You read about this in the Morning News, but here's the video of yesterday's announcement by Pastor Mark Driscoll that he's taking at least six weeks off from Mars Hill Church while the church's board investigates the many charges against him. Warren Throckmorton has published a transcript of the full list of Driscoll's promises, but it's worth watching this video in order to gauge the speech's emotional impact: Driscoll gets choked up multiple times and he receives a standing ovation at the end of the video as his family embraces him.
I've gotta be honest: As an outside observer of Driscoll and the church, it's hard not to be cynical while watching this video. We've seen any number of teary celebrity pastors fall from grace only to be climb back into the warmth of the spotlight in a relatively brief amount of time. And I do think there's reason for my cynicism. Over at Religion News Service, Sarah Pulliam Bailey notes that there was a VIP in attendance for Driscoll's speech:
Mark DeMoss, an Atlanta public relations consultant and former adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, has been brought in to work with the congregation.
DeMoss, who represented the late Jerry Falwell Sr. and now Franklin Graham, said he attended the services in Seattle today on his own expense as Driscoll’s friend.
“I think he’s a gifted, biblical communicator who has done effective church work in an unchurched part of the country,” DeMoss said. “I like him, I believe in him, and if I only worked with ministry leaders who were faultless, I would be out of business tonight.”
So DeMoss says he flew to Mars Hill on his own dime this weekend, but is he going to work with Driscoll in the future? If so, is he going to do the work pro bono, or is someone going to have to foot the bill? One of the many controversies circling Mars Hill lately is the fact that the church paid to place Driscoll's book on the New York Times Bestseller list. Surely Mars Hill wouldn't use church funds to hire DeMoss's PR services to oversee the Mark Driscoll Comeback Tour? That would be fantastically stupid of them, wouldn't it?