When I was a teenager I was a big rough kid… I boxed since I was four and as someone who excelled in athletics, I was tougher than the average bear. I remember going down to the local park, or beach where we’d all drink way to much and get into trouble. One of the things that would inevitably happen was “strolling for trouble”. Here’s how that works, you’ve probably seen it or maybe even been a part of it. Generally a couple little guys (with big chips on there shoulders) would lead the group walking off ahead of myself and generally another big guy or two… They would inevitably cause some sort of trouble and a confrontation would arise. Thats when we would show up. Things rarely came to blows, but it was always a exercise in might makes right & bigger is better. I don’t know why we did it, I guess it made the big guys feel valued and needed while the little guys felt empowered and respected, maybe part of something bigger than themselves, with a sense of being tough by association. The worldly problem with this is, they never actually learned to fight, their strength was by association alone. Their only skill was to rely on someone else’s ability…
I’m beginning to wonder if there are too many Christians strutting around waiting for Mark Driscoll to come to the rescue. Here is what I mean. I currently work as a college pastor in the greater Seattle area, and despite the cultural disdain for Christianity and living in Mars Hill territory, I am in the midst of developing a thriving college ministry… I will be honest though, I belong a very small minority of churches that even try to do college ministry in this town.
You would think churches in the area would look at Mars Hill and think Wow! look at the difference they are making, I’m jumping in with both feet and we are going to join the battle (To their credit their a number of churches pursuing the younger generation, Quest Church, City Church, Eastlake, and Overlake). However even the churches that are pursuing this generation have almost all succumbed to the Big show, attractional model, and have all but abandoned having any sort of missional campus presence.
I have to admit, I think one the biggest reasons why is because we all live in the shadow of Mars Hill… Mark Driscoll has become the Q-tip, the Jello, the name brand association of what a pastor should look and sound like in the puget sound…He created the model, not a model for ministry. Now I will be the first to admit Mark has done way, way more good than bad. As a matter of fact one of the most influential sermons I have ever heard was taught by Mark, It was at a regional conference that Mark put on where he taught through through Nehemiah, I still use that outline for all my ministry development. That being said, when I’m on campus, everyone just wants to bring the big show to campus, most of the college kids I interact with on a daily basis are like why share Jesus, we just need Mark.
Those of us that are out there in ministry need to be willing to break out of this reliance on Mark Driscoll to come in a clean up the City and our Colleges, He can’t do it alone… and he shouldn’t have to, we need to learn to fight on our own. We may not have the stature or the size but we serve the same God. To the college students out there, you are ambassadors or Christ, be strong and courageous, start living on mission you don’t need a large elaborate ministry with an amazing speaker to change your world, you just need to be a willing vessel.
And before you all dog me out for putting down Mars Hill or Mark Driscoll, I’m not. Mark is the first person to tell you pastors to find your own voice, to do your own cultural exegesis, to not try to be a Mark Driscoll or an Andy Stanley or whoever else. And Mark is the first to kick his own congregation in the gut to get them to move, unfortunately there are still way to many people out there that just want to watch the effects of the gospel, as opposed to being part of the gospel story.