Based on reading Mark Driscoll’s book, Confessions of a Reformission Rev. (I blogged about that book My Lord and My Blog: Good book . . . so far.), reading his blog (Welcome to TheResurgence.com TheResurgence), and now watching a highly unpopular video that he produced, I’ve decided that he’s the kind of guy I’d like to go fishing with.
Last year I attended the opening day of the National New Church Conference in Orlando. It was excellent . . . and crowded.
This year’s conference (2008 National New Church Conference) was last week in Orlando and I couldn’t attend, so I was interested to read about what happened.
Based on what I’ve read in two of my favorite blogs, a video by Mark Driscoll and Bill Hybel’s response to the video have created quite a buzz.
Here’s a portion from Todd Rhoades’ blog MondayMorningInsight.com:
Speaking of Mark Driscoll, there’s a lot being blogged today about Bill Hybel’s ‘rebuke’ of Mark Driscoll at the National New Church Conference last week. I’d be kind of out of the loop if I didn’t mention it somewhere here. Tall Skinny Kiwi has a little about it here. I find myself in a somewhat awkward position. Of course, I work for Leadership Network, and we were a sponsor for this year’s National New Church Conference (which was great, by the way). I’m also working with Mars Hill on a project; and we’ve worked closely with Willow as well. I also worked closely with the promoters of the conference this year. It’s always difficult when different worlds collide.
Mark Driscoll gives his perspective on his blog The Banned Church Planting Video TheResurgence:
Last year I spoke at a large church planting event along with a number of other church planters and church planting movement leaders. The event was held in Florida, went well, and did a very encouraging job of bringing together a number of denominations, networks, and organizations that otherwise would not have benefited from such a partnership.
This year I was invited back but declined because the few-day round trip from Seattle to Florida to give a very short message (last year it was less than twenty minutes) seemed like too much in light of other responsibilities. So, the sponsors of the event asked me to instead put together an eight-minute video on church planting that could be shown at the event and then handed out to each of the 1,500 attendees. So, in an effort to be helpful, the video crew from Mars Hill Church and I spent half a day in freezing weather at a military cemetery shooting scenes that were then edited for the video. Apparently the video was shown at the event, was well received by the attendees, and then criticized by Bill Hybels from the stage because it did not speak of women church planters. And, not wanting a bigger fuss, the organization hosting the event then made a decision not to hand out the video as they had promised, leaving the guys from our Acts 29 Church Planting Network who had hauled suitcases of the videos to Florida with thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of wasted effort. The leaders of the event are good guys whom I still consider friends, and I’ve never met Bill Hybels so I won’t speak about him personally.
After Mark’s video aired, Bill Hybels was the next on stage and he said this:
“After that video I would like to acknowledge that there are women in this room and they have spiritual gifts.”
Apparently, the room erupted in applause after Bill’s comment.
Mark’s video was not passed out as planned.
I wasn’t at the conference, so I’ll keep my opinion limited to the video. As I watch the video I hear Mark–not speaking against women–but speaking against men and their tendancy to be weak and to present Jesus as less of the man than he actually was. His call to men to be “good soldiers” is not–in my opinion–a statement against women. He seems to have come to the video shoot with an agenda and that agenda was to call male church planters out and to challenge them to be the kind of men God desires for them to be for their sake and the sake of the churches they are planting. I can’t imagine his agenda on this–or any other occasion–was to degrade the women involved in church planting. I hope not.
Watch the video and let me know what you think.