Being Fishers of Men…
I like Mark Driscoll. He’s a thirty-six year old pastor of Mars Hill church (not to be confused with Rob Bell’s Mars Hill Bible Church…) in Seattle, Washington. For those of you who like the labels, he describes himself as first Christian, second evangelical, third missional, and fourth reformed. Apart from that you really need to listen to him to see what he’s like.
He’s big into church planting. A good thing. And he’s big into reaching the totally unchurched. Those for whom church is another world. Church planting for the unchurched. Bigtime. To blow away those cobwebs, take a look at an eight-minute video he made for a church-planting conference here. He also said this:
So the question is if you want to be innovative: How do you get young men? All this nonsense on how to grow the church. One issue: young men. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. They’re going to get married, make money, make babies, build companies, buy real estate. They’re going to make the culture of the future. If you get the young men you win the war, you get everything. You get the families, the women, the children, the money, the business, you get everything. If you don’t get the young men you get nothing. You get nothing.
He’s got a point, and he’s doing everything he can in response to it.
‘bigger subwoofer for their retarded car’ hahaha
So, to be honest, I’m not a big fan of Mark Driscoll. And I totally disagree that to grow the church you just need to target the young men, because I think he is profoundly misguided to claim that in the (post)modern world, it is men who are going to “make the culture of the future”.Sure within conservative/reformed/fundamentalist/evangelical circless the patriarchal model of the family still exists, but in the rest of the world (which is presumably who Driscoll is trying to convert) such attitudes are recongised as not only sexist, but also untrue. Women too will get married, make money, “make babies”, build companies, buy real estate…Growing churches is more complicated than simply being about the “one thing” of getting the young men.
Thanks for your words Mary. I’d like to agree; to say growing the church is about “one thing” does sound pretty simplistic. I have little experience of church planting and reaching the unchurched, but from what I’ve seen of it in action and from those I’ve spoken to (and no doubt it’s limited to certain demographics), the Christianity that is thrown out to reach the lost often brings in a predominantly female crowd. I’d like to check out why that is, no doubt there’s a whole host of reasons. It would be a travesty to endorse a Christianity that men see as irrelevant and ‘just for the wives’. To that end, I do think churches need to be specifically aiming to reach men (that’s not to say not reaching women, but aware they need to be aiming for men too), and I like Driscoll’s passion to do this; from what I’ve read his church is certainly doing that.
I agree that its a travesty to endorse a Christianity “just for the wives”, or indeed “just for the husbands”, Christianity clearly has a wider ranging remit than that.So I agree that we need to be specifically trying to make the gospel understandable to everyone, and be careful not to neglect the men. My problem with Driscoll is that he has an outdated understanding of the status of women in society and marriages, and seems to imply that attracting the men will mean that their family will tag along for free.