(Photo: Saddleback Church/Tommy Huynh)
Outspoken pastor Mark Driscoll says Christians need to be of stronger resolve because of "darker" days, and argues that "the church is dying," in a promotional letter for an upcoming leadership conference in Seattle.
"Four years ago, Newsweek magazine proclaimed 'The Decline and Fall of Christian America,'" Driscoll writes in the letter addressed to "Christian" on the 2013 Resurgence Conference website. "Their words, written on the cover in the shape of a cross, ring disturbingly true today."
Driscoll, who is the lead pastor of Mars Hill Church based in Seattle, Wash., is also a ministry leader among several pastors for the Resurgence movement, a resource for Christian leaders in discipleship and leadership training.
"Christians are being ostracized, gay marriage is being legalized, the bandwagon has stopped carrying us and has started running over us," he continues in the letter. "The church is dying and no one is noticing because we're wasting time criticizing rather than evangelizing.
"The days are darker, which means our resolve must be stronger and our convictions clearer. This is not the hour to trade in work boots for flip-flops," Driscoll adds. "You didn't think you were here to kill time listening to Christian music until Jesus returned, did you?"
This year's Resurgence conference will focus on young leaders, Driscoll stated in an email to The Christian Post.
He explains, "Some will tell you that between 40% and 70% of Americans are believers. The latest statistics reveal that those actually practicing evangelical Christian faith is only around 7% to 8%. The need for young Bible-believing, Jesus-following leaders is desperate and dire. My desire for the Resurgence Conference is to bring together some of the best teachers I know. Men with a lifetime of lessons to share. Men who are leading the resurgence."
In his open letter to Christians, after raising concern about the state of the Church, he asks believers to stand firm in God's grace.
"Hold fast to the word. Jesus is alive. Quit licking your wounds – stand up, dust yourself off, and get to work," he writes.
The conference, hosted at Driscoll's church, will include "some of the men leading the charge," such as speakers Rick Warren, Matt Chandler, Greg Laurie, James MacDonald, and Crawford Lorritts.
In talking about the conference planned for Nov. 5-6, Driscoll states that each of the speakers scheduled to participate have grown in influence through and despite the challenges they have faced. "Many of them began ministry at a very young age, and all of them continue to learn lessons from the scriptures," he said. "There are three things the speakers have in common with leaders of the early church: they made mistakes, they didn't always have influence, and they didn't always see success in their ministries. But God has been faithful."
On the web, http://theresurgence.com/conference.