The Christian celebrity culture exists. The popularity of megachurches has led to superstar pastors. Bill Hybels, Rick Warren and Andy Stanley are some of the most influential pastors in the U.S. Voices like theirs reach far beyond their own congregations and their own church walls.
Mark Driscoll is a celebrity pastor. Mars Hill, the church he pastors, has a weekly attendance of nearly 15,000 people, which is almost as many people as attended Thursday’s Miami Marlins game. Driscoll has written a number of books and has spoken at numerous conferences. Yesterday, however, Driscoll announced that he would be taking a six-week break as he and his church are currently embroiled in a controversy.
This article from Religion News Service does a much better job of summarizing the controversy than I ever could. Suffice it to say, former Mars Hill pastors have accused Driscoll of “a pattern of abusive and intimidating conduct.”
One of the most alarming aspects to this entire story is the apparent lack of accountability. From what I’ve read it seems that Driscoll surrounded himself with yes-men and scared away anyone that didn’t fall in line. I don’t want to pile on Driscoll and I really do hope that God can use this to bring glory to his name and restoration to Driscoll and Mars Hill.
Instead of wagging my finger at Driscoll, I’m more interested in looking at my own life. I’m sure Driscoll didn’t start his ministry path hoping to fizzle out in a controversy. I’m sure none of us began our journeys hoping to end in failure but there are obviously land mines along the way.
Celebrity pastors hit land mines.
Youth pastors hit land mines.
Teachers hit land mines.
College students hit land mines.
Spouses hit land mines.
We can’t avoid land mines on our own; we need to have people in our lives that will help us spot them. I have friends and family in my life whom I know will hold me accountable. If they see my life veering off, if they see me living in a manner that is dishonoring to Christ, if they see me walking towards a land mine they will tell me to stop.
Those people didn’t just materialize off of a transporter pad, though. I invited them into my life and gave them permission to hold me accountable. While they encourage me and want what’s best for me, they’re definitely not yes-men. And I know that they’ll be no-men and no-women when I need them to be.
Who helps you avoid land mines in your life?