Driscoll promotes wrong strategy
I am certain Mark Driscoll’s influence on Sydney Anglicans will only grow in 2009:
- he will return to Australia to speak in November/December
- the yet to be named Australian church planting network will be launched at this time
- Mars Hill church have launched a new website explaining their global plans (h/t Steve Kryger)
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:
- independent Acts 29 style church (so far so good)
- 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.