Close
  • CONNECT WITH US
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Justin Dean, Former Communications Director of Mars Hill Church

Communications and PR Guru Justin Dean shares his story, truths he has learned, and what he is doing today

It is a true privilege to have had the chance to spend an hour chatting with Justin Dean. I have known about Justin for a while now having benefited from his ministry work at Mars Hill Church and now today as he works diligently to equip church leaders and churches to effectively communicate their message in a digital age.

For years, Justin led the communications department at Mars Hill Church, through an unprecedented season of growth in the Pacific Northwest. Justin leveraged social media and video to increase the impact of Mars Hill – that was what got me hooked. For years I listened to Pastor Mark Driscoll and other leaders in the Seattle megachurch. I even signed up for a year of studies through their leadership training program known as Re:Train. I am a better husband, father, man, pastor and leader because of this program.

As many of us know, Mars Hill Church closed its doors a few years back after much controversy and the resignation of the founding pastor, Mark Driscoll. Justin was on the front lines of this most difficult season. He shares his story at length with the pain, challenges but also some of the redemption stories that emerged out of this church.

Today, Justin has emerged with a strong voice in the church communication world, particularly in the PR and Social media department. You will not want to miss some of the insights he shares about working hard before a crisis hits to prepare for the inevitable one that is coming your way.

Also, at the end, we discuss some social media strategy that is timely for those who want to leverage their influence and advance the mission of their organization or business. 

Justin is a fantastic man of God and a true servant of us church leaders. I wholeheartedly endorse everything that he is offering and would encourage you to support him in any way you feel led.

Here are some links we talked about:

(This podcast is by Jon Morrison. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Real Stuff My Dad Says Slider 2

First off, if you’re offended by this week’s title, then this may not be the right article for you.  Secondly, if you do not consider yourself a Bible believing Christ-follower, this may not be the right article for you.  Thirdly, if you think that Josh Duggar should be rung up and banned from the public circle, then this may not be the right article for you.

All that being said, if you consider the Bible to be infallible, and if you value the words written in the Book of Hebrews, then keep on reading!

Chapter eleven in the Book of Hebrews recounts the stories of what many people today call the members of the Bible’s “Hall of Faith”.  The first paragraph of chapter twelve calls these Biblical heroes a “Great Cloud of Witnesses”, and suggests that:

“since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Basically, these verses say that we should use the faith of all the individuals whose stories precede this passage as inspiration to remove from our lives the things that get in the way of us becoming all that God has planned for us, endure life’s hard times, and never grow worn out or disillusioned by life’s distractions.  Instead, we should keep our minds set on the hope and joy that Jesus provides – even if that hope and joy lies merely in an eternity spent with Him in heaven after these days on earth. (Again… if you’re going to argue the validity of these points, that’s a different discussion that I would love to have at another time).

So… who are these Biblical heroes that we, and the Biblical author, find so much inspiration from?  It’s a lengthy list:  Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Israelites who crossed through the Red Sea, Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel.  Each of them, incredible champions of faith who lived out exactly what Hebrews 12 suggests.

At least they did for most of their lives.

Each of them also had huge moments of failure.  HUGE!  Noah got drunk and danced naked in public; Abraham slept with his wife’s maidservant, then kicked her and their son to the curb (actually out to the barren desert); Isaac lied about his wife in order to succeed in business; Jacob lied about his own name in order to move ahead of his brother and steal his brother’s blessing and birthright; Joseph repeatedly boasted and bragged to his brothers, driving them to the point of them beating him and selling him away; Moses murdered an Egyptian man then ran away; the Israelites – even after being led by God Himself by a pillar of fire and cloud of smoke – worshipped a golden calf while Moses was away for a few days receiving instructions from God; Joshua slaughtered city after city, including women, children, and animals; Rahab was a whore, Gideon wouldn’t believe God’s direct messages even when God was provided one miraculous sign after another; Barak wouldn’t step up and obey God and instead made a pair of women face Israel’s enemy; Samson was so blinded by his sexual lust that he abandoned his solemn oath to God; Jephthah sacrificed his own daughter; David slept with his neighbor’s wife and then had him killed; and Samuel had more wives, drank more booze, and indulged in more self-centered gluttony than anyone.

