Mark Driscoll To Be Interviewed By Hillsong's Brian Houston in Rare Public Appearance

( [email protected] ) Mar 13, 2015 04:59 PM EDT
Mark Driscoll, former pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, will be interviewed by Hillsong founder Brian Houston at the annual Hillsong conference this summer.
Mark Driscoll, 44, was previously recognized by The New York Times Magazine as ''one of the most admired—and reviled—figures among evangelicals nationwide.''

Mark Driscoll, the former pastor of Mars Hill megachurch in Seattle, will be interviewed by Hillsong founder Brian Houston during a high-profile Evangelical conference this summer.

Driscoll, who stepped down from his position as senior pastor of Mars Hill back in October, was originally scheduled to speak at the annual Hillsong Conferences, which will take place in London and Sydney.

However, after a year of controversy surrounding the pastor, Houston decided that Driscoll and his wife, Grace, should instead be interviewed on stage rather than preaching.

"I am looking forward to having this opportunity to speak openly with the Driscolls about life and ministry, as well as recent events and lessons they've learned through personal and ministry trials during the past year," Houston wrote in an email to Patheos blogger Warren Throckmorton, who has closely followed the Driscoll saga for many months.

"My aim is to have an in-depth conversation that gives insight into their hearts. Mark has been candid about mistakes he has made, and if we can, through our conference, help others through his life experiences, we think that will prove valuable."

Driscoll's presence at the annual event, which will take place London and Sydney July 22-24 and June 29 - July 03, respectively, is one of the few public appearances he has made since announcing his resignation last fall.

Last summer, Driscoll, who has been accused of plagiarism, bullying and an unhealthy ego, apologized for mishandling the dismissal of several of the church's formal staff. Subsequently, he was dismissed from church-planting Acts 29 Network, which he co-founded, and his books pulled from LifeWay's 180 Christian bookstores across the states.

Later in 2014, he confessed and repented specifically to "past pride, anger and a domineering spirit" and requested to take a minimum of six week leave of absence from the while the Mars Hill Board of Accountability make formal review of charges made against him by various people. Just a few weeks later, Driscoll announced his resignation.

The subsequent fallout from the implosion of Driscoll's 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. Currently, Mars Hill faces possible legal action over the use of funds raised for missions which it is alleged were diverted to general church use.

While Driscoll currently runs a ministry website, he does not currently pastor a church and is entirely absent from social media. He has not spoken publicly except for at the Gateway Conference in Dallas, Texas, shortly after his resignation. At the time, he opened up about the struggles his family have been going through since leaving Mars Hill.

"I've cried a lot lately. It's been a rough season for my family," he said then.

"I just want to come here to sing, to pray, to learn, to grow, to repent, to heal, and God has surrounded me with some great pastors and friends," he said. "And if I could just say anything is that every pastor needs a pastor. And you pastors, your family needs you there to be their pastors."