Lately, I’ve been seeing allot of buzz about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill church, and I got to tell you, I just don’t care. It’s not that I don’t care about Mr. Driscoll or the people at Mars Hill Church, it’s not that I don’t care about the hurt and the brokenness that both, led to and stemmed from the problems, it’s just that I’ve gotten to a place where I’m not interested in doing research and spending time scouring the internet to learn what happened, only to form an opinion about something so I can choose a side and be mad at someone.
Here’s what I think the problem is. It’s me. It’s you. It’s us!
Let me say this first. I love church. I love fellowship. I love being with other believers and I love being a worship leader at church. I’m not anti-church, but I think we do a lot of things wrong!
First, here’s what I think church is. Most times, in the New Testament the word interpreted to “church” is the Greek word “Ekklesia” Which means: A calling out or a popular meeting or a community of members either in Heaven or on Earth. That is all. This is the term Jesus used when He told Peter “ON this rock I will build My Church”. It’s not programs, it’s not bank accounts, and it’s not organizations and councils. In fact, the calling of the church (that’s you and me and other believers in community) is spelled out in Ephesians 3:10:
10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.(NLT)
That being said, let’s look at Paul’s instruction for orderly worship:
1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.(NKJV)
You see what’s happening here? Do you see what was normal for the New Church? Participation from the congregation! I believe this is the most overlooked biblical instruction for worship in the Western church! Look what the Bible says happens when this is done:
1 Corinthians 14:24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus[c] the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.(NKJV)
How does this pertain to Mr. Driscoll? The same way it pertains to all of the folks who have fallen to pride in recent history. We depend on THEM to seek and save the lost, we think we are supposed to drag our lost friends to church where our preacher and worship team will provide them with a divine intervention and they will run to the alter and our part, our only part, is to get them to the professionals! We’re wrong. In the New Testament Church, most that were there seemed to have already been in Christ. The preaching was done in the streets to bring the lost to Jesus and then bring the new believer to church to strengthen the movement, but we have compartmentalized our “Jesus time” to Sunday mornings in such a way that the best we can do on Monday through Saturday is mutter an invitation to church where we hope that our staff can do something with them, but an invitation to Jesus is left up to those in the “ministry”. If you’re saved, you are called to ministry! (Matthew 28:19)
The main function of the New Testament Church was to prepare believers for going out, now we merely try to coherse church-goers to bring them in. we are missing so much. I think this is the reason so much scripture is taken improperly. Romans 8 and 9, for instance, was addressing racism in the church between Jews and Greeks written to a group of BELIEVERS who were there to prepare to GO OUT and build the church. The searching and “tire kicking” is meant to go on in conversations at the typical Monday morning water cooler meetings, not reserved for Sunday mornings. The leaders of the NT church devoted themselves to prayer and studying the Word to equip the saints-not convert the lost. So what happened with Mr. Driscoll? With Mr. Followell? With countless others? We, the lay-people who were meant to preach the Gospel have put them on a pedestal and asked them to do what we won’t. What we think we can’t, What the Bible clearly says we should. If these folks where equipping the saints instead of falling to the pride that comes with thinking that they have a special gift to convert sinners to Jesus, that they have a certain power that’s not obtainable to the common Christian when the Bible clearly says that, if you’re a believer, you have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, then maybe they would feel more a part of the community than the head of it, and with commonality, comes natural humility. I’m not saying they’re not wrong, I’m not saying they’re not accountable, I’m just saying that this is a good time to get busy-