Book Review of Mark Driscoll’s, “Confessions of a Reformission Rev. : Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church”

Posted: November 30, 2007 by Rick Hogaboam in Book Reviews, Ecclesiology (Church Stuff)
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Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church (The Leadership Network Innovation)

Having already read Driscoll’s, “The Radical Reformission”, I decided that reading the sequel would be helpful. The sequel is really how the principles of a “radical reformission” work in real church life. Driscoll makes it clear that it was far from easy at first and is frank and transparent about the struggles on him and his family. Dealing with nutjobs, ambitious heretics, masturbating men, and angry punkers can definitely stress one out. Driscoll was commited and faithful in his attempts to reach the apathetic Seattle demographic and it eventually paid off.

The Seattle folks value authenticity and creativity. Driscoll and Mars Hill appear to be every bit of that. Having been dubbed “the cussing pastor” by Donald Miller, Driscoll wears his emotions on his sleeve and sticks to his guns. At the same time, Driscoll manifests the humility and teachibility neccesary to grow and mature and such is evident in this book. His creativity is quite courageous as he has preached R-Rated sermons on sexuality, has led bootcamps for young men, teaching them everything about Biblical manhood (including how to please their future wives physically). To all this, I saw that the proof is in the pudding. Though I have not been to Mars Hill or met Driscoll, the very fact that there is even one testimony in his book about a young man who matured into a Godly man attests to Driscoll’s calling and the work of God through this ministry. This is the case in the following excerpt from the book about a 3 AM call Driscoll received at his home:

I answered it in a stupor, and on the other line was some college guy who was crying. I asked him what was wrong and he said it was an emergency and he really needed to talk to me. Trying to muster up my inner pastor, I sat down and tried to pretend I was concerned. I asked him what was wrong, and he rambled a while about nothing, which usually means that a guy has sinned and is wasting time with dumb chitchat because he’s ashamed to just get to the point and confess. So I interrupted him blurting out, “It’s three a.m., so stop jerking me around. What have you done?”

“I masturbated”, he said.

“That’s it?” I said.

“Yes”, he replied. “Tonight I watched a porno and I masturbated.”

“Is the porno over?” I asked.

“Yes”, he said.

“Well, you’ve already watched the whole porno and tugged your tool, so what am I supposed to do?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said. “You are my pastor, so I thought that maybe you could pray for me.”

To be honest, I did not want to pray, so I just said the first thing that came to mind. “Jesus, thank you for not killing him for being a pervert. Amen,” I prayed. “Alright, well you should sleep good now, so go to bed and don’t call me again tonight because I’m sleeping and you are making me angry,” I said.

“Well, what am I supposed to do now?” he asked.

“You need to stop watching porno and crying like a baby afterward and grow up, man. I don’t have time to be your accountability partner, so you need to be a man and nut up and take care of this yourself. A naked lady is good to look at, so get a job, get a wife, ask her to get naked, and look at her instead. Alright?” I said.

“Alright. Thanks, Pastor Mark,” he said as I hung up the phone and walked back to bed shaking my head.

You may think I’m a jerk of a counselor, but I think deep down most other pastors think like I do and just don’t say what they think because they lack whatever deep psychological problem I have that prevents me from filtering my words through a grid of propriety. The truth is that the guy actually did what I told him and today has a wife and some kids and no longer watches porno. (pgs 59-60)

This account is just one of many in this book that exposes the inner-life of a church planting pastor and the progression of a church on a mission to reach the lost. This book also traces the theological and ecclesiological growth of Pastor Driscoll and the church. This is important to note because this is what distinguishes him from the trendy hip emergent churches that have instead trampled on theological boundaries. Driscoll does not check his theology and convictions at the door in the name of relevancy, but is instead gripped by a high Christology that informs all he does in ministry. Case in point, Mars Hill conducts a “Gospel Class”, which basically introduces folks to the theology and mission of the church. If people are unable to agree with this, then they are asked to go elsewhere. Mars Hill seeks to be a giving and missional community in Seattle and such can’t be achieved with a bunch of disgruntled leeches in the church, so they simply get rid of them, rather than accommodate them like in some seeker-friendly churches. I know its cliche, but Mars Hill challenges their people to ask not what the church can do for them but rather what they can do for the lost people of Seattle. It is so refreshing to see a thriving church that doesn’t look upon the lost as consumers and try to package Jesus in a nice attractive sales pitch, but instead maintains theological orthodoxy and contends for lost souls be BEING Jesus through incarnational ministry, much like what missionaries do…this the tab, “Missional”.

This is one of teh most refreshing reads in along time on pastoral ministry. Most books out there make me want to puke. Ministry is often viewed as a business and the pastor is seen as a CEO who is to reach the community much like a business does in their startegic marketing. Much of the books out there are Christ-less. Kudos to Driscoll and continued blessings on Mars Hill!!!



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