As I noted yesterday I am in California on a four day retreat with the elders and staff of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The three days I have enjoyed to this point have been remarkable. Honestly, I have longed for several decades to see what I am experiencing this week. A group of fourteen men, using very different gifts and personalities, have become a "team" for the sake of Christ’s kingdom. I see no rivalry, I sense no jealousy, and I have found each man committed to one another and to the success of the mission that unites them. It is the kind of chemistry that you see when a team melds into one unit and wins.

What makes this possible begins with an incredibly gifted leader in Mark Driscoll. But I have known incredible leaders before. Mark is different. He is strong, secure and knows he has been given great gifts as well. But he leads in a manner that allows others to enjoy their place in the work, to have real fun doing it, and to share in the rewards of the whole team’s success. There is vision joined with freedom in the makeup and work of this team.

I have noted before that the Emergent movement is a mixed bag. What I am seeing this week is clearly some of the best the movement has to offer to the church for the future. I also sense that God is answering prayers I have have prayed fervently in recent weeks as I work closely with this group of men. (By the way the men range in age from their twenties to a man as much as nine years older than myself. Age is no factor in the team, only character.)

If we are to see reformation and revival in the church at large in the coming years I believe Mars Hill will make a major contribution to that movement of the Spirit.

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  1. James Paul August 12, 2005 at 10:43 pm

    John, thank you for posting your impressions during this important pastor’s retreat. It was very generous of you. I’m a 38 year old, east-central WA believer in a real transitional period of my life. I’m doing a lot of re-thinking and re-imagining regarding “church” while praying about a potential church staff position in AK. This post expresses exactly how I feel about Mark and the pastors of Mars Hill. This is obviously a pastoral staff giving 110%. Why are they giving 110%? I’m guessing it’s because they don’t feel like they have to check their balls in at the door every morning when they go to work. This can set a man free. It can cause him to dream again. I’m not closely affiliated with Mars Hill. I’m just trying to keep my eyes and ears open. Who can deny the fruit of this model? I predict these new wineskins are coming to a culture near you. Who would have thought God would use a WSU graduate (can you say “party school”) to play such a large role in defining what’s good about the emerging church? May God richly bless your ministry, John.

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