The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill – Lessons Learned?

I’m nearing the end of listening to the podcast series on the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. It has struck me to the core in more ways than one. I’ve recommended it on Facebook multiple times, but I feel like an echo chamber doing so. I can hear myself shout it from the mountain tops but I’m not sure anyone hears.

Why does this affect me so much? Because I lived through and went through a similar experience but on a much smaller scale. Smaller in terms of it was a small church, but larger because it was a small church. What I mean is that we were not in some distant relationship to the issue like many at Mars Hill. Of course, there were those there that probably had it worse than us. They experienced firsthand the abuse Driscoll dished out, and then they lost their jobs, they lost their church, and they lost their friends in one failed swoop.

I see how narcissists simply move on. They do damage, they defend, they deflect, and then they trample. It’s easy for them. It was easy for Driscoll. He has moved on. He is now pastoring a new flock in the Phoenix metro and most of them probably have no clue who he is or what he’s done. He’s a great storyteller, as the podcast has repeatedly told the listener, and he really is. I went to Mars Hill once while in Seattle and it was really cool at the time.

Yet, Mark moves on. He left the bus after it had rolled over many and left a mountain behind it. Narcissistic leaders are not new, and sadly Driscoll isn’t the first and he certainly won’t be the last. What motivates these people? I don’t know, but it is probably insecurity. It probably stems from Daddy or Mommy wounds. Maybe it’s from childhood trauma or a sense of bravado that needs to be the center of attention. No matter the cause it’s a real thing, and when these guys get into a leadership position, and they always end up in leadership positions, they tend to steamroll people and leave dead bodies in their wake.

I wish I could write more. I wish I could write more eloquently about the issues, and about how the damaged people are still damaged, and yet the Driscoll’s of the world move on. We were “lucky” I suppose. We didn’t depend on them for our livelihood, and we had other friends. We landed at other solid churches, and we never blamed God or questioned our faith. We questioned people, and we should question people, because it’s the people doing ungodly things that hurt others, not God Himself.

And the hope is that God uses it for blessing others. How can we forget those that have suffered far worse than us? How can we forget what Paul went through at the hands of others, or our Lord Jesus Christ so that we might receive His benefits? I don’t think I’m like Jesus by the way, but I want to be. I will work at it, and I’ll work at being able to be a blessing to those that have suffered at the hands of an authoritarian leader. If God sees fit to use me this way.

If you haven’t, I encourage you to listen to this whole series. It is really done remarkably well, even to the amazing production level that Driscoll himself sought. How ironic.

No matter what seek Christ and stay close to Him. He is a comfort in the deepest storms. He is worthy of our earthly suffering. No matter what.


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