Mark Driscoll has been in ministry over half his life. In this interview, he talks about how he became a Christian, his call to ministry, what the last five years of his life have been like, and the impact of the opposition he faced leading Mars Hill.

Plus, we talk about spiritual warfare and why it matters.

Welcome to Episode 328 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

This interview is not an in-depth interview about Mark’s time as Lead Pastor of Mars Hill. For more on that you can listen to or watch these interviews:

Pastoral Lessons from Mars Hill Church (Sutton Turner,  Ryan Williams, Dave Bruskas)

Mark Driscoll and Brian Houston

Guest Links

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Mark Driscoll Ministries

Episode Links

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5 Early Leadership Lessons from the Dissolution of Mars Hill Church

Win Your War by Mark Driscoll

The Trinity Church

3 Insights from Mark

1. The Holy Spirit shows up to help people learn the bible in a way he doesn’t show up for anything else

Mark was able to grow a church of thousands of young 20-somethings in Seattle, one of the most unreached cities in America. How? He preached with a heavy emphasis on biblical teaching and believes that when someone is trying to learn the bible, the Holy Spirit shows up in a way unlike anything else.

It’s good to learn in a history class, it’s good to learn from online sources, but when you are actually learning about the bible, there is a special purpose for your learning. And Mark gives the credit of the growth of his churches to the effects of sound biblical teaching.

2. After the marriage comes the war

Mark wrote his most recent book Win Your War with his wife, Grace. Why? Because if the enemy is going to attack you, one of the ways will be through the relationships and people that are closest to you. He observed that Satan didn’t mess with Adam until he and Eve were married and says that, “After the marriage comes the war.”

One way that you can easily lose this fight is if you let the enemy “have a foothold” in your family. Mark encouraged his family to avoid this by eradicating unforgiveness inside themselves. He says that, “The doorway to the demonic is unforgiveness.” As a result, they actively practice forgiving their enemies.

3. Everything God Creates, Satan Counterfeits

Usually, we think of the demonic as extraordinary weird, evil beings and events that come and attack us. But more often, Mark says that it’s just ordinary events that take you out. The demonic can be something that causes you to harbor bitterness, or something that hurts you that you never heal from.

The enemy is often covert in how he attacks us. He does this in Genesis 3, where he attacks Eve’s relationship with God. He asks, “Is God real? If he was real, would he even care?” Satan came in and created an identity issue that led to the fall. It wasn’t extraordinary, he just counterfeited the identity of Eve and God.

Quotes from Episode 328

After the wedding comes the war. @PastorMark Click To Tweet

It's interesting in leadership, you can only lead out of whatever experience you've got. @PastorMark Click To Tweet

I think sometimes when you're in the middle of ministry, especially if it's a growth cycle or a busy season, you're not really taking the time to fully appreciate and enjoy all that God is doing. @PastorMark Click To Tweet

Even if you're a good pastor who does a good job of diagnosing and helping others, you're probably not the best person to diagnose yourself. @PastorMark Click To Tweet

If I get excited and teach the bible, I find that sometimes other people join me in that excitement. @PastorMark Click To Tweet

When people encounter the God of the bible through the word of God, things happen that we have no ability to direct or control. @PastorMark Click To Tweet

Honestly I could say physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, by the grace of God, I'm in the healthiest season of my whole life and my family's in a really healthy, joyful place. @PastorMark Click To Tweet

Everything God creates, Satan counterfeits. @PastorMark Click To Tweet

If there was an enemy of God and an enemy of yours, and if he had a plan to harm and destroy you starting with your relationships, what would that plan be? @PastorMark Click To Tweet

If the bible is true, you do have an enemy. He is an adversary, and it would be foolish to not at least consider what he might be trying to do. @PastorMark Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 328

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Watch Back Episodes of The Podcast on YouTube

Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our new YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen. We’ll add select episodes to YouTube as time goes on.


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CNLP 328: Mark Driscoll on the Challenges at Mars Hill, His Move to Phoenix, Launching a New Church, and Why Spiritual Warfare Matters


  1. Gabe on October 7, 2020 at 11:50 am

    After listening to the episode with NT Wright there was a blurb at the end about you are careful who you promote in the podcast and then I see that you promote this wolf? I was a huge Driscoll fan and after learning about his abuse, plagiarism etc… and being totally disqualified from ministry you allow him to come here and play the victim? He ran from all accountability and has never been restored properly to ministry. I honestly can’t believe how you would promote him on a LEADERSHIP podcast!

  2. Cathryn on May 29, 2020 at 1:19 am

    Wow… I stumbled on this and this is the first time I’ve commented…. EVER….. all of us are sinners… thank God the mistakes I’ve made haven’t been so public as Mark’s have. I see a Man a HuMan who has a love for God and maybe he stuffed up… sinned… Who are we to judge… isn’t that God’s job. What about all that he has done, achieved, people he has introduced to Jesus, to God, to Community. In my 57 years on this earth and 10 years as a Christian I can see how God does use bad things for good. Some of those things are of Satan, of God and of Human nature (sinful nature). How are you to know Mark’s mistakes weren’t of God… it could have been God’s plan for his life. I’ve had people tell me Cancer was the best thing that ever happened to them. This could be one of the biggest testimonies of Mark’s life. I personally love his teachings, they speak to me, sometimes I think God is speaking to me through him as the timing of the subject at hand is perfect. He is a Man of God and we need more People to be People of God. God wants all people to be his people. Amen.

