Former Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll Returns to Seattle to Preach at Gold Creek Community Church

Resuregence Conference
Pastor Mark Driscoll talks about changing social climate for Christians during Resurgence 2013, a leadership conference held at Mars Hill Downtown Church in Seattle, Nov. 5, 2013. |

Mark Driscoll, who resigned last October as the lead pastor of the Seattle-based Mars Hill megachurch due to a controversy surrounding his leadership style, delivered a sermon at Gold Creek Community Church in Mill Creek near downtown Seattle on Sunday.

"Such a powerful message by Mark Driscoll to kick off our Repurpose series. Thanks Mark!" the Gold Creek church wrote on its Facebook page, and quoted him as saying in the sermon, "God doesn't need you to impress Him, he needs you to trust Him."

Before the sermon, pastor Dan Kellogg of Gold Creek introduced Driscoll by telling the congregation that he's qualified to speak on repurposing of life as he's in the middle of it, and that he had been "unfairly treated by former staff and the media."

More than 100 people lined up to greet him after the service, according to Seattle Pi.

However, a dozen picketers greeted Driscoll on the street outside the church, according to Patheos. They gave out a flyer, titled "Mark Driscoll — Currently Unfit for Any Pulpit."

"If you are one of those people who is not excited about him being here and you want to tell him that, I encourage you to go across the street and join those folks over there," Kellogg told the congregation. "That's their opportunity to do that and it's awesome, it's great, today we're just going to be positive."

Driscoll resigned due to his admitted "divisive" leadership style. Members of the Acts 29 church planting network, which Driscoll helped found, had advised that he take time off to get help, and rescinded Driscoll and all Mars Hill Church campuses' membership from the network.

Patheos blogger Warren Throckmorton, who has been writing about Driscoll, recently wrote that the former Mars Hill pastor could be planning to plant a church in Arizona.

"In recent weeks, several individuals have contacted me with tips that Driscoll is preparing to plant a church in Phoenix, Arizona," he wrote on May 4. "In recent days, the buzz has intensified from several independent sources which leads me to believe the information is credible. The moves appear to be at the exploratory stage at this point which means that a plant may not materialize."

Earlier this month, Driscoll made a public appearance at the Thrive Conference at Bayside Church in California where he spoke about how his family has suffered over the past several months and how he's relying on God to help him forgive those who have wronged him, according to Gospel Herald.

"I don't want to take this opportunity to talk about me — I want spend this time to serve you," he was quoted as telling attendees at the conference. "When sin happens, someone has to pay. Forgiveness is where the offended pays. As shepherds, we can sometimes preach a message of forgiveness without practicing it."

In his resignation letter, Driscoll admitted that "aspects of my personality and leadership style, had proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context" and that he was resigning because he did not want "to be the source of anything that might detract from our church's mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ."

The Mars Hill Board of Overseers' statement on his resignation affirmed that although "pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner," they did not find cause for him "to be disqualified from pastoral ministry."

Mars Hill has sold or transferred all property. The Mars Hill name and brand was completely dissolved at the end of the last year.

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