I spoke with an A29 pastor about 20 minutes ago and heard something that perplexed me. It seems that a move has been made to hand the reigns of A29 over to Matt Chandler. This was done for a number of reasons, which I am sure will all come out in the following days.
The A29 pastor I spoke with is greatly encouraged by this move, explaining that this is not something Mark Driscoll had to do, but for the better of the church, he steps aside, and the Costa Mesa of Mars Hill moves to Texas. He views this to be a courageous step of humility. I told him that I view it to be a PR nightmare avoidance maneuver, as the traction against Mark Driscoll ramps up considerably greater than the church world has ever gone after anyone before.
I see his point though.
Multiple sources report receiving this letter (UPDATE: Mark Driscoll’s letter was posted to the Acts 29 Network blog Wednesday morning):
From Mark Driscoll:
From Pastor Mark Driscoll
As a young church planter I wanted a tribe to belong to. So, I started gathering a few other young church planters for mutual learning, accountability, and encouragement. Before long, Mars Hill Church was formally supporting church planters in both the U.S. and India. Then, I met Pastor David Nicholas, whose Spanish River Church had generously supported church planters for many years. Together, we founded the Acts 29 church-planting network.
For the first years, the network offices were housed in Florida, as David served as our president. Then the offices were moved to Seattle when I assumed the presidency. Since that time, David has passed on to see the Jesus he loved face to face, and Acts 29 has grown rapidly, now totaling more than 400 churches in the U.S., as well as international church planting involvement. Since then, other qualified men have taken the reins of Acts 29 and run with the vision David and I had years ago.
Recently, I sensed that not all was well in Acts 29. As my concerns grew, I recently resumed the presidency of Acts 29 to work directly with our network captains, most influential pastors, and staff. It seemed to me that some of our relationships, board size and structure, communication, systems, and such were not as effective as we needed, which is to be expected to some degree in a large, complex, fast-growing entrepreneurial network such as ours.
Seeking wise counsel, I asked Darrin Patrick and Matt Chandler to fly to Seattle in order to meet with the executive elders of Mars Hill for a full day to decide a course of action. They graciously did so, and in our time together was a rich, true brotherhood, a renewed and deepened commitment to Acts 29, and a Spirit-lead unity.
Together, we decided, in light of all the complexity we’re facing, that the best thing for Acts 29 going forward would be for Matt Chandler to assume the presidency, move the network offices to Dallas, and select his Acts 29 staff.
In light of this, I want to sincerely thank the people of Mars Hill for investing millions of dollars over the years in Acts 29 and the people of The Village for being willing to house the Acts 29 headquarters.
As for myself, I want to humbly serve Jesus and his men in Acts 29 by doing whatever is best for them. Going forward, I will gladly remain on the Acts 29 Board supporting Matt, along with Darrin and whomever else Matt believes best fits the Board.
Mars Hill gladly stays in Acts 29 as well. I’ll be spending much of my time going forward serving all of Acts 29, pastoring at Mars Hill, helping the Resurgence, writing books, organizing preaching campaigns, and doing media interviews.
Lastly, I love Pastor Matt, respect him, and appreciate him. He is a bridge-builder across many tribes, a great Bible teacher, godly man, and geographically located in an easy place to travel to and from. His church is now large enough and well established to greatly serve Acts 29. He has my support, and I pray he would have yours as well.
From Pastor Darrin Patrick
I am delighted to follow Matt Chandler as our new president. I have spoken directly with most of our network captains, and I am encouraged that there is unity in the Spirit and desire to clarify and execute the great calling and vision that is on Acts 29. Our best days are ahead of us. I am delighted to serve on the board and look forward to retreating with you in June in So Cal!
From Pastor Matt Chandler
I am greatly humbled by the opportunity to serve our great God and King, as well as our movement, in the capacity of president of Acts 29. Our meeting in Seattle couldn’t have been more Spirit-empowered and unifying than it was, and I flew home excited and invigorated by the opportunities that are before us. There are few things that excite me like planting churches and seeing people come to know, love, and mature in Christ. So, this task allows me to serve in an area of my passion. I want to update you on what’s in our immediate future.
We are in the process of transitioning Acts 29 from Seattle to Dallas. At present that involves gathering all of the information we can on Acts 29’s budget, processes, setting up Acts 29 legally in Texas, etc.
Tyler Powell is relocating to Dallas and will continue to handle assessments and his other duties. Tyler and his family are excited about the move and the direction of the network. I personally can’t wait to get him to Dallas. He is a godly, hard-working, Spirit-led man, and I’m grateful he’s coming to DFW.
Scott Thomas is taking this transition as a chance to pursue other opportunities he has before him and will not be making the move to Dallas. Scott and I are on very good terms and had dinner just this past weekend, where he informed me of his deep love for you and the network but felt like God has released him from leading Acts 29. He is excited about what God has next for him.
We are in the process of looking for a new executive director for A29 and plan on being meticulous, prayerful, and patient about getting the right guy. Once we’ve identified and hired the new director, we will finish out the national board and introduce the full team to the network.
I have asked all the network captains, as well as a few other men I love and respect in the network, to meet me in Dallas on May 14 and 15 to look closely at Acts 29 and pray about how we might get better at planting churches, coaching our pastors, communicating more effectively, etc. Please be praying for our time together.
We will report on any changes and our future hopes and plans at the pastors retreat in Newport in June. There is much to do between then and now, so I would deeply appreciate your continued prayers for not just the board and me but also for all involved.
Men, I really believe we have been positioned by God to be a part of a spectacular move of his Spirit in our day. It’s with great anticipation and holy fear that I step out to help lead us into what God would have for us. Please let me know how we can serve you.