Pastor Mark Driscoll Teaches Us How To Be His Personal Assistant

Considering how much power he demands to have over his congregation, I’ve heard people compare Pastor Mark Driscoll to a cult leader.

I’m starting to believe it, especially with the release of his list of 20 things the person serving directly under him can do to make life easier for him.

Mark Driscoll, presumably showing what he’d do if his #2 disobeyed him.

It includes these gems:

3. DOES YOUR THING.

He’s not using you to do his thing.

5. HONORS YOU.

Particularly in front of others, he sets a culture of respect by referring to you as his pastor and genuinely respecting your spiritual authority.

10. IS HUMBLE ENOUGH TO ACT LIKE AN ASSISTANT WHEN NEEDED.

If this means you need something to eat, a cup of coffee, or an errand, he’s willing to do it as needed.

18. DOES NOT WANT YOUR JOB.

He’s not trying to leverage his job to get something better, and is content to do his job so that you can do yours.

20. IS FAITHFUL TO THE END.

If the time comes for him to move on, you know you can kindly ask him to do so and he will without dropping the ball, being divisive, or going into attack mode because he loves Jesus, the church, and you.

In other words, he’s Driscoll’s personal slave. If he shows any sign of rebellion, Driscoll will destroy him.

And the worst part is that I’m sure many people would line up to fill that position. Anything to kiss his feet, right?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Kahomono

    It’s a small thing but at least Driscoll knows the difference between “complement” and “compliment” and actually used it correctly.

    But then, nobody said these guys don’t have top-notch communications skills.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=28409695 Chris Green

    To be honest, there are asshole secular bosses who basically say the same thing.

  • Lieven Claes

    This list could have been made by my kids ! ;-)

  • Donalbain

    Its this one that gets me:

    15. Is always accessible.

    If you call or text on his day off, he’s available and on it.

    Yeah.. people who work for you dont deserve days off or time with their family or friends. You massive douche.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/sdanielowens Daniel Owens

    I am no Driscoll apologist but if the list is read right I am not sure it is all that bad. I served a pastor for 10 years with this very mindset (although, he did not require it from me). I learned a lot from this type of service and in many ways it educated me much more than seminary. Now, I understand that Driscoll has said some other things that may one to rightly be alarmed by this list of his but, I just wanted to say that it does not have to be a list of abusive demands. IMHO.

  • Isilzha

     No, there’s a phrase for someone like that.  It’s someone who has “drank the kool-aid,” so to speak.

    My husband and I have this running gag where we talk about buying a Compound and hiring on henchman.  We will pay close attention to these rules and may use them later when our nefarious plans come to fruition.

  • Isilzha

     And what sort of accessibility exactly????

  • Skjaere

    Sounds like he’s looking for another wife.

  • Agnostic

    Agnostic would like to ask if atheist thinks that the pastor felt that the people were working for him or Him?

  • Lee Miller

    Where can I get me one of those “assistants”?  Oh, I forgot.  Pastors are special, I’m not.

  • grindstone

    This is not that different from a secular world right-hand-man job, plus apparently a lot of praying.  But there are some glaring red flags here; the ones that stick out to me are not on your list, Hemant.  Be everywhere I am, but take on leadership roles in the church.  So do both.  Oh, and be on call on your days “off”.  And the kicker, #20, when you’re used up, you’ll hop on the ice floe cheerfully.

  • Kodie

    because he loves Jesus, the church, and you.

    While there’s something to be said about being mature about it when your boss shitcans you, having done 19 other things listed to the tee and loyally, you think your assistant actually loves YOU?

    As someone who has looked for and had many jobs, there is no shortage of employers whose ideal hire is a lackey with no personal aspirations. Basically a person who functions like a machine because machines can’t do everything yet, the equivalent of being a second “them” to save them from having to do all that dull stuff themselves. While I understand some people are busy and important, expecting that person to love you when you’ve fired them is way over the line. Expecting them to never want your job or leverage their experience to a better job than being your perfect loyal shadow is over the line.

    What Driscoll has listed is not uncommon and maybe even better to know this ahead of taking the job, because sometimes you find out after.

