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Mark Driscoll May Soon Return to Ministry In California or Texas, Say Sources

( [email protected] ) Nov 11, 2014 11:46 AM EST
Former Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll may soon return to ministry, either in Texas or California, confirm sources.
Mark Driscoll resigned from leadership at Mars Hill Church on October 15, 2014 Photo via pastormark.tv.

According to Grove City College Professor Warren Throckmorton, reliable sources within Gateway Church and Mars Hill Church have revealed that Driscoll is exploring a return to ministry in either Texas or California.

Throckmorton writes: "According to sources who want to remain unnamed due to fears of retaliation, Driscoll has been offered assistance from Robert Morris to help set up a church plant in Southern California. Somewhere in Texas could be targeted if Southern CA does not work out."

Driscoll made headlines in October when he announced his resignation from Mars Hill after taking a six-week hiatus from the pulpit while a committee of elders investigated charges brought against him, including plagiarism, bullying, and an unhealthy ego.

"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.

Driscoll was not asked to resign from the church he had started 18 years prior, according to a letter from the church's board of overseers; "Indeed, we were surprised to receive his resignation letter," they wrote.

In his resignation letter, Driscoll noted that he was not being disqualified from future ministry.

"Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry," Driscoll wrote.

However, he acknowledged that his presence at Mars Hill may be a distraction from the message of the Gospel.

"Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church's mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ," he continued.

But the once thriving megachurch was unable to recover from the year of turbulence it experienced. Last week, church elders announced that it would dissolve the multisite network of 13 churches across the Northwest, and locations within the Mars Hill network will either become independent, self-governing churches, merge with another church or disband completely.

William Vanderbloemen, former pastor and author of "Next: Pastoral Succession That Works," says that when--not if--Driscoll resurfaces, his success will depend "significantly on what he does over the next period of time."

"Mark is like a rain man when communicating the Bible," he said. "In my experience, when men like him resign or go through an experience like this--if they take time away and have a period of reflection, there is a strong chance they can come back even better than they were before."

"Fortunately, Christians are a group of people that have committed their lives to the principles of forgiveness and grace. Our entire faith is built on second chances, and I hope that the right steps can happen for Mark to have a second chance to preach"