“Oh, but those are Old Testament people.  They lived before Jesus and so they are exempt from extreme levels of criticism”, many people say.

OK, let’s look at some of Jesus’ apostles: Matthew, the former tax collector who ripped off his own people in order to pay off the Romans and overflow his own pockets; Simon the Zealot who, by association with the Zealots, likely took part in violent protests, plots, riots and uprisings against the Romans; and Peter, one of Jesus’ closest buddies – he disowned Christ in His most dire hour, chopped off a guy’s ear a few hours before, and instead of standing firm in his faith, dropped the preacher gig and went back to fishing as soon as Jesus was buried.  Or what about the author and star of nearly half of the New Testament, Paul?  Paul was a Pharisee who hunted down Christ-followers and threw them in jail merely for no other reason but for being a Christian.  He held the men’s cloaks as they threw Stephen down and pummeled his head with rocks until he died… all with young Paul rooting them on.

Now, I’m certain (at least sincerely hoping) that none of these bio-recaps are news to you.  You’ve heard these stories before.

And you ignore them.

At the very least, you glaze over them and use them as illustrations of God’s redemptive grace and how we are all sinners, unworthy of an eternity with Jesus, if not for His saving mercies. (enough Christianese for you?)

Why do I know that you ignore them?  Because your clamoring for the shakedown and teardown of modern day Davids, Peters and Pauls prove it.

From Phil Robertson to Mark Driscoll to Josh Duggar, I have read too many fellow-Christians’ blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, and columns screaming from the mountaintops to have these men tarred and feathered (or at least stripped of their careers) because of their crimes and misdemeanors.

The most recent tragedy falls on the shoulders of Josh Dugger.  Did he do wrong?  Absolutely.  Very wrong?  No doubt.  Unforgivably wrong?  Well, that’s not up to you nor me.

The only people that question applies to are the (unidentified-but-oh-so-easy-to-figure-out) girls he touched and God Almighty.  And, from every published account after published account, Josh sought and was given forgiveness from his victims.  He sought redemption from God.  He turned his life around in every way conceivable, yet never ran away from his past to the point of unsolicited confessing his sins to his then-fiancé and her father.

Granted, he didn’t confess them to you, me, or any of TLC’s viewership… because it’s none of our business!!

It happened when he was merely 14-years-old.  According to the law of the land, that’s two years too young to be registered as a sex offender.  Why is this the law of the land?  Because even our left-leaning legislators know that kids do stupid stuff to one another and can’t be held forever accountable.  It’s a rare occasion that a 14-year-old would be tried as an adult for premeditated, strategically horrific murder, much less what Josh did.

Nevermind the fact that, as I mentioned, Josh faced his victims.  They faced him.  It may not make sense to you, but they, according to reports, have forgiven him.  And their relationships have been restored.  Oh, and did I mention that the whole thing should have never been made public in the first place?  That the entire situation has been legally expunged, and therefore shouldn’t be tried in a court – not even that of public opinion!

So, when I read other Christ-followers – the same ones who will likely spend eternity with the likes of Josh, his parents, his wife, his siblings, adulterous murderer David, angry Christ-ditcher Peter, and Christian-hunter Paul – cry out for the removal of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting from their program lineup or at least boycott of the show; removal of the Duggar family from the public eye and renouncing of all the work they do; registration of Josh as a sex offender; or collection of all the profits that the Duggar family has collected over the past several years… I’m disgusted!

Take the log out of your own stinking eye before you even think about taking tweezers to the speck in Josh’s…

Oh, wait… Josh already took care of that speck.

You see, my bottom line is this:  If you’re going to shoot down Josh, you better shoot down, discredit, and disown Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, Simon, Matthew, Peter and Paul while you’re at it.

