Mark Driscoll, the former senior pastor of Mars Hill Church, in Seattle, Washington, alongside his wife, Grace, just announced the launch of a new church in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Trinity Church will start sometime in early 2016.
At the moment, the exact location is unknown, but there is an established website to keep up to date with the launch details.
Driscoll recently went public with the news in a five-minute video announcement (below). In it, he discusses the struggles and joys of starting a new church in Arizona.
During the video, Driscoll is back to his usual form, speaking with pastorly tones, adding color commentary with short quips, but there’s also an air of hesitancy and humility in his voice.
At one point, Mark asks Grace what she’s looking forward to the most about the new church plant and she responds by saying that she, and the kids, are so excited to hear him preach again.
At this, Driscoll is overwhelmed with emotion. “You’re gonna make me cry. I wasn’t expecting that,” Mark said, holding back the tears for a brief moment.
The heavy emotions come as no surprise considering their recent ministry history. A little over a year ago, Driscoll resigned from his leadership of Mars Hill Church, a church he planted in 1996 out of his living room.
During a difficult ministry season, the board of Mars Hill examined Driscoll’s leadership and concluded he was prideful, angry and domineering and they decided he should take a break to heal and possibly return in a few months.
However, shortly after that conversation, Driscoll offered his resignation. A few months after he resigned, Mars Hill Church ceased to exist.
So, how should ministry leaders respond to Mark’s new work in Phoenix? Well, it’s complicated. There’s reason to be critical of such a quick restart. There are questions about growth and accountability–and no one in the church wants to see another 10,000 member megachurch disband over poor leadership.
However, in the words of Gamaliel, when forced to decide about the legitimacy of Peter and the Apostles’ ministry, maybe, just maybe, we should leave it alone?
“So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” (Acts 5: 38-40 NLT)
Besides, we can trust in the fact that God is always at work to bring more and more people to Himself—and if he wants to use Mark and Grace regardless of their past, he certainly can.