(RNS) Mark Driscoll, the larger-than-life megachurch pastor who has been accused of plagiarism, bullying and an unhealthy ego that alienated his most devoted followers, resigned from his Seattle church Tuesday (Oct. 14), according to a document obtained by RNS.
The divisive Seattle pastor had announced his plan to step aside for at least six weeks in August while his church investigated the charges against him. Driscoll’s resignation came shortly after the church concluded its investigation.
“Recent months have proven unhealthy for our family — even physically unsafe at times — and we believe the time has now come for the elders to choose new pastoral leadership for Mars Hill,” Driscoll wrote in his resignation letter.
READ: Mark Driscoll’s resignation letter (RNS)
Driscoll was not asked to resign from the church he started 18 years ago, according to a letter from the church’s board of overseers. “Indeed, we were surprised to receive his resignation letter,” they wrote.
RNS appears to have done a thorough and fair job of reporting on this issue, and the articles linked should put things in perspective as far as the order of events and basic issues are involved. It is sad to see such a failure, but it is not altogether unexpected when a man begins his ministry as a maverick who was unqualified to pastor when he first took on the task anyway. Let us all learn from this just how important it is not to put a novice into pastoral ministry and then proceed to enable him for years simply because he becomes popular.
Update 28 October 2014
Warren Throckmorton, who has been one of the writes who has broken many parts of the story concerning the saga of Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll, issued the following report on October 19: Mars Hill Church Board of Elders: Mark Driscoll Resigned Instead of Entering a Restoration Plan. At this point, who among us could really be surprised?
Update 8 November 2014
Following much prayer and lengthy discussion with Mars Hill’s leadership, the board of Mars Hill has concluded that rather than remaining a centralized multi-site church with video-led teaching distributed to multiple locations, the best future for each of our existing local churches is for them to become autonomous self-governed entities. This means that each of our locations has an opportunity to become a new church, rooted in the best of what Mars Hill has been in the past, and independently led and run by its own local elder teams.
We recognize this reorganization plan is a significant and complex undertaking on many fronts; however, our goal is to have the process completed by January 1st, 2015.
May the Lord give the leaders of this church wisdom to begin following His Word more closely in the future.