And before you’re out of ammo, shoot down Jesus Christ, Himself.  It was He who instructed us:

“If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.” (Luke 17:3-4)

I’ve heard it said multiple times, “No wonder the population of people claiming to be American Christians is on the decline.  All people see are one group of Christians sniping another.  Who wants to be associated with that?”

As my dad often said when I was a boy, sometimes you’ve got to call a spade a spade.  Sometimes, no matter how inconvenient the truth is, it must be proclaimed.  The truth is tough.  The truth of what Josh did, what the girls have to live with, is undeniably tough.

But so is the truth that it’s none of the public’s business.

And it’s tough for us to fully comprehend that God’s grace and mercy is vast enough to redeem Josh, you, me, and the Great Cloud of Witnesses.

Thank God.

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle and founder of the Acts 29 church-planting network, has endured withering criticism from both conservatives and liberals, Christians and non-Christians, even as his church has become one of the largest and most influential in the nation.

Mars Hill has been compared to a cult. Left wing outlets such as Slate and Huffington Post have been scathing in their critiques. There’s an entire web site devoted to Driscoll’s downfall, recording every controversial statement the church planter utters.

Megablogger Rachel Held Evans called Driscoll a “bully” for poking fun at the effeminacy of some worship leaders, and launched a letter writing campaign against him. A number of prominent pastors have called Driscoll to account for his occasional swearing, including Ed Young and John MacArthur, who declared the Seattle pastor, “unfit for the ministry.” Driscoll recently managed to offend every preacher in England by calling them “cowards.”

As I read the critiques, a question keeps popping into my head: Wouldn’t people accuse Jesus of these same things if he were to walk among us today?

In fact, they did.

Read John 10:20: Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” Even his own family thought he was insane, and tried to take charge of him (Mark 3:20). Christ and his disciples so angered people they lived under constant threat of arrest and death.

Discipleship has always upset people. It still does today.

The point of this blog entry is not to justify everything Mark Driscoll says, does or believes.  The accusations lodged against Mars Hill Church by former elders, if true, are disturbing to say the least. And simply being controversial is no sign of Christlikeness.

Whether you agree with Driscoll’s methods or not, a larger question remains: Is Mark a bully, or is he loving people exactly as Jesus did – with a “father love” we no longer recognize as love?

Many believers see God as a two-act play: the ferocious Old Testament God and the gentle New Testament God. The fire-and-brimstone God of the ancients has been replaced with gentle Jesus, meek and mild. It’s almost as if God was “born again” after the book of Malichi.

But the Bible presents just one God, and He is often just as “mean and wild” in the back of the book as he is in the front. Both God the Father and God the Son are plenty harsh throughout the New Testament. Here are a few examples:

God proclaimed Jesus as “his beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then He immediately cast that beloved son into the wilderness for a brutal testing. (Matthew 3-4)

Jesus rebuked adoring crowds, calling them “a wicked and perverse generation.” (Matthew 17:17)

Christ ridiculed his own disciples, calling them “dull” (more accurately translated, “stupid.”) Matthew 15:16.

Jesus called a desperate Canaanite woman and her people “dogs.” (Matthew 15:21-28)

God struck dead a couple that made a generous gift to the church after they fudged on the amount. (Acts 5)

Of course we can’t forget the Pharisees, Jesus’ perennial foil. The Gospels contain page after page of stinging rebukes, curses and condemnations for these religious know-it-alls.

Reason with me. Did God love Jesus? The crowds? The Canaanite woman? Ananias and Sapphira? The Pharisees?

Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. And this is how he treated people he deeply loved. He dealt with them through deprivation. Rebukes. Insults. The death penalty.

What’s going on here? How could God be so mean to people he loved so intently? People he wanted to bless? People whose repentance he sought?

He was practicing father love.

When Jesus swung the whip and cleared the temple? Father love. When he called the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs?” Father love. When he accused his dinner host of murdering the prophets? Father love.

Father love is like a vaccination: it causes momentary pain, but promotes long-term health. We hate to be on the receiving end of a needle, but we know we need it. And we’re better for it.

