MacDonald starts the discussion by asking Driscoll how many locations and services he has. Driscoll answers that he has 10 church sites and about “24-ish” services. MacDonald lists off the number of HBC’s sites (five) and services (13), and mentions that thousands are attending and being baptized. He then turns to Dever, calling him a “brother, mentor, theological genius,” and adding, “You’re smarter than I’ll ever be, but you don’t have multisite, you don’t even have multi-services.”
Dever could clearly be successful in following the multisite model, says MacDonald, because of his gift for preaching and the fact that his church is already growing. After inviting Dever to explain why he has not chosen to pursue this strategy, MacDonald adds, “We’ll tell you why we are right in a minute.”
Dever, however, does not even get a chance to present his position. He starts by stating that the word “ecclesia,” which is found in the New Testament and is commonly translated as “church,” means “assembly.”
Driscoll interrupts, asking, “According to?” When Dever answers,“The Bible,” Driscoll responds, “Come on,” as though there could not possibly be any evidence for what Dever is saying.
As Dever tries to explain the basis for that definition, Driscoll repeatedly interrupts by saying “According to?” Both he and MacDonald then jump in with their arguments for a multisite model, preventing Dever from sharing his position.
As the three men continue the discussion, MacDonald and Driscoll repeat this tactic, allowing each other to speak, but interrupting Dever. They also spend more time defending their own position than they do asking Dever about his and seem most willing to allow him to speak when he has a question for them.
Notably, MacDonald points to his own renown and influence as a reason for holding his point of view. Because people know about him and trust him, they will want to come to one of HBC’s church sites and watch a video stream of him, instead of someone else preaching in person.
At one point, Driscoll says that his congregants see him preach about 75 percent of the time, even in Mars Hill’s Albuquerque location. Dever asks, “Are you concerned that it builds people too much into you particularly?”
Driscoll says no. “Actually, it does the opposite. I mean, they’re more addicted to you. They have to come talk to you, shake your hand, be in the same room with you, get around the Shekinah Glory. And for me, I’m not even there.”