In what could be deemed as a re-introduction to the faith community, Pastor Mark Driscoll attended NewSpring Church pastor Perry Noble's Most Excellent Way to Lead Conference in early March and shared a new vision for himself and his ministry.
"I genuinely am in a season of learning," Driscoll told Pastor Perry Noble during an on-stage interview that recounted the ex-Mars Hill pastor's early years in ministry — which Driscoll likened to being a kite in a hurricane — and only hinted at the demise of Mars Hill Church.
Driscoll explained that God is preparing him for a new role in his ministry. "I really feel that the next season that God is preparing me for is to minister as a father, as a spiritual father, who has the same affection and devotion and heart for people that I do for my own children," he said. "And I'm a pretty emotional, affectionate, present dad — by God's grace — and I feel that that's the next season of leadership that God has for me."
The pastor shared how he is learning about the "father heart" of God, recalling a situation when his words had once wounded a young believer.
"I had hurt him with something I had said," Driscoll began, explaining that his words to the young man were nothing different from what his peers had already told him. "'Yeah, but they're brothers, but you're a father,'" Driscoll recalled the man as saying.
The young believer explained that he considered Driscoll to be a father figure, which ultimately led the pastor to believe that there weren't enough men modeling how to be a good father.
"There is now a generation of young men that have got to figure out how to make that transition into spiritual fathering … There's podcasts and books and lectures, but there's not anybody to watch, and a lot of life is through observation."
Driscoll intends to be that spiritual example, spending more than a year "learning from the Father [how] to be a good father, and learning from the Father [how] to be a spiritual father."
The pastor's efforts may help to reverse a disturbing trend among American families. According to a 2012 report published by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of "family" households in America has seen a steep drop, from 81 percent in 1970, to only 66 percent in 2012.
Driscoll will likely put his convictions into practice at his newly formed Trinity Church in Arizona, which the pastor announced Feb. 1. The church, which says it hasn't officially launched, will host its first gathering — described as a "modest open house and prayer meeting" — on Easter Sunday, as previously reported by The Christian Post.
The Easter proceedings will take place at Scottsdale's Glass Garden Drive-In Church, which The Trinity Church is renting. Trinity's website explained that Driscoll spent months praying for a church facility with 1,000 or more seats that was situated along the 101 Freeway. Having found the mid-century modern structure that seats 1,400, " … Pastor Mark believes that God has supernaturally provided."
Mark Driscoll continues to mount a comeback after his resignation as senior pastor of Seattle-based Mars Hill Church in October 2014 following a confluence of events that marred his reputation, including allegations of plagiarism and fostering an abusive work environment. Two weeks after Driscoll's resignation, Mars Hill Church announced that it would dissolve.