  • machintelligence

    Anything to kiss his feet, right?

    You got the kissing right, but missed the part of anatomy.

  • Cindy

    Yeah, but he uses “whom” wrong in the first rule.

  • Tainda

    That’s really no different than any personal assistant would be.

    My problem with it is these pastors have become celebrities.

  • Jason

    “When it comes to the call of leadership, there’s nothing wrong with being a #2. In fact, it’s a high calling. For instance, Jesus is the right-hand man of his Father (actually seated at God’s right hand), doing the work God the Father sent him to do.”

    So God’s right hand man, was actually still God, right?  I get confused by the Trinity.  Isn’t God Jesus and Jesus God, the same way Jesus is a communion wafer?

  • sunburned

    I like item 20.  Nothing like planning ahead and telling someone that they should be prepared to take being fired graciously.
     

  • Kodie

    First of all, is he comparing himself and his assistant as god and Jesus? I would think he would at most consider himself a #3 making his assistant his #4.

    In reply though, what I think bosses like this want is to be able to split themselves in two; they want their assistant to be just like a second them and work as though the boss’s thoughts and actions are completed by the assistant, seamlessly as if the same person just doing all the menial assistance so the boss isn’t interrupted to do it himself. See the first one listed on this page (3), “Does your thing. He’s not using you to do his thing.” An ideal assistant to a boss doesn’t have his own personhood and is rather just another body for the boss to use as if it were himself, to get himself a coffee or as a messenger; it reads his own mind and does these things as if you could remote control him with your own thoughts and have things in your hand when you want them and not 10 minutes after you have to ask for them.

    So I don’t get confused by the trinity or Driscoll’s reference to being a #2 as if it were a high calling. Of course, he’s delusional, but as confirmed, not a lot different than many bosses. He may have some idea that it’s essentially thankless and difficult to subordinate oneself so completely to another person or he may not, I think not, I think he really believes his assistant is doing something super-important because he believes himself to be that important, and of course, Jesus never complained. So he’s shoveling bullshit. It’s difficult because I’m not saying bosses don’t need assistance, it’s the expectation that the assistant has no self, that this is the living they imagined for themselves to make.

  • Glasofruix

    On the other hand, if your boss expects you to follow similar rules he’s expected to pay you.

  • cipher

    In other words, he’s Driscoll’s personal slave. If he shows any sign of rebellion, Driscoll will destroy him.

    Sounds like demands made by someone else – but who? Let me think…

  • cipher

    One of his co-bloggers has a series, “Know Your Heretics”: http://theresurgence.com/series/know-your-heretics

    Nathan Poe was prescient. It’s becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between these people and caricatures of them.

  • Kodie

    I’ve had jobs where I didn’t care how much I was making to live like this. I never really care about money as long as I have enough, but I wouldn’t notice the difference between 15,000/year and 150,000/year* if my life was working like this every day. I can’t deal with it, and I personally don’t know why this little dance when you’re looking for a job – where you have to say all the things you can do and are willing to do and how much the company means to you and loyalty and longevity and all that. Just once I’d like to ask someone for a job, tell the truth, “I will do a great job, but I have a life, and I just need to eat. I won’t embarrass you or steal. Ok?” It’s the truth, isn’t it?

    *I’ve never made anywhere near that much in my life, but making a lot less found I never had time to spend my money on anything but living expenses anyway. It’s a huge chunk of my life they’re renting that I can’t get back with money, so I find it hard to suffer in complete subordination to someone else with high expectations that I’m not so much a human being but his personal robot. Just like commission sales, it’s not for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sdanielowens Daniel Owens

    Well, if one has “drank the kool aid” they are dead, so I am not sure I follow the metaphor. I understand that people may be alarmed by this sort of thing, abuses do occur often, but these sorts of jobs are often meant to be accepted by interns who need to learn to serve before they can lead. 

  • Isilzha

    Actually, in Jonestown, there were many, many tests of drinking the kool-aid (or flavor aid) before that last horrible day.  So, “drinking the kool aid” doesn’t just mean someone who dies…it’s someone who’s willing to prove that they’ll die (and prove it over and over again!).

