3 Leadership lessons from Mark Driscoll


Leadership is not about the leader. Leadership is about leading people. One of Mark Discroll’s friends recalls: “The Mark I knew was a pretty humble guy, one of the first guys to set up chairs at a meeting, always about giving credit to other people… At some point, Mark started believing his own press, that he was the most important part of the church.” Megachurches are often popular because of a charismatic mega leader. The success of a megachurch depends on that leader becoming the face of the church. Speaking tours, book sales, and interviews help fuel persona of a megachurch pastor. It appears Driscoll fell into rock-star-pastor trap.

Leadership is not about silencing critics. Leadership is about engaging critics. Former elders, board members, and staff recalled that when there was opposition facing Mark Driscoll he would intimidate, silence, or dismiss critics. In leadership, leaders need meet with those who have questions or objections. Not everyone will agree with a leader’s decisions but people will go where a leader leads if that leader gives an opportunity for people to be heard. Founder’s syndrome often plagues leaders who do not like to deal with critics.

Leadership is not a dictatorship. Leadership is about accountability. Mark Driscoll was not accountable to anyone. The Mars Hill structure allowed for Driscoll to be the head of everything. Bylaws were changed so that this remained so. The lack of transparency and accountability contributed to a church culture of dysfunction and fear. Only a small group of people knew how much Driscoll was paid and where church money went. Leaders need to be held accountable by a group of people in order that the best interests of the organization are upheld.

Comments 13

  • all that anger bleed into everything though no matter how big of a ham he became imho

  • Driscoll!!!! Amazing pastor

  • There are four leading causes of heart disease.
    The first type is guilt, struggling with guilt in secret you will notice this in their leadership, because underlying guilt is simply this: it’s an attitude that says I owe you, I owe you. I owe you.

    The guilty leader finds it difficult to trust other people. Because in themself they don’t trust themself. They know that they’re not acting trustworthy, so therefore no one else is acting trustworthy so they can’t trust anybody. The guilty leader builds walls instead of communities. Because you need something to protect your secret. The guilty leader comes across distant and distracted.
    The guilty leader often overreacts to people who share their weakness, so what I mean by that is listen, if you ever see a preacher on TV who is focussing very hard on one particular sin, I promise you somewhere deep in their heart they struggle with it. You always preach your weakness. My weakness is that legalistic sort of wondering if God likes me because I’ve done bad things sort of thing.
    So somewhere deep down in my heart, somewhere deep down in my heart if I messed up bad enough when I lay my head down at night I wonder if God likes me. I wonder, I struggle with that hard so when you listen to my preaching what does it focus on? It’s a lot of grace and Jesus is nice.
    Everybody ministers and everybody leads out of their weakness. The consequences of that are a culture of suspicion. Everybody’s wondering is someone out to get me? What’s their motive there? This is where on a staff in a church this will kill a church, this will kill an organisation.

  • First is guilt, second one is anger. Anger has the underlying heart attitude you owe me, you owe me. So guilt is I owe you and that’s unhealthy; anger is you owe me. Now here are the traits of angry leaders: angry leaders overreact to unmet expectations. Angry leaders are prone to fix blame on individuals rather than systems, so instead of looking at the system of the organisation and how we can change that we fix the blame on one particular person or this particular thing.
    Angry leaders punish failure and more often than not someone with anger in their heart, they refuse to accept responsibility for their own failures. So here’s the consequences of that. A culture of fear where you’re scared to mess up all the time; a culture of cover up so then you have a lot of secrets which produce more guilt, then you’ve got a real mess; a culture where right is defined by what pleases the boss instead of what’s the best for the organisation. You don’t ever want a culture that’s defined by what pleases one man. You want a culture that’s defined by what’s best for the organisation.

  • So the next one, first one is guilt, second one’s anger, third one is greed. So guilt is I owe you, anger is you owe me, greed is I owe me, I owe me. Here are some traits of a greedy leader and if you find this to be true about yourself we’re going to have to deal with this okay.
    The greedy leader is reluctant to share the credit. That doesn’t make you bad. It makes you normal okay. Everybody deals with this stuff. The greedy leader is reluctant to share the rewards of success, so they want to sort of hoard it to themself. The greedy leader will change the rules in the middle of the game to suit them – nothing’s more frustrating than that.

  • The fourth type of problem in all leader’s hearts is jealousy. Jealousy has the underlying thought, it’s an entitlement thought. It is God owes me. I deserve something. Do you ever get secretly offended when you’re not noticed? That’s a sign of jealousy in your heart. The jealous leader is quick to point out the failures of others. Why? Because they think they’re entitled to the promotion, and if someone else doesn’t get the promotion then they will. The jealous leader is reluctant to facilitate someone else’s success. Although the spiritual principle is this: whatever you make happen for others God makes happen for you. So actually if you want God to bless your side of the ministry, the best thing for you to do is to partner with someone else in a different department and help them win. That’s the spiritual principle. God will handle the rest for you.

    Number three, a jealous leader is threatened by talented or popular people in the organisation. You see this a lot in transition, like when an organisation goes through transition and someone else comes in and their gifts are obvious, boy the jealousy comes out. Listen, when someone walks in and they’re obviously more gifted in a certain area than you, if you get jealous – that’s where it challenges the jealousy in your heart. When you have a transition of authority rebellion comes out. Why? Because someone who has rebellion in their heart, once the authority structure is set someone with rebellion in their heart will figure out a way to manipulate the system in order to get what they want. When you change the authority structure now those same people have to come up with a new way. They have to start all over and that’s bad. It’s bad.

    Number four, the jealous leader measures success in terms of other’s failures. So the variable in a jealous leader’s thing of success is how is everybody else failing, not how is the organisation winning. Now here are the consequences of that: a culture filled with negativity. Why? When there are turf wars and there’s all of this stuff and you don’t want anybody else to win because if they win it means you lose, then it’s filled with negativity with everybody pointing out the problems of everybody else. Two, a culture void of leadership development. The reason you can’t develop new leaders in that culture and that environment is because no one wants anybody else to win. Someone with a real leadership gift will not tolerate being in an environment where it’s impossible for them to win. They won’t do it. They’ll leave. Number three, it’s a culture that does not recognise and celebrate high achievers.

  • Joshwa Bedford too bad Mars Hill ended that way

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