It has been confirmed that Pastor Mark Driscoll, senior pastor of the Mars Hill Church network in Seattle, Washington will be stepping down from his role in pastoral ministry while the elders and an outside agency review a plethora of accusations that have been made against Driscoll in the past few months.
Driscoll was to return from his annual summer sabbatical today and begin a series on 1 John. However, in light of the recent wave of accusations from some of Driscoll’s and Mars Hill’s closest allies in ministry, Driscoll will be stepping down until all of the charges against him are formally reviewed.
This announcement is an encouragement for many in Evangelicalism who have been watching the situation with Driscoll over the past few years. For far too long we have seen Mars Hill covering and protecting Driscoll from accusations that have been coming from within the community for a number of years. However, with the massive amount of attention and awareness that has been raised on social media, it seems that the church was finally forced to respond to the validity of the many accusations.
I am no expert and am not personally involved in Mars Hill Church (other than being a “Global Partner” for the past 5 years). But from my understanding of the situation and from similar cases in the past, it seems to me that Driscoll will likely stay out of the ministry and public eye for the next 6 months to a year. But it is my prediction that he will reinstated to ministry soon after a short-term disciplinary period.
Whatever the future may hold, it is my prayer that during this time, Driscoll would truly be humbled and brought near to God. It is my prayer that his family would continue to receive love and grace from the Mars Hill Community as well as the rest of the Evangelical Church. And ultimately, it is my prayer that Driscoll will find healing, redemption, and grace in his life so that he will one day be able to return to the ministry that he is so very evidently wired for.
But until that time, it seems that the cries of those who have been long silenced by Driscoll and Mars Hill have finally been heard. It seems that justice is finally beginning to be done in what once seemed to be a very bleak situation. Today we have seen the impact of the global Church joining together to speak up against injustice within her ranks. We have seen the power of social media to unite Christians from all stripes and backgrounds to work to reveal truth and call for change. We have seen the power of the Church to be the Church.
Though there is definitely a sense in which this news is heartbreaking, today is a day where many may rejoice that their voice has finally been heard and a very broken man has finally been stopped from continuing to misuse his ministry to harm instead of to build up. Today, a glimmer of hope has been seen for many who have been hurt by Driscoll and Mars Hill. Today is a good day indeed.
May God have mercy and grace on us all.
FYI: My source is an anonymous Mars Hill Church member.