At the recent Acts 29 Pastors and Wives Retreat, Mark Driscoll spoke on Movements and Renewal, pointing out that Acts 29 has moved from being a Network to becoming a Movement. Of course, time will tell. My respect for Driscoll and Acts 29 shot through the roof over these four days. Driscoll’s address was a significant part of that. He addressed Movements & Renewal, littering his talk with pastoral exhortations. Hopefully the audio will be up soon.
For now, I’d like to highlight some of his remarks that are well worth considering. Note this a personal summary; quotations indicate direct quote from Driscoll. In classic Lovelacian form, Driscoll avered that Movements of God are precipiated by the whim of the Spirit and personal and communal renewal (if you haven’t read Dynamics of Spiritual Life by Richard Lovelace order it now). From what I can recall, Driscoll noted seven characteristics of lasting movements:
- Lasting movements can only ultimately be attributed to a unique work of God. “Movements are fueled by a passion to increase the number of people worshipping Jesus Christ as God.”
- Lasting movements are typically strated by a movement leader who faces controversy and criticism.
- Lasting movements are characterized by “lives transformed in larger than typical numbers not unlike a revival…”
- Lasting movements are frequently started among young people.
- Lasting movements plant churches.
- Lasting movements use new technology to communicate the gospel (Horseback/Great Awakening; Printing Press/Reformation; Internet/Acts 29) . “Something in the culture has changed and a new model ministry is leading the pioneering of a solution.”
- Lasting movements exert an external influence that is beyond measure.
- Heretics are good for lasting movements; they help clarify what is central to the movement and develop theological precision.
- Lasting movements produce auxiliary organizations to manage growth.
- Lasting movements inevitably leave behind doctrinal and practical clean-up.
Pastoral Exhortation: “Shoot the wolves, not the shepherds, sheep or goats.”
Driscoll exhorted A29 pastors to not become embroiled in in-house debates, shooting fellow shepherds over best missional practices. This happens way too much among missional planters and blogosphere addicts. Younger planters tend to think they have the latest and best form of missional communities or whatever. At one point said something to the effect of: “Some of you don’t like that I do video venue. Well, i don’t care. I don’t like your band. Some dude strumming an acoustic instead of rockin out. It doesn’t matter. If we are going to be a movement, we are going to have stop shooting one another.” As churches grow there will be plenty of critics, fellow shepherds need not be among these. Rather, shepherds should encourage one another, guard the sheep, win the goats, and shoot the heretics. Mark obviously wasn’t suggesting that we literally shoot anyone, but rather that in assuming the task of watching our life and doctrine closely and shepherding the flock of God, we clearly mark out heretical teaching.