I recently had the opportunity to watch a documentary “Gods Work, Our Witness” about the origins of Mars Hill Church through the perspective of Mark Driscoll. Then I had the opportunity to watch it a second time, and this time without the distraction of my lovely girlfriend next to me I was able to focus on it better.
Hearing Mark talk about the early days of his fellowship was very exciting. From stories of him stealing a soundboard to a decade of depression, Mark doesn’t really sugar coat anything. My two favorite stories are of a man with a vintage Nazi porn collection and of the new convert who tithes using a bundle of dollar bills from her job as a stripper.
Driscoll has such a heart for the Lord I would consider to myself lucky to become a fraction of the man he is. In one of Mark’s stories he tells how he would park his wife’s’ car in the street so it would get hit just so they would have a enough money to pay rent. If this isn’t an example of relying on the Lord I don’t know what is.
The second half of his video is much more concerning however. Mark decided it was time for a building, I’m still not sure why, and relentlessly pursued this building. It was a free building offered by this dying church, but in order to get it mark had to dress up really respectable and give a somber, slightly compromised, teaching to what was left of the congregation so they would give it to him. He must have done a good job because they gave it to him.
After this, things really fell apart, he became severely depressed, his marriage was struggling (See Real Marriage), and the church was weak. It was weak because there was a huge influx of Christians from surrounding churches causing the church to be filled with believers but not disciples. Mark stated the growth was from 80 to 800 in one week! I’m sure none of this is that sweet convert growth. Mark got his big church and his building but lost his joy, because the works with committed hearts had just become greatly diluted.
I think Mark’s biggest mistake was getting that church building, and ending his churches nomad lifestyle. Anyways the documentary is very interesting, go check it out for yourself.