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The good, the bad, the ugly, and the opportunities—kicked around with a couple of friends:


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7 thoughts on “Personality-Driven Evangelicalism”

  1. Doesn’t it seem like a multi-site ministry is perhaps the more prone to the “crash and burn” effect since it really is all about “the man”?

    Just a week ago John MacArthur preached a sermon on how a truly biblical philosophy of ministry mitigates against multi-site and, in the context of this discussion, enables a personality-driven ministry to continue well after the personality is gone. Here’s the link: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-361

  2. Tim Keller says:

    Who are the three guys in this video? I’ve never heard of any of them!

  3. Brad says:

    Hi Gabriel,

    I agreed with your assessment until I watched the video below. Basically, Mark Driscoll shows how the multi-site model is actually less personality-driven and built to continue well after the personality is gone. It is ironic to me that that you use MacArthur as an example. His ministry is about as personality-driven as any.

    http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2010/09/28/dever-driscoll-and-macdonald-on-multi-site/

  4. Roger says:

    Brad, do you really believe that Driscoll and MacDonald’s churches are NOT driven simply by who those two guys are?

  5. Gabriel says:

    Hi Brad,

    I’ve seen that video several times, and find it very disturbing (and definitely not based on a biblical philosophy of ministry nor a biblical understanding of ecclesiology).

    You would do well to listen to MacArthur’s sermon. Multi-site is essentially a seeker-driven consumeristic approach to ministry. It contradicts what Scripture teaches a shepherd ought to be and do.

    John MacArthur doesn’t need to be defended, but suffice it to say he isn’t known for his personality, but for his commitment to teaching the Scripture one verse at a time. He is uniquely gifted and of course has his own personality. But people don’t flock to him because of his personality, but because he helps them understand Scripture better. This is evidenced of course by his international speaking ministry and the translation of his books into many languages. His ministry isn’t personality or culture-centered, it is Bible-centered.

  6. Aaron Britton says:

    I’ll disagree with Gabriel. . . .or at least equivocate JMA’s ministry with many others. Pastor MacArthur has a great teaching gift and a certain proclivity towards controversy. Those two things have undoubtedly caused his ministry to grow. I’m not saying there were no spiritual reasons for it, but it’s a mixed bag, as it is with Driscoll and others. If were going to call Driscoll out for minimizing his personality’s affect on his church. . .than we should hold the same for Pastor MacArthur. . many preachers exegete verse by verse, have for years, and don’t have near the size and scope of ministry as JMA.

    Also, not all multi-sites are seeker driven, that’s a broad brush. There are many that use team teaching models (Driscoll’s campus pastors are teaching for 6 weeks in a row currently) and have philosophies that do not jive with seeker-sensitive.

    I would, finally, say that JMA IS known for his “personality” in many corners. . though for different reasons than Driscoll, Piper, etc. . You cannot separate these factors.

  7. Chris Donato says:

    JT: “The future of the kingdom [of God] on earth is in the local church. It’s not about [the next celebrity] but rather the ordinary work—which is extraordinary work, really—of pastors, most of them in small churches.”

    Spot on, Justin.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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