Speaking just over a week before the launch of his new church, former Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll admitted that he entered the ministry far too young and should have sought the counsel of older, wiser leaders.
During a recent interview with NewSpring Church pastor Perry Noble, Driscoll revealed that he came to Christ at the age of 19 in a "radical" way. Shortly after his conversion, Driscoll married his wife, Grace, a preacher's daughter, and by 22 he began hosting Bible study in the living room of their home.
"I started ministry, quite frankly, too young," the 45-year-old said, conceding he should have sought the advice of a "godly, older mentor."
Driscoll explained that his ministry grew at a rapid pace, resulting in the founding of Mars Hill Church in 1996, the baptism of over 10,000, and a weekly attendance rate of 12,000.
However, it all came crashing down nearly two decades later, after a number of controversies led to the ministry being dissolved in January of last year. Driscoll himself, who was accused of bullying, plagiarism and an unhealthy ego, is currently being sued for racketeering by several former Mar Hills members, who allege the pastor misused ministry funds and misled congregants about how their donations were actually being used.
"There were things that God did that I have no credit for or explanation for ... I was a kite, and then a hurricane came ... Any old kite will fly in a hurricane," Driscoll said of the rise and fall of his ministry.
He added that he spent the past year surrounding himself with "older leaders and mentors" and that the experience has been like a "graduate school class in leadership. Not talking a lot, listening a lot. Not teaching a lot, but learning a lot ... It's been a remarkable season of learning."
In February, the pastor announced he had decided to officially launch a new church in Phoenix, Arizona, named "Trinity Church".
According to the church website, Trinity Church hopes to be a place where "lives are transformed through learning the Bible and loving people."
"Our church aspires to celebrate and honor other churches in Phoenix and beyond, partnering with them for the cause of God's Kingdom," it reads.
When asked how she feels about Phoenix, Grace said that the couple and their five children feel "very supported by the community and leaders and fellow Christians...it feels like home."
She also expressed her excitement over the church plant, stating, "We have healthy fear going into it, and that is appropriate for what the Lord has called us to do, but overall, I'm excited to see people get saved...I'm excited to be in community with people from Phoenix...and I'm excited to hear [my husband] preach."
Earlier this week, the church announced it will host its first-ever gathering at 5pm on Easter Sunday March 27, 2016, at the Glass and Garden Drive-In Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, as the congregation does not yet have an official church building.
"In time, we look forward to launching The Trinity Church," reads the website. "In time, we look forward to launching The Trinity Church. In the meantime, we did not want to pass up this historic opportunity to gather for the first time on the 50-year anniversary of the landmark building, which opened on Easter 1966. Even though it's last minute, as the ink on our rental contract "is still wet, we look forward to meeting you at our modest open house and prayer meeting. Pastor Mark will be sharing our church vision as we begin gathering our launch team."
Last month, Noble expressed his support for Trinity Church: "I'm going to choose to believe in Pastor Mark and Grace (Driscoll's wife) as they set out on this endeavor to plant a church," he said in video posted to Facebook. "And I just want to say that I support him 100 percent."