Most of you who read this blog will know that Mark Driscoll’s visit to us in the summer was phenomenal and had huge impact upon us.
His disarming way and extraordinary spiritual authority came to us at a crucial time in our growth and development. He stimulated and challenged us about the pace of growth amongst us and it was so healthy to get a spiritual ‘kick up the backside’ from a guy who himself is planting churches at a phenomenal rate as well as building a great church in Seattle.
We were particularly stirred about his aggressive commitment to growth and his challenge to us to accelerate our church planting.
His expectation for a church to duplicate meetings, and even to multiply the sites of meetings with the aid of video links, was also provocative and worth consideration, especially in some of our larger cities.
His challenge for us to make public a clear doctrinal commitment will also be considered. We had already thought it was time for us to re-state and circulate our vision and values in a way that is easily comprehensible and genuinely helpful. We shall be following this up.
Our training programmes will be more focussed on church planting preparation as a direct result of his challenge. We realise that we are working hard on developing the skills of pastors but we need to be more intentional about training up church planters. This will inevitably take some time.
He highlighted areas where we may be slowing down and where some of our values might hinder growth. On reflection we have considered how we call ourselves a ‘family’ of churches together on a mission. God spoke to us about being together some years ago when John Groves had an extraordinary vision of a herd of elephants charging into new territory, including the phrase ‘you can accomplish more together than apart’.
In adding the word ‘family’ we may have added a slightly cosy perspective with added ‘family values’. We will be considering the implications and, though we are keen to continue our emphasis on strong relationships, we realise that international growth can challenge ‘family’ attitudes.
Multiplied apostolic spheres must develop across the nations which are held together by strong ties of love, trust and loyalty, but we must beware of any nostalgia hindering our ability to follow the Lord in wholehearted and radical advance.
Lastly, there was the challenge to ‘honour the future’ and not to overmuch ‘honour the founder’. We will be taking definite steps in this connection by inviting young guys into contexts where they can learn and participate with us in our planning. Also, more young guys will be invited to the platform of Together on a Mission. We will aim to respond to Mark Driscoll’s word to take steps to prepare for our future.
I thought you might be interested in some of these developments. It’s also a great joy for me to be frequently in touch with Mark who has become a good friend and a constant encouragement.