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My aim in working through these episodes is to help folks think through the church they attend, the leadership culture of their church, and, potentially, identify things that might not be apparent. I will not provide a “Monday morning play-by-play” critique. I hope you will gain personal insight through this review as well as applications to your teachers and the church you attend.
Mike Cosper talked about the three stages of Mars Hill’s existence. The first two were great, but it was the third one that took them off message—the message of Christ.
These three acts can mirror any growth plan, e.g., personal sanctification, marriage, business venture. Of course, you want this last phase to be different from what happened to Mars Hill. Perhaps for your marriage, it could be impacting your children and grandchildren, generationally.
Afterward, Mike outlined the conception and infancy of the multi-site church campuses phenomenon, which began in Korea. Soon afterward, Mark Driscoll started making a case for speaking to hundreds of thousands of people, anticipating the message would live forever (archived) on the Internet.
Our ministry has several “cyber communities” where we take the practical message of Christ to the world. And in a similar way, you use the Internet to encourage others. When the motive is right, the means can be a fabulous opportunity to love God and others well.
But with every means of grace, there are always inherent problems because of fallenness. Thus, understanding the pros and cons is essential—as well as a plan for accountability so you can accentuate the pros while staying away from the cons.
Doing church differently always changes—from culture to culture and generation to generation. Change is okay as long as we never leave Christ, our first love. You must mature, change, and grow, whether personally or organizationally. Change is essential for everybody and every organization. If you don’t adapt to your times, you will become Blockbuster.
Changing methods while never changing the message is wisdom.
But if any change untethers you from the gospel, you will have an adverse impact on lives. Perhaps Mark Driscoll’s first love was Christ. Maybe it was the growth that stirred selfish ambitious cravings in his heart. Whether or not his love for Christ was genuine, I’m not sure, but there is no question he drifted from the gospel.
If you have not changed into a more mature person since coming to Christ, it is an indication that you may not know Jesus. If you have changed and your affection for Christ continues to deepen, you’re in a good place. Selfish ambition—in Driscoll’s case—is not the only reason we drift off-mission.
Many people wane in the faith due to the wear and tear of the fight; the wearing down of cross-carrying takes a toll on believers, which makes a case for churches with shepherds that know how to equip the saints.
These questions are essential. Mark drifted from Christ; it became about growing his brand. The way to measure your “growth in Christ” is by assessing how you love God and others practically. Do you build your life around what you want or are you about serving others more (Mark 10:45)?
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).