  • http://www.facebook.com/sdanielowens Daniel Owens

    Ok, I get it now. I still don’t think that metaphor is fair. To serve someone is not the same as to say I will do whatever you ask even if it clearly will put me in danger. As I said, I have gone through this type of training and benefitted greatly from it (of course, I was not serving an abusive person). My only problem with Driscoll requiring this type of servant is that he has not served, to my knowledge, in this way. To me that is a ‘red flag.’ 

  • Isilzha

    I just don’t seen anything at all redeeming in that kind of servitude (outside of kinky BDSM play!).  It’s especially problematic when it requires a person to constantly subjugate their will to someone.  I’m not sure it’s ever healthy to do that.
    (oooohhh…I see you graduated from theological seminary this year [majored in new testament studies too]…that explains more than a few things)

  • grindstone

    He’s smart to find people with no personal aspirations other than to be an aide-de-camp, because clearly he has no intention of grooming them for personal growth or future success.  There are people out there with little ambition, the problem is, you RARELY find them among the ranks of the church hierarchy, who tend toward the rapacious.

  • Daniel Krull

    #3… Does anyone else see gay undertones there? ;P

  • Kodie

    I know these people exist and I even think more likely in the church, which I’m not actually familiar with. People who really believe this shit, I think, also believe that it is doing god’s work. Just like he says there’s nothing wrong with being a #2 and is a higher calling. It’s a bunch of BS, but I know some people really rationalize it for themselves when they have to do such a job. At least I think, most people hope it gets them somewhere and they’re not still being someone’s lackey until they retire. I’m more familiar with fictional characters, such as Smithers on The Simpsons, much less the assistant(s) in The Devil Wears Prada, well, both of them, but the one who got demoted because Anne Hathaway was actually better at it, though. AH struggled and adapted and her self slipped away seamlessly, but the first one that trained her would really not mind it long-term, just like Smithers. I don’t know people in real life who don’t see it as an opportunity to get on a major player’s good side and recommended for a superior job down the line, though, and I’ve had jobs like that (not so major), but as far as I can tell it’s a dead end to nowhere and get replaced as soon as they see they have used you up. You’re not there to learn anything or go anywhere.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    While I think most of this list is pretty reasonable for a pastor’s assistant (besides maybe number 15), my problem with it is that he’s probably using this to shove it in someone’s face. Someone working under him might not be pleasing him, so he publishes a list of all the godly things this person should strive for. Then other people in the church can look at that list, so if that person complains, they can easily point out what *that* person did wrong, not what Driscoll is doing wrong.

  • dantresomi

    what irks me is that he lists things like “Loves you” and “is honest with you”
    DUH. 

    and why such bold print letters (on his web page)? 

  • Randy

    Sounds like a middle-management job I had at a small CAD company a few years back.  They have a new leader now.  I didn’t wait.

  • http://winlb.wordpress.com/ ToonForever

     Not to mention God f***ing killed his right hand man.  Is that one of the rules too?

  • http://winlb.wordpress.com/ ToonForever

    I couldn’t resist thumbing through the other links in the article.  What a severe mind-control cluster**** of a church this is.

  • Dan

    To be clear, this list isn’t for personal assistants. This is what he expects of the lead pastors of his congregations. He is saying that all the lead pastors need to answer him even on their days off and be at his call to pick up coffee and food for him. Perhaps you know a different kind of secular boss than I do, I’ve never met one who expected  managers and vice-presidents of the company to get coffee and pick up laundry for them.  

  • Dan

     But this list isn’t for the pastor’s assistant. This is what he expects of the lead pastors of the individual congregations that he oversees. Basically he wants to treat even his lead pastors as personal assistants, which is pretty creepy and shows how authoritarian Driscoll is.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    Look, just call this what it is. What he describes is a textbook example of a lackey, or henchman, or sycophant. I am astonished at the number of comments here that say these expectations are acceptable in this day and age. If we were still in the 18th century, and earning a few shillings every week so you can afford coal to keep your family from freezing required you to kiss copious ass, then fine. But today?

