Mark Driscoll is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. In only ten years they have grown to 6,000 people and have partnered to plant 100 churches around the country. Mark is the first to admit that the story of Mars Hill is the story of an awesome God, and not of a man. So what has happened there cannot simply be boiled down to techniques and then replicated elsewhere.
Yet, some aspects of what they're doing can be replicated, one of which is leadership development. I mention this because the evangelical church in the U.S. is losing ground on the culture--big time--and has been doing so for decades now. Currently, less than 30% of Americans attend church on a regular basis and by 2050, if the trend continues, only about 10% will (see David T. Olson, www.theamericanchurch.org).
The solution? By the power and grace of God, we simply must develop and deploy masses of young, energetic, evangelistic, theologically-minded, biblically-grounded, prayerful leaders. We in the Reformed camp must simply find ways of turning out more leaders without compromising our core convictions.
Mark's strategy? Win people to Christ, set them on fire, let them lead and along the way develop them as leaders, deploy them in ministry, and leave them to figure out how they'll get paid.
On the Wednesday night of the conference, several of us from Bethlehem Baptist Church had dinner with Mark and about 50 of his planters from around the country. At one point he asked the question, How many of you were NOT saved in 1997? About one-third of the hands went up. Wow! Brothers and sisters, we need to learn from this man! I am not saying that we, or he, should hastily lay hands on anyone, but I am saying that if we're to obey the Great Commission in our generation and not leave the next generation to the devil and the world, we simply must find new and better ways of winning, training, and deploying young leaders.
Oh Father, in your mercy and for your glory, hear our cry!