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My aim in working through these episodes is to help folks think through the church they attend, the leadership culture of their church, and, potentially, identify things that might not be apparent. I will not provide a “Monday morning play-by-play” critique. I hope you will gain personal insight through this review as well as applications to your teachers and the church you attend.
1 – Jesus: The verse that became louder and louder throughout the podcast was “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). No question, Mark Driscoll was big and God was small. Many of the other celebrity preachers Mike talked about are the same.
2 – Pragmatism: There was a critical moment Mike presented when Mark Driscoll was speaking to Robert Schuller at the Crystal Cathedral. Mark said, “I yell a lot and get excited. It’s working.” I talked about pragmatism in my review of episode one.
3 – Leader Qualities: Mike made an excellent point about the divergence between a leader’s charisma and character. If you place the accent mark on charisma, you will build upon the leader’s personality. If you put the accent mark on the character, Christ will be big, which will be a completely different kind of leader and church experience.
4 – Charismatic Leader: With charismatic leaders, the church turns inward with a focus on the leader—his qualities: charisma, vision, boldness, and even narcissism. People will say, “Come hear my pastor; he’s terrific” (John 3:30).
If you place charisma over character, the pastor will be the de facto leader, and he’ll soon demand loyalty over honesty. You will self-censor.
Irony: The Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy in 2010, and they sold it in 2012. Mars Hill dissolved in 2014. Bill Hybels and Willow Creek have their story of dysfunction too. The organizations built the ministries on the charisma of the leaders.
5 – Leader or Scripture: Oswald Chambers said, “An unguarded strength is a double weakness.” Mark Driscoll had several unguarded strengths. Mike was interviewing someone who talked about Mark not having flaws but features, and then this person listed some of Mark’s features: sharp tongue, a quick mind, and bravado. They built a ministry on those features, among others.
Without biblical authority as the main thing and the character of the leader as the primary quality, the charismatic church leader becomes the authority, and the followership will realign themselves to what the pastor sanctions. He is the authority.
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