We are a generation of Christians nursed on mother love. We expect God to bless us, comfort us and accept us as we are. Our sermons, songs and self-help books reinforce this idea. We expect nothing but kindness from fellow believers, and when we are treated harshly in the church we freak out.

Instead of examining our own lives, we default to the role of victim. “He couldn’t possibly be speaking for God, because he was so unloving,” we think. We often judge the appropriateness of another believer’s actions not by sober assessment – but how those actions make us feel about ourselves.

Now don’t get me wrong. We need mother love in the church. We must comfort the hurting. Men in particular need to learn to be gentle, patient and kind.

Yet as wonderful as mother love is, it will never propel us to something higher. If we are accepted as we are we will never change. If we are comforted but never challenged, our lives will accomplish little.

Of course, not all harshness is love. There is no place in the church for abuse, misuse of authority and egotism. When church leaders consolidate power and surround themselves with sycophants, this is a sign of danger.

How can we introduce healthy father love back into the church? First, we must grapple with these fundamental questions:

If a pastor seems to offend both believers and non-believers at every turn, is this a sign of strength or weakness? Godliness or carnality?

Is it ever appropriate for a minister to make fun of someone? If so, how might this benefit the body of Christ?

Is there room in today’s church for a leader who is harsh, salty and shockingly frank in his language?

Does God expect ministers of the gospel to guard their speech, never saying what they really think (like politicians)? Or should they let fly, regardless of the consequences?

Where do we draw the line between a pastor/elder who is exercising father love and one who is abusing his power?

Should churches adopt specific behavioral standards, and should they be allowed to discipline and “shun” members who fail to meet these standards?

The next time you hear an account of some pastor who’s in hot water for saying or doing something controversial or hurtful, withhold judgment. Get the facts. And consider the possibility that this leader may be exercising a kind of love that’s frightening but necessary. A kind of love that young men respect – and desperately need.

Mark Driscoll is human. He’ll make mistakes. I’d encourage you to judge him not by the latest controversial thing that pops out of his mouth – but by the tens of thousands of young men who are following Jesus because of the ministry of his church.

For more information about Dave’s ministry, check out www.ChurchForMen.com

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle and founder of the Acts 29 church-planting network, has endured withering criticism from both conservatives and liberals, Christians and non-Christians, even as his church has become one of the largest and most influential in the nation.

Mars Hill has been compared to a cult. Left wing outlets such as Slate and Huffington Post have been scathing in their critiques. There’s an entire web site devoted to Driscoll’s downfall, recording every controversial statement the church planter utters.

Megablogger Rachel Held Evans called Driscoll a “bully” for poking fun at the effeminacy of some worship leaders, and launched a letter writing campaign against him. A number of prominent pastors have called Driscoll to account for his occasional swearing, including Ed Young and John MacArthur, who declared the Seattle pastor, “unfit for the ministry.” Driscoll recently managed to offend every preacher in England by calling them “cowards.”

As I read the critiques, a question keeps popping into my head: Wouldn’t people accuse Jesus of these same things if he were to walk among us today?

In fact, they did.

Read John 10:20: Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” Even his own family thought he was insane, and tried to take charge of him (Mark 3:20). Christ and his disciples so angered people they lived under constant threat of arrest and death.

Discipleship has always upset people. It still does today.

The point of this blog entry is not to justify everything Mark Driscoll says, does or believes.  The accusations lodged against Mars Hill Church by former elders, if true, are disturbing to say the least. And simply being controversial is no sign of Christlikeness.

Whether you agree with Driscoll’s methods or not, a larger question remains: Is Mark a bully, or is he loving people exactly as Jesus did – with a “father love” we no longer recognize as love?

Many believers see God as a two-act play: the ferocious Old Testament God and the gentle New Testament God. The fire-and-brimstone God of the ancients has been replaced with gentle Jesus, meek and mild. It’s almost as if God was “born again” after the book of Malichi.

