(Photo: Mars Hill Church)
IRVINE, Calif., – Author and pastor Mark Driscoll gave a glimpse into the subject of his next book by discussing what it means for a Christian to have an identity "in Christ" while speaking during the closing session of a two-day leadership conference.
"Most people, even those who are Christian, don't have a very good sense of who they are in Christ," said Driscoll to a crowd of more than 2,000 church leaders Thursday at the Resurgence Conference (R12) at Mariners Church in Irvine, Calif.
After talking about how people often describe their identity by way of things such as their achievements, duties, and material possessions, he said, "Your identity is in this constant state of chaos and change and influenced sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. What this leads to is a very inconsistent emotional and spiritual life. These are the things that may explain you, but they do not define you."
Driscoll was one of eight well-known Christian leaders at the event geared for young pastors and ministry leaders. His book, Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in Christ, is scheduled for release in January. Other speakers included Rick Warren, Greg Laurie, Nick Vujicic, Lecrae, Craig Groeschel, Miles McPherson, and James MacDonald.
During a press conference at the event, Driscoll told The Christian Post that one of his goals for R12 was for the speakers and their "tribe" who were attending to have a chance to interact behind the scenes.
"One thing I like to do is to connect with leaders. Sometimes 'tribal' leaders can maybe not fully understand one another and start characterizing and criticizing one another, but by helping just connect those leaders it can go a long way," he explained. "If there are some conflicts, resolving them in maybe a more private way, a more friendly way, a less combative way. Behind the scenes, that was one of the goals for this event."
Driscoll told CP he saw a common theme with each of the speakers' messages to the crowd. At a local and global level, the pastors all touched on the importance of evangelism.
"I think the big theme that is coming out of this is seeing people meet Jesus and the fact of mission – mission locally and mission globally and this all kind of threaded together in a way that I didn't intend it to, but that's the way it has come together," he said.
The conference was organized by the leadership ministry, Resurgence, founded by Driscoll and also tagged as a ministry of his Seattle-based Mars Hill Church. In the "About Us" webpage of the Resurgence website it states, "Look around. The Spirit is up to something. There is a resurgence of biblically faithful, passionate believers on board with the mission of spreading Jesus' name.
"This is a movement anchored by a theological foundation of four points." The four points described by the organization are "Gospel-Centered Theology," "Spirit-Filled Lives," "Complementarian Relationships," and "Missional Churches."
During his message on identity for Christians, Driscoll said, "We are supposed to have humility because we are below God and we are also supposed to have dignity because we are above lower creation. Much of our identity crisis comes when we spiritually think that we are closer to God than we are, or we think we are closer to animals in evolution."
He added, "Humility literally means to know your place. This is our identity – made in the image and likeness of God. So, we are created as worshippers, not just ones who occasionally worship, but continually worships.
"Our identity is to be received, not achieved. The first lie is to create an identity, not receive an identity … life apart from God and that is the essence of all sin."