Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll says he regrets hiring a marketing company to buy copies of a book he released in 2012 in an attempt to help it make the New York Times' best sellers list. He has also decided to step away from social media altogether for the remainder of the year in order to refocus his attention on Christ, his family, and on pastoring his church.
Mars Hill Church has thrived in the largely secular area of Seattle, Washington under Mark Driscoll's leadership. The church has grown to 14,000 in attendance at fifteen different locations, and posts numerous helpful resources online as well. Pastor Mark has also authored many books and is well-known in the Christian sphere.
The Huffington Post reports that Driscoll recently admitted to using a manipulative marketing strategy in order to help his 2012 release, "Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together," make the New York Times' best sellers list. He explained that he used a marketing company to purchase quantities of his book in order to inflate sales.
Pastor Mark has been known to confess sin and to apologize to his congregation and to others that he has offended, and he recently wrote an internal letter to his church regarding the matter. "I am sorry that I used this strategy, and will never use it again," Driscoll writes. He says that he now sees that this marketing strategy was manipulative, and is attempting to remove the "#1 New York Times bestseller" label from the book.
Driscoll also made news this year for the incident at John MacArthur's Strange Fire Conference, which stirred controversy among many Christians. Some pastors at his church have also decided to step down from their positions rather abruptly. Driscoll says he wants to leave his "angry-young-prophet" days behind, and writes that he feels burdened to mend relationships with the people he has wounded. He has hope that God will mature him more into a "helpful, Bible-teaching spiritual father" in time.
"In recent years, some have used the language of 'celebrity pastor' to describe me and some other Christian leaders," Driscoll writes - "I don't see how I can be both a celebrity and a pastor, and so I am happy to give up the former so that I can focus on the latter." He says that he feels lead by the Lord to walk away from the spotlight for the sake of his family and his church. Pastor Mark's last tweet was in mid-March, and he says he intends to stay away from social media for the remainder of the year - "The distractions it can cause for my family and our church family are not fruitful or helpful at this time ... In the meantime, Mars Hill and Resurgence will continue to post blogs, sermons, and podcasts on my social media accounts, but otherwise I'm going offline."
Driscoll also plans to cut back on travel and on speaking engagements in order to better focus on his roles as husband, father, and teaching pastor at Mars Hill. "For a season, I want to pull back from many things in order for us to focus on the most important things: glorifying Jesus by making disciples and planting churches as a healthy, loving, and unified church, with our hands on the Bible and our eyes on Jesus," he says.