Mars Hill Church’s controversial co-leader Mark Driscoll recently announced the opening of the Resurgence Training Center, a 36-hour graduate program in leadership for future pastors and church planters. Courses will also be taught by John Piper, Sam Storms, Ed Stetzer, Gregg Allison and Bruce Ware. The faculty also includes executive director Rick Melson and Bill Clem, a leadership coach with the Acts 29 Network, a church planting network Driscoll founded.
The new school, according to the Mars Hill Web site, is intended to develop pastoral leaders for 100 new Mars Hill campuses and 1,000 churches to be started in the next 10 years in partnership with the Acts 29 church planting network, which is exclusively Calvinistic.
In the school’s course catalog, executive director Rick Melson said the program seeks to train leaders for a “multi-site and church planting movement at Mars Hill Church.”
Ware, who will teach a course entitled “Missional Christology,” and Allison, who will teach “Missional Ecclesiology,” are both professors of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Stetzer, who will teach “Missional Missiology,” is director of LifeWay Research, a cooperative venture of LifeWay Christian Resources, the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board.
The curriculum and educational philosophy of the program – dubbed “Re:Train” – will center on three areas of focus, according to the Mars Hill Church website: Reformed, urban and missional.
Enrollment for the first year of the program was to be limited to no more than 60 students, according to a press release from Mars Hill Church. The Re:Train Web site notes the school is no longer accepting applications for 2009.
Orientation for the inaugural year was scheduled to be held Aug. 16–20.The first course offering, Ware’s “Missional Christology,” is scheduled to be offered Sept. 18–19.
Driscoll, who also is the founder of the Acts 29 church planting network, was the subject of five proposed motions at the Southern Baptist Church (SBC) annual meeting in June that centered on criticism of his past use of vulgar speech and questionable biblical interpretations and his participation as a speaker in SBC entity programs such as an annual student conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
One motion called for the investigation of Stetzer and two other SBC entity employees for their ties to Acts 29.
In mid-May, criticism was leveled at Driscoll for a crude Nov. 18, 2007, sermon on the Song of Solomon preached in Edinburgh, Scotland, that had been posted on Driscoll’s blog, The Resurgence. That sermon was cited as the cause for Bott Radio Network to ban Driscoll from appearing in its programming.
Later, in an undated post entitled “Spring Cleaning,” Driscoll announced he had pulled that content on the advice of a pastor friend and thanked critics “for teaching me that I have multiple audiences and that, in addition to the room I speak to, I am often also speaking to the world and need to keep repenting, learning and growing in this skill for the sake of the Gospel. In that way, my critics are helpful, and for them I am grateful.”
Driscoll has expressed regret over his past usage of curse words.
One of his most infamous episodes involved his use of the “F” word in the pulpit of a friend in Texas, despite the friend’s warning not to use such language.
However, preaching on the Bible’s use of strong language during a 2008 Desiring God conference, Driscoll said, “I have sinned a lot. I have said things I totally regret. … I have crossed the line. I have gone too far. I am deeply convicted over sin in my past. I am being sanctified by the grace of God. What I have said will live with me forever, and I am deeply sorrowful to Jesus, and this message for me is incredibly painful because it hits on one of the great weaknesses in my Life and some of the greatest failures of my life.”
For more information, visit TheResurgence.com/ReTrain. Copyright 2009, SBC, Baptist Press, www.BPNews.net.