"Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.”
C. Peter Wagner
The Young Restless Reformed (YRR) Crowd is definitely living up to its name. Since last July Sovereign Grace Ministries has undergone incredible turmoil, which we have previously covered. Now the Acts 29 Network is experiencing tremendous restlessness which has resulted in Mark Driscoll making this shocking announcement earlier today:
"Acts 29 has grown rapidly, now totaling more than 400 churches in the U.S., as well as international church planting involvement. Since then, other qualified men have taken the reins of Acts 29 and run with the vision David and I had years ago.
Recently, I sensed that not all was well in Acts 29. As my concerns grew, I recently resumed the presidency of Acts 29 to work directly with our network captains, most influential pastors, and staff. It seemed to me that some of our relationships, board size and structure, communication, systems, and such were not as effective as we needed, which is to be expected to some degree in a large, complex, fast-growing entrepreneurial network such as ours.
Seeking wise counsel, I asked Darrin Patrick and Matt Chandler to fly to Seattle in order to meet with the executive elders of Mars Hill for a full day to decide a course of action. They graciously did so, and in our time together was a rich, true brotherhood, a renewed and deepened commitment to Acts 29, and a Spirit-lead unity.
Together, we decided, in light of all the complexity we’re facing, that the best thing for Acts 29 going forward would be for Matt Chandler to assume the presidency, move the network offices to Dallas, and select his Acts 29 staff.
In light of this, I want to sincerely thank the people of Mars Hill for investing millions of dollars over the years in Acts 29 and the people of The Village for being willing to house the Acts 29 headquarters.
As for myself, I want to humbly serve Jesus and his men in Acts 29 by doing whatever is best for them. Going forward, I will gladly remain on the Acts 29 Board supporting Matt, along with Darrin and whomever else Matt believes best fits the Board.
Mars Hill gladly stays in Acts 29 as well. I’ll be spending much of my time going forward serving all of Acts 29, pastoring at Mars Hill, helping the Resurgence, writing books, organizing preaching campaigns, and doing media interviews."
Here are our questions in response to Mark Driscoll's statement:
- What transpired in the Acts 29 Network several weeks ago that necessitated Driscoll resuming the presidency?
- Why did he use the term "complexity" to describe the problems they are currently facing?
- Why is Matt Chandler suddenly assuming the presidency of the Acts 29 Network?
- Why are the network offices being moved from Seattle to Dallas?
- Was the entire Acts 29 staff let go?
- Has Mars Hill really invested millions of dollars in Acts 29 over the years?
- What is really going on here?
MORE BREAKING NEWS:
At 4:19 Central Time today, D.A. Carson and Tim Keller, co-founders of The Gospel Coalition, published this statement on TGC's website:
"Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle has recently announced he is stepping down from the Council of The Gospel Coalition. Mark let us know in advance of his intentions, part of a major reorganization of his priorities and a changing of the guard in Acts 29. We are saddened by his departure but understand that all busy people must establish priorities.
The Council is grateful to Mark for his contributions to TGC during the past decade. In the months and years ahead, we will certainly be praying for him, his family, and the ministries he influences.
Here is what Mark said about TGC with regard to his departure:
I was a founding member of The Gospel Coalition and to this day enjoy deep friendships and theological unity with the men. But I'm no longer going to be a Council member, as I seek to focus my energies on a handful of things. If I'm honest, with the continued growth of all the ministries in which I'm involved, it's not sustainable for me to keep up with all of them. So, this is a season of pruning for me.
For the record, no one has asked me to leave the Council, and I have no relational conflict with anyone and no disagreement theologically. The men remain friends who are welcome to speak into my life, and I'm transitioning for no other reason than I find myself at the end of my tether with time and energy.
I'm deeply thankful for the Council and have been deeply honored to be a part of it. Thankfully, Acts 29 fellow Board members Matt Chandler and Darrin Patrick are already on the Council to represent Acts 29, along with one of our network captains, Ray Ortlund."
We are stunned by these recent developments and will obviously have much more to share in the days and weeks ahead.
In light of recent developments with regard to disgruntled members, Mars Hill posted a "Wufoo Form" on its website to gather information for the reconciliation process. Estranged members were encouraged to submit completed forms, and someone from the church would get in touch with them.
We have been in communication with former Mars Hill members who submitted their forms a while ago but have not been contacted. Given recent developments, it appears that MH pastors and staff have been preoccupied with other pressing matters.
Here is what our friend Kaelee submitted on her "Wufoo Form":
Which Mars Hill Church location did you attend?
"I have prayed long and hard about this and while I do feel that this is nothing more than a PR move on the behalf of Mars Hill, I also believe that regardless of your intentions, it is an opportunity to share with you the hurt I have felt from your church and a majority of its members that I have come into contact with. Based on the fact that you are asking me to meet with a representative of an entire institution I am only willing to do this with a few conditions to protect myself from further abuse or bullying.
1.) The meeting take place in a neutral location
2.) I am allowed to bring a person I trust to protect me if the situation does go awry."
Given recent develops, it is unclear whether Kaelee and others who have submitted forms will ever participate in a reconciliation process. We will definitely keep you posted…
Lydia's Corner: Jeremiah 48:1-49:22 2 Timothy 4:1-22 Psalm 95:1-96:13 Proverbs 26:9-12