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Mark Driscoll Confirms Move to Phoenix, Arizona, Reveals How Future Ministry Will Differ from Time At Mars Hill

( [email protected] ) Jul 28, 2015 11:11 AM EDT
Former Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll has confirmed his move to Phoenix, Arizona, but has insisted there are "no concrete plans for ongoing local church ministry as of yet" as he is still seeking counsel from older, more experienced spiritual leaders.
Mark Driscoll weeps during an interview with Hillsong founder Brian Houston. Hillsong Church

Former Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll has confirmed his move to Phoenix, Arizona, but has insisted there are "no concrete plans for ongoing local church ministry as of yet" as he is still seeking counsel from older, more experienced spiritual leaders.

"After meeting with many former church leaders for reconciliation and closure in Seattle, our family is in the midst of a new adventure as we have moved to the Phoenix area," Driscoll wrote in an email to supporters shared by Patheos blogger Warren Throckmorton.

While church ministry "remains a calling and desire," Driscoll emphasized that his plan is not to rush into anything.

"Instead, caring for each member of our family, seeking the wise counsel of pastors we are walking with, and building local relationships with Christian leaders to help build churches locally and globally is our focus," he writes. "Beyond that, we will see how the Lord leads."

Driscoll also said he has gained "first access" to material sold by The Resurgence ministries, an archive of material from Mars Hill "designed to help churches engage in culturally relevant evangelism."

He added that the Mars Hill board "approved the sale of the assets of The Resurgence ministries through an independent auction conducted by a law firm," and hinted he may have bought the material.

"Having now gained first access to these resources, it will be some time before we catalogue and decide what will happen with the content," he writes.

Last October, Driscoll resigned from his position as senior pastor of Seattle-based Mars Hill church amid accusations of plagiarism, bullying, and an unhealthy ego. The subsequent fallout from the implosion of his leadership and ministry at Mars Hall eventually led to the church's closure, with its satellite campuses closing, merging with other churches or becoming stand-alone congregations.

In a recent interview with Hillsong founder Brian Houston, Driscoll, who started his ministry at the age of 25, admitted to making a lot of mistakes in his leadership of the church and said he was "devastated" that he hurt so many people during his time at Mars Hill.

"I've made a lot of mistakes and one of them was going too fast. There's the Lord's calling and then there's the Lord's timing. And I should have waited longer; I should have been under godly spiritual authority - for Grace and I to be under a godly couple that was senior pastor, so that we can learn and grow. My character was not caught up with my gifting and I did start too young," he said.

"I believe God called us to start the church and He was very gracious to us, but had I to do that over again I would not look at a 25-year-old and say 'Do what I did.'"

Driscoll, who appeared in the interview alongside his wife, Grace, revealed that in the months since his resignation, he has spent time with older, more experienced spiritual leaders who have shown him ways to improve in ministry.

The pastor explained that if he was able to do it all over again, he would have focused more on the emotional health of the people in his ministry and said that his lack of empathy extended from unresolved personal issues. 

"I hope whatever the Lord has for me in the future is that I will draw people and not drive people. My empathy level will increase," he said. "I would have paid more attention to emotional health and well-being and any bitterness in my own soul so that there wasn't anger or hurt or defensiveness that was driving some of my motivation," he added.

"I would have been more keen to draw Grace out so that we could work through some issues in our past so that we would have been more aligned and better friends early in the ministry. In more recent years we've really worked on the friendship. And we're very close but the early years we didn't have that kind of connection that we do in more recent years. And that contributed to my tone and my anger, and it affected my disposition negatively and that's my fault."