Let me say this: I should have waited to plant this church. I had never been a pastor in a church before I started my own church. I should have been. Had I to do it over again–I certainly would have started Mars Hill Church. God called me to that. And I rejoice that by his grace, in spite of me, things are going pretty well. But–
I had not even been a member of a church when I started my own. That’s like “I flew in a plane once: I’m ready to be a pilot.” Not really. And there’s other people on board! And that’s not safe for them! I went to a church and thought, “I could do this!” So I did.
And so much of the pain and problem in the history of Mars Hill is that my zeal was out ahead of my preparedness, particularly my humility. Arrogance, braggadociousness, pride, self-sufficiency… That hurt the health of Mars Hill early on, and I have been, by God’s grace, trying to catch up my character with my responsibility ever since.
I really want the best for you, particularly those of you who are called of God into leadership positions. Had I to do it over again, I would have become a member of a church. I would have worked through the eldership process at a church, I would have subjected myself to the elders, I would have received rebuke and correction and exhortation, they would have talked to me about my pride and my anger and my bitterness, my short temper, my self-sufficiency–a whole list of things that needed work. And I would have humbled myself, and then when they confirmed that it was time, God could have lifted me up to go start Mars Hill.
As it was, by the grace of God we have made it, and by the grace of God I am learning as I go. But, do not use me as the best example. Had I to do it over again, I would do it over again. And I would do it differently. And I think our church would be better served had I waited a few years. I believe that. Now, in the grace of God, he has been so good to me, and he’s been so good to us. But what I would say is that for those of you who are arrogant and say, “Well, Mark was arrogant and it worked for him…” Go with Plan A.
And the people to whom Peter is writing, they went with Plan A: humility, patience, subjecting themselves to the elders, God raised them up in time. By the historical record, after the first generation of leaders died and Peter himself was crucified upside-down, the church not only continued to exist, this multi-campus church, it flourished and expanded and other congregations were started. So much so, that, by the fourth century, it had been host to multiple significant theological early-church councils. It had contributed to the theological precision and protection of the Church that has served us all in the days ensuing.
Mark Driscoll, “Humble Christians”(1 Pt. 5:5b), sermon, March 17, 2009