and the first to point to the work of the Spirit and God's kindness. No ministers have the churches they deserve. Regarding Sydney: its a bit of a caricature - we've often looked overseas to evangelical leaders.

    I speak as someone who loves Mark's ministry to Seattle and his influence here. But I also speak as someone who says on videocasting campuses his strategy is not the right one. I'd rather see 100 men raised up to plant here than 100 screens to pipe in Mark. This is where I hope Oz29 goes.
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 5, 09 - 12:33pm
    Have we said enough? Clearly not everything is resolved and there are ongoing conversations to have later about: pragmatics, how to speak graciously, how to think strategically, changing patterns of ministry, innovation and technology, campus churches and videocasting (to name but a few). Keep contributing to the discussions here at sydneyanglicans.net (especially first time posters & lurkers) and help shape those conversations. I'm wary though of this thread getting too long and going over the same ground.

    Tomorrow I'm picking up Steve's challenge (comment up there somewhere - 90ish?) for us to think of positive ministry ideas that can be done right here and now. Please pitch in there.

    While we've been speaking about campuses - Mars Hill has started one! (yes, I detect the irony). You can read about it at the Mars Hill blog - in Albuquerque a church of 3-400 people are becoming a Mars Hill campus.

    For a broader theological (but still very readable) take on multi-site church - with views for and against, have a look at the latest issue of 9 Marks ejournal - either from their website or [http://involve.9marks.org/site/DocServer/eJournal200963MayJune.pdf?docID=641]on pdf[/url].

    I don't want to kill the conversation completely - so if you think there is stuff you really need to say then comment away (especially when...
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 5, 09 - 12:35pm
    (word limit reached in previous post)

    ...we're so close to the record number of posts and there is obviously still interest in the topic)
  • Phil Nicholson
    May 5, 09 - 12:58pm
    Michael,

    I think we are running out of steam. However, one question we did touch on but is worth exploring more is: positively how can Australian churches make use of the resources/ideas/energy/personnel of Mars Hill or even of other church planting movements in other places?

    There has been the suggestion that some of the critique here is do to jealousy or fear. I don't believe that is true. So it would be good to state that if we don't want video screens, what do we want in order to see more Aussies reached.

    You mention raising up 100 men - what about working with MH or others to have them send 100 missionaries to work alongside locals to plant churches?
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 5, 09 - 1:08pm
    You mention raising up 100 men - what about working with MH or others to have them send 100 missionaries to work alongside locals to plant churches?


    Phil
    in the original post I said part of Mars Hill global plans is the planting of independent Acts 29 style churches. This is a great idea and will find expression here with Oz 29 launch in November in Melbourne. I suspect MH/Acts 29 will look to see locals raised up here rather than sending 100 Americans but some cross pollination is healthy. We'll have to wait and see.

    in the meantime Martin has mentioned another proto-network. The June church planting conference should be on the calendar.

    What can we do? most of all - pray. Ask the Lord of the harvest for more harvesters.
  • Dianne Howard
    May 5, 09 - 11:06pm
    I must say as we draw to a conclusion that this discussion drove me to reread an article from the Briefing ‘The Strategy of God’ (July/August 2008). It wisely distinguishes between the strategy of God and our tactics and the relationship between the two.

    Wonderfully refreshing to read after this conversation.


    PS there is a link to it. Could some kind, patient and able person teach me how to do links please!
    Di
  • Dianne Howard
    May 6, 09 - 12:09am
    The Strategy of God

    Wow! Thank you to the kind helper.
  • Gordon Cheng
    May 6, 09 - 1:14am
    Putting him up on a video most weeks may be a little like having a woman preacher;


    Can everyone please resist the temptation to swallow my dear friend Gordon's bait... you'll only encourage him. Far too important a topic to go to now.


    Sorry Mike, I know we Anglicans like to avoid controversy ;-)

    OK then, how about this analogy. Piping in Mark D to a waiting congregation may be a bit like having a baby in a humidicrib. Weird, unnatural, keeps the baby artificially apart from the natural affection and love of mum and dad, but hey, the baby's alive.

    Whereas putting the congregation under the teaching of a local heretic is like handing the sick baby over to the homeopaths.
  • Michael Kellahan
    May 6, 09 - 6:45am
    Sorry Mike, I know we Anglicans like to avoid controversy ;-)

    You're famous for this Gordon. If only you were a little more forthright in your opinion sometimes...
  • Phil Nicholson
    May 6, 09 - 8:57am
    It is a great article by Phillip Jensen on strategy. I think what we have been referring to here as strategy is what he would call tactics.

    He says,

    Tactical thinking is important and valuable, but secondary. Tactics sit under strategy, and support strategy.


    So the question would be whether the tactics under discussion here would be consistent with the biblical strategy that he summarises as: prayer, proclamation and people.
  • Steve Kryger
    May 8, 09 - 12:46am
    Michael has started another great discussion "small ideas, big impact".

    I'd love to see the most commented post on Sydney Anglicans being a post brainstorming ideas for impacting our communities (rather than critiquing a strategy).

    Our communities desperately need our combined efforts and best ideas to bring them the good news of Jesus.
  • Jeff Atack
    May 10, 09 - 10:30pm
    Interesting SMH article on Hillsongs latest "multi-campus" expansion...
    here
    I don't think they're using video preaching though..