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6 Reasons Why I’m Not Going Anywhere

Dear Mars Hill, It’s that time of year again when my family and I head out for a few weeks of vacation together. Recent weeks have been perhaps the most exhausting and packed of my entire ministry, so I am really looking forward to and needing the break with my family. In light of some pastors leaving their pastorate, taking long sabbaticals, leaving ministry, or moving on to new opportunities, I felt compelled to let you know that I will be back. I say this not to criticize anyone else, but to answer a question I have been getting as to how long I foresee remaining at Mars Hill Church. Like a husband and father often tells his wife and kids he loves them and is devoted to them, I believe it is important for a pastor to regularly offer the same assurances to the church he serves. After vacation, I will be coming back to Mars Hill. I won’t be coming back to Mars Hill because I love the weather, traffic, or cost of living in Seattle. But there are many reasons why I will be back, in no particular order.
  1. I will be back because Grace and I feel called to the ministry of Jesus at Mars Hill Church. When I was 19, God called me to do four things: marry Grace, preach the Bible, plant churches, and train men. This has culminated in my family, our Mars Hill Church family, the Acts 29 Church-Planting Network, and The Resurgence. Simply, being able to obey God in all that he’s called me to do is a tremendous gift and great joy even in the hardest seasons. I want, by God’s grace, to be obedient to this call on my life.
  2. I will be back because Grace and I are loved, served, and supported at Mars Hill, thereby making it a very healthy and happy place for our family. My family has always been a higher priority for me than my ministry, and if Mars Hill were overly negative or toxic, we would consider moving on. Thankfully, that is categorically not the case. My family and I absolutely love the people of Mars Hill and are well-loved in return. Grace takes comfort in the fact that I am surrounded by strong real elders who are friends yet willing to say no to me and lovingly correct me as needed. I am blessed with an amazing team of people who are gifted where I am not and are enjoyable brothers and sisters in the truest sense of the words. Grace, our children, and I have deep, meaningful, sanctifying friendships in our church that mean the world to us. On the weeks when I am not preaching live, my family excitedly attends various campuses to see what God is doing. To see that my wife and our children each love not only Jesus but also our entire church and its people is a great joy. Mars Hill is very healthy place for us to flourish, and we love our church. Furthermore, that my parents, Grace’s parents, one of my brothers and his family, along with two of my sisters and their families all attend Mars Hill is a unique gift. Our family is surrounded by the loving support of our church family as well as our extended relatives who are also part of our church family.
  3. I will be back because we believe God is doing something unique that we delight in being a part of. Much grace and provision has been poured out on us. I do not believe that God blesses a man, but rather God blesses his Word, his people, and his Church. I simply do not believe I could repeat what we are enjoying at Mars Hill by doing ministry anywhere else. I say this not to boast of the ministry we enjoy, but to boast in all the grace that God has given us and to recognize that it is indeed gracious.
  4. The multi-campus strategy we are using is sustainable and healthy. Being able to distribute as campuses of various sizes and personalities is a bit like the joy of being a father watching children with various resemblances but distinct personalities grow up. Having such a large team of elders, deacons, and members deployed across the campuses is a great relief to me as I see us taking better care of more people than we have ever been able to.
  5. My heart is here. While I enjoy the opportunities for ministry that God grants outside of Mars Hill, were I allowed to only do one thing, I would easily and gladly choose to be an elder at Mars Hill, preaching God’s Word and shepherding God’s people. I have zero interest in doing anything other than being a pastor and have zero interest in being a pastor anywhere else. I am very content with where I am and what I am doing, and am very passionate about continuing to press forward together for more people worshiping Jesus more deeply.
  6. There is more to be done. I do believe, by God’s grace and if God wills, that in the years to come we will be able to plant more churches and campuses, see more people saved, more lives changed, more couples married, more children born, and more innovation pioneered. I’m excited to pursue the future together.

In closing, I am in the best season of my entire life. I am increasingly aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in and through me, which is a great joy. Grace and I are so thankful to God for all the love, joy, and oneness we enjoy; our marriage is stronger, more fun, and more passionate than ever. Our children are flourishing in all areas, and our home is filled with life and laughter. We’ve endured some painfully hard seasons to get to the season we are enjoying, and God may have more hardship he’s preparing us for in the near or short future to make us more like Jesus. As of right now, though, in everything from health to love of Jesus, closeness to Grace, connection with our five children, unity with the church leaders, and ministry fruit, this is the best season of my life and I am deeply thankful. So, we will head out for a few weeks of fun and play and making memories as a family, and be back to work in a few weeks. For Jesus’ Fame, Pastor Mark Driscoll

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