    Number twos in an organization are not inconsequential people. I know some executive assistants and they are without exception highly skilled operators. If the CEO is away, the COO takes over, but the exec assistant actually runs the place.

    I consult right now for a living, and occasionally I need a “first lieutenant” to help me with a client. That person needs to shadow me and make sure that nothing important slides off the radar. It’s a *difficult* job, arguably harder than what I do, and the pay for it is commensurate. When you hire someone to be your wingman, hand of the king, backstop, whatever, you’re hiring someone to cover your sorry ass so that when, not if, you screw up, they’ll minimize if not entirely halt the damage. So you don’t treat them like a 20-year old intern who doesn’t know the ass end of a business report from a kumquat. Fetching you coffee or food had better be something you reciprocate. You treat them like gold, because they are often the difference between your success and a nasty fallout from one of your fuckups.

  • Dan

    This list is for what he expects of his lead pastors, not for personal assistants. If this is how he treats people he has placed in authority over thousands of people, I’d hate to see his lists for personal assistants.

  • allein

    Why does Agnostic refer to him/herself in the third person?

  • Marco Conti

    Wow, where do I sign up?

  • Marco Conti

    Aside for the incessant praying, of course.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I had a boss who treated me like that. Took it for the longest time, but after 2 months with 3 days off total and multiple double shift days a week, I snapped and walked out. 

    Took almost a year total before I quit though. 

  • nice_marmot

    Creepy.

  • amycas

    I can only assume women are not allowed to even be number 2 at Driscoll’s churches, since every rule says “he” or “his” or “him.” There’s never a mention of “she” or “her” or “hers.” 

  • Royce Pashtun

    “20. IS FAITHFUL TO THE END.If the time comes for him to move on, you know you can kindly ask him to do so and he will…”Add: ‘sign a non-disclosure agreement.’

    If you do an online Google search to track down all the men who were in leadership at Mars Hill over the years, including the two initial founding pastors who started the church along with Driscoll – they all just disappear off the radar, and their names, sermons, and writings are scrubbed from the church websites. Lesser leaders and “right-hand men” suffer the same fate – and it is rumored that those who “move-on” are required to sign non-disclosure agreements so that they do not go public with their tales of spiritual abuse or possible church scandals.

    http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2008/09/ruminating-on-some-details-ive-noticed.html

  • WenatcheeTheHatchet

    Royce, that’s a pretty old entry and there’s been a lot of stuff that’s come up since then.  One of the fired pastors set up a site documenting some of what went on in the 2007 firings where two men got fired.  It’s a big pile of stuff but the pertinent statement about non-disclosure agreements is here:

    http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/jonna-mhc-story-29.pdf

    “This offer to meet felt completely disingenuous. Likely they knew they were in a legal bind and were willing to discuss a possible elgal/financial settlement hoping we might agree to some sum with a requirement to sign a “gag order” or non-disclosure contract, as has been reported by other Mars Hill pastors and employees who have resigned. (Signing a non-disclosurecontract appears to now be a requirement for receiving any severance package.)”

    Not everyone who was put in that position signed the non-disclosure agreement and so they got cut loose with no severance pay of any kind.  In a culture that reflects what might be called “leak asymmetry” any number of bad things circulate about former leaders to show that they deserved to get canned while things that are less flattering about current leadership gets excised.  I spent some time documenting an example of this with a post asking whether Mark Driscoll’s “The Man” had been edited this year.  This site had a good chunk of an excerpt from Driscoll’s talk that has since been cut out of the downloadable content from the Acts 29 media library.

    http://refundamentalism.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/mark-driscoll-despised-his-elders/

    If you download “The Man” (assuming it’s still even available at the Acts 29 media library) you’ll find that the excerpt quoted at refundamentalism and at Practical Theology for Women isn’t there.  The woodchipper anecdote was obviously cut from Driscoll’s sermon. 

    Sorry for the length there’s a lot more research that’s been possible this year that wasn’t available in the originally linked entry at the blog.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X