But the Bible presents just one God, and He is often just as “mean and wild” in the back of the book as he is in the front. Both God the Father and God the Son are plenty harsh throughout the New Testament. Here are a few examples:

God proclaimed Jesus as “his beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then He immediately cast that beloved son into the wilderness for a brutal testing. (Matthew 3-4)

Jesus rebuked adoring crowds, calling them “a wicked and perverse generation.” (Matthew 17:17)

Christ ridiculed his own disciples, calling them “dull” (more accurately translated, “stupid.”) Matthew 15:16.

Jesus called a desperate Canaanite woman and her people “dogs.” (Matthew 15:21-28)

God struck dead a couple that made a generous gift to the church after they fudged on the amount. (Acts 5)

Of course we can’t forget the Pharisees, Jesus’ perennial foil. The Gospels contain page after page of stinging rebukes, curses and condemnations for these religious know-it-alls.

Reason with me. Did God love Jesus? The crowds? The Canaanite woman? Ananias and Sapphira? The Pharisees?

Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. And this is how he treated people he deeply loved. He dealt with them through deprivation. Rebukes. Insults. The death penalty.

What’s going on here? How could God be so mean to people he loved so intently? People he wanted to bless? People whose repentance he sought?

He was practicing father love.

When Jesus swung the whip and cleared the temple? Father love. When he called the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs?” Father love. When he accused his dinner host of murdering the prophets? Father love.

Father love is like a vaccination: it causes momentary pain, but promotes long-term health. We hate to be on the receiving end of a needle, but we know we need it. And we’re better for it.

We are a generation of Christians nursed on mother love. We expect God to bless us, comfort us and accept us as we are. Our sermons, songs and self-help books reinforce this idea. We expect nothing but kindness from fellow believers, and when we are treated harshly in the church we freak out.

Instead of examining our own lives, we default to the role of victim. “He couldn’t possibly be speaking for God, because he was so unloving,” we think. We often judge the appropriateness of another believer’s actions not by sober assessment – but how those actions make us feel about ourselves.

Now don’t get me wrong. We need mother love in the church. We must comfort the hurting. Men in particular need to learn to be gentle, patient and kind.

Yet as wonderful as mother love is, it will never propel us to something higher. If we are accepted as we are we will never change. If we are comforted but never challenged, our lives will accomplish little.

Of course, not all harshness is love. There is no place in the church for abuse, misuse of authority and egotism. When church leaders consolidate power and surround themselves with sycophants, this is a sign of danger.

How can we introduce healthy father love back into the church? First, we must grapple with these fundamental questions:

If a pastor seems to offend both believers and non-believers at every turn, is this a sign of strength or weakness? Godliness or carnality?

Is it ever appropriate for a minister to make fun of someone? If so, how might this benefit the body of Christ?

Is there room in today’s church for a leader who is harsh, salty and shockingly frank in his language?

Does God expect ministers of the gospel to guard their speech, never saying what they really think (like politicians)? Or should they let fly, regardless of the consequences?

Where do we draw the line between a pastor/elder who is exercising father love and one who is abusing his power?

Should churches adopt specific behavioral standards, and should they be allowed to discipline and “shun” members who fail to meet these standards?

The next time you hear an account of some pastor who’s in hot water for saying or doing something controversial or hurtful, withhold judgment. Get the facts. And consider the possibility that this leader may be exercising a kind of love that’s frightening but necessary. A kind of love that young men respect – and desperately need.

Mark Driscoll is human. He’ll make mistakes. I’d encourage you to judge him not by the latest controversial thing that pops out of his mouth – but by the tens of thousands of young men who are following Jesus because of the ministry of his church.

For more information about Dave’s ministry, check out www.ChurchForMen.com

OUR SUPPORTERS

  • NCMC Logo12
  • cwd_link
    Over 18,000 wholesome, family friendly, Christian websites.
  • WM-ad-web-v2-489x486
  • RdR Large ad
  • Danny Avila
  • Talking Bibles Sidebar Ad
  •  Good News, Etc