Mark Driscoll has a knack for drawing crowds—and dividing them. The brash pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle has more than his share of fans and critics. But we weren't interested in his latest controversy or faux pas. Leadership Journal's Drew Dyck talked to Driscoll about coping with busyness and burnout. What emerged was a picture of an introverted family man with a blue-collar work ethic and a heart for the local church.
Early in your ministry, you suffered a bad case of burnout. What happened?
When we planted the church, I didn't get paid by the congregation for about three years. We were broke as a joke. We were meeting just at night in the cheapest room we could find. By the time I got paid by the church, we had two kids. So I was doing side jobs and some outside speaking to bring in money. Nothing big, just a college retreat here and there, trying to make ends meet. Then as the church started to grow, quite frankly, I didn't know how to run an organization. And the next thing you know, we got a building given to us, and we start adding some staff. But I was the only pastor until we had 800 people.
With 800 people and you were doing all the pastoral work?
I did all the preaching, all the premarital preparation, all the counseling, all the hospital visits. I had a few other leaders who were volunteers, but I was the only pastor on staff. Later we got a building that seated a lot more, and we had another surge where we grew about a thousand people a year. And a lot of those people were new Christians. It takes 10 minutes to see somebody become a Christian, but 10 years to see them become a viable leader. And so you've got this leadership vacuum.
I come from a blue collar background. ...