Acts 29 Network, a church planting ministry, was birthed by Mark Driscoll’s no nonsense, direct and intense style and vision. Driscoll, the founder and Teaching & Vision Pastor at Mars Hill Church, is known for an unvarnished and at times bombastic presentation of the Gospel. Millennial followers seeded the ranks of Acts 29, emulating and advocating Driscoll’s swagger and no-punches-pulled style of ministry.
I’ve listened to admirers and detractors debate Acts 29’s polarizing style and have tried to avoid either extreme. But now, as Acts 29 distances itself from its founder, for behavior, that while unfortunate, is not worthy of wrecking a ministry, I find myself in the strange position of defending Mark Driscoll.
We all make mistakes, yes, even pastors. (If my unfiltered comments from 14 years ago were aired, I’m sure the torches would be lit at my expense.) And while Mark has brought much of this on himself, fellow pastors should be the first to lovingly support rather than judge.
I’ve watched it my entire life as a preacher’s kid; I’ve seen the brother-on-brother violence. It looks like friends running from the scene of a hit and run. It is disappointing, especially given the high profile names atop the Acts 29 leader board.
Mark Driscoll will survive this and continue to contribute to the Kingdom, but in the wake, he will have discovered who his friends are and who was simply in his life to gain from his success.
Those that rail for his resignation are either caught in bitterness and unforgiveness or inflicted by self-righteous blindness. As I watch it unfold, I’m reminded that you without sin can cast the first stone and you reap what you sow, and that is why I say, “God bless you, Mark Driscoll. You are a man after God’s own heart! Finish well, my friend.”