SEATTLE – In a surprise announcement, senior pastor Mark Driscoll introduced Beth Moore as the new junior teaching pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. In a very carefully worded announcement, Driscoll took the platform Sunday morning and introduced Moore in her new position. “This morning I am totally pumped to introduce the newest member of the pastoral teaching staff here at Mars Hill. Most of you know her. It’s Beth Moore. She’s a real catch for our congregation, and I anticipate Mars Hill growing numerically by 30% to 50% in the next few weeks.”
Driscoll, whose church has traditionally been somewhat rigid on the role of women in higher level positions in the church, explained, “This is okay, because she’s not the senior pastor. We’ve been very clear about it. She’s just the junior teaching pastor, so there’s really nothing to worry about.” As he spoke, many present reported gasps in the audience. Somewhere between 30% and 50% of the congregation marched out of the auditorium before he could even complete his announcement.
According to reports, Driscoll made the hire unilaterally because he knew if he involved the church board in the decision, “I wouldn’t have stood a chance at getting approval. But since I’m the senior pastor, I had the right to make the hire.”
A board member, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said, “I’ve had my reservations but have decided to support Mark’s decision. It’s about church growth. Let’s be brutally honest—Beth is way better looking than Mark. There’s no telling how big our church would have been if Mark had been as good-looking as Beth. I’d put Beth right up there with J. Lo—but with incredible biblical knowledge.”
Several other board members agreed but didn’t think that was the only factor. Another commented, “Beth is also a far better teacher than Mark. She can run circles around him theologically and quotes her verses word for word from the right translation. She just nails them where Mark occasionally slides down into paraphrasing. Beth’s just pretty hard to say no to.”
Dr. John MacArthur, who has been somewhat of a mentor to Driscoll, had only one comment. “Frankly, it’s not biblical for Mark to be the senior pastor or for Beth to be the junior pastor because the words ‘senior’ and ‘junior’ just aren’t in the Bible. But at least Mark wasn’t cussing about it. So I’m feeling a lot better about the situation than I would have been otherwise.”
Moore’s salary was not disclosed, but someone close to the situation described the total compensation package as valued in the “low seven figures.” Leaders figured they would recoup the added expense within three to four months by offerings given by the 30% to 50% increase in attendance. Driscoll concluded his announcement with a robust statement: “This is pretty much the biggest no-brainer in the history of the universe. I hope it’ll be just awesome. April is no time for fooling around—let’s get cracking and grow this church!”
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