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Driscoll and Hybels: my take

I've held off for almost a week on this.

For those of you not aware, Mark Driscoll made a 9 minute video that was shown at last week's National New Church Conference in Orlando, FL. I went to this event last year but frankly wasn't impressed and chose not to go this year. I may reconsider going the next time around depending on conversations with guys (and gals) who went this year. I thought their survey process was great last year so they could have made huge improvements from my first impression... I digress.

Anyway, last year Driscoll who leads the Acts 29 network, spoke at this event. I thought he was the best speaker on the stage by far. This year he was invited back but chose not to attend. The good people at NNCC invited him to present a video instead. Check out Driscoll's blog for more detail.

During his video he spoke about the need for real men in church planting. This is one of Driscoll's main issues. I personally believe he's right. Well apparently after the video aired (I wasn't there so look at other blogs including TallSkinyKiwi for a blow-by-blow)... Bill Hybels makes a comment that women are valued in the church world too... there was laughter and applause.

Driscoll posted his thoughts and the video on his blog.

I have a few thoughts about this:

Does anyone offer biblical rationale behind a disagreement with Driscoll?

Did he say anything biblically wrong or are some just uncomfortable with it so they laugh and clap at Hybels breaking the tension? It's easier to laugh than think about the substance.

I don't know that I like Hybels using a serious challenge by Driscoll as an opportunity for an applause line. Driscoll has documented his need to take care of his body and limit his travel for health reasons. He's also documented his passion to plant churches and see people come to repentance and freedom in Christ. In an attempt to balance both passions, he and his crew spent time to film, edit, produce and burn 1800 copies of this DVD. In response to a challenging video that made some people uncomfortable, Hybels dismisses the point (and by extension Driscoll's efforts) by giving the audience the impression that Mark's comments were anti-women. They weren't. They were pro-men. I'd like to hear biblical discussion on Mark's points... not jabs at a video screen making light of a man whom you've never met.

Whether you agree with Mark or not you must admit he's one of the VERY FEW Pastors we have in our country who are open to actual discourse and debate over his theological convictions. I've listened to a debate he had on the issue of Women in Ministry and he's always been open to discussing this with others. In fact my understanding is that Mark is for women in every level of leadership apart from the role of Senior Pastor. He affirms women and their role in the church and he believes as Hybels does that women are valuable to the church. Unfortunately Hybels thought he'd get some humor at Driscoll's expense and dismiss the point of Driscoll's efforts. It's not the end of the world but I find it to be in poor taste.

While nit-picking and arguing with fellow Pastors is a waste of everyone's time and energy, I think it would be nice to have honest and open discussions on challenges we face in the culture today.

Regardless of what you think of Driscoll's view, strong masculine leadership is present at some of today's up and coming churches. Perry Noble at NewSpring, Steven Furtick at Elevation and Gary Lamb at Ridgestone are just a few examples. Hybels is from the era of drama and lighting while Driscoll is coming from an era in need of strong male leadership.

I think Driscoll's points should be discussed and not made to be something they weren't. Next Sunday take a look at your church audience and see if what he's saying holds weight. I know for our church this is a major issue that needs to be addressed and I appreciated Driscoll's reminder. In our current small group I was the only male in attendance last week. It's sad. I think Driscoll sees something that many Pastors are afraid to admit. I'd hope we could push through the nervous giggles and explore the truth behind the words.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, May 01, 2007

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