  3. Steve on March 18, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Various comments about “I won’t even listen to this podcast because Mark Driscoll is so arrogant” need to listen to the podcast for exactly this reason. From the discussion Carey has with him, there seems to be a level of humility and honesty. In this episode, I did not hear self-justification or accusation. There may be words, choices, ways of doing things he has not repented of, but when I read my Bible, someone doesn’t have to repent for another person to choose to forgive him. PS I think its the Holy Spirit’s work to convict of sin, not mine to point out unless I have an actual relationship with the person.

    • Bryan Patrick on March 18, 2020 at 3:51 pm

      I listened to the entire episode – he’s playing the victim. He was a horrible bully his entire time at Mars Hills and then flipped a switch at the very end and began playing the victim card. Even as he left bodies in his wake. The same man who boasted of the number of bodies under the Mars Hill bus that he put there.

      “God spoke to us”, “released us” – um, no – he was asked to repent and come under the very discipline that he forced others to participate. He refused and ran. There was no transition. Those are weasel words.

      And the whole rocks thrown at his kids and helicopters – that happened at the VERY end when news of his bullying came out. This did not characterize his entire tenure in Seattle. Yet he suggests the opposite.

      And he hasn’t ever repented. He’s never come clean. He’s never apologize to ANY of the people involved (just ask Bent Meyer and Paul Petry).

      As far as this whole “it’s the Holy Spirit’s work to convict of sin, not mine to point out” – you’re an enabler and should be ashamed.

    • Paul Marshall on January 21, 2021 at 1:52 am

      It would have been better if Carey pushed harder, a lot harder – did Carey sign an agreement not to ask anything too pointed? The closest he got was ‘What did you learn from that season?’ Which Driscoll deflected away toward victim hood. How about asking, ‘What are things you regret doing as a leader and also as a preacher at Mars Hill?’ ‘Were some of your leadership behaviours not led by God but actually a form of demonic counterfeit?’ ‘How have you changed your attitudes and behaviour to avoid making the same mistakes?’ ‘You seem to be avoiding admitting any errors – is that what you are doing?’ ‘What is the difference between spiritual warfare and suffering the consequences of your own bad choices?’ ‘You seem to view attack from others as spiritual attack. There were people who felt terribly hurt by you, even abused. How have you reflected on how much you caused spiritual pain – could you have been a source of spiritual attack on others?’

  4. Tim on March 18, 2020 at 9:48 am

    this guy is toxic. triggering people and calling it “spiritual warfare” shows that he really has gone down the deep end

  5. Peter Penner on March 18, 2020 at 9:35 am

    Hey, you should have asked your wife first before publishing this. The way he speaks about Mars Hill shows clearly that his guy has never repented.

  6. Helge on March 18, 2020 at 9:22 am

    this guy is fake to the core. this is really the first (from 100 episodes) Episode of ur podcast that really sucks.

  7. Raj on March 17, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Wow, needing a panic room while pastoring is another level.

  8. R. Pearce on March 17, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Considering Mark Driscoll was drummed out of ministry because he was disqualified for numerous instances of abusing staff, lack of transparency, plagiarism, calling women “penis homes”, using harsh language and bullying tactics, questionable financial issues under his care at Mars Hill,etc., the list is extensive. Clearly he was not above reproach and immoral in his character.

    Further, his resignation doesn’t have him taking accountability for these documented issues, but as he puts it “because he realized that he was a divisive leader and that the controversy was taking a toll on his family.”

    To date, Mark has never truly repented for his many sins that disqualify him as a church elder and pastor. He has never sought out those at Mars Hill whom he deeply wounded to confess and ask for forgiveness. Instead, he has done what every false teacher does- he waited a short period of timer and started a new church when he thought this had blown over.

    I’m all for forgiveness and for restoring wayward believers back to the Body of Christ, but restoring a fallen pastor back to the pulpit is another matter altogether. Sin has consequences, and clearly Mark won’t acknowledge the extreme pain and hurt he created in the wake of his unqualified ministry.

    Suffice to say, I generally enjoy your articles and podcasts Carey, but I question your discernment in selecting Mark when there are many leaders with outstanding integrity. I fear all you’ve done here is propped up a fallen false teacher who remains unqualified.

  9. Jason Swan Clark on March 17, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Carey. I’m one of your biggest fans and have recommend your books and courses to hundreds of people. But this is great mist-step. A podcast with Mark repenting for his abuse might have been in order. I’m genuinely perplexed at what you have done here. You seem tone deaf to the harm, chaos and damage this man perpetuated.

  10. Scott Tiede on March 17, 2020 at 8:58 am

    Carey, listened to the entire podcast. Mark Driscoll is not qualified for ministry (God ‘released’ my from that ministry). Giving him a platform encourages others to behave the way he has behaved. He needs to seek repentance and restoration and make restitution to the folks at Mars Hill. He has self-restored himself to ministry. Frankly, I’m appalled you had him on.

  11. Dale Swanson on March 17, 2020 at 8:57 am

    I have read the content of proceedings and blogs containing documentation, including testimonials, during the years of Mars Hill’s demise. Mark Driscoll lived and spoke with great arrogance. The implosion of this work began under and in his leadership. There are others with high visibility and who are leaders having integrity/honor in their personal lives whom Christ has raised up to speak on his behalf. These could have spoke with excellence for our motivation. Thanks for your articles

  12. Norma Rivera on March 17, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Dear Pastor , I read your emails and follow your ministry with great admiration but I will not even open this podcast because I do not appreciate the testimony of this speaker. Mark Driscoll has been known as a bully in the American church and we have experienced first hand the abuse of pastors just like him. I would suggest that you choose of many other speakers that have a testimony of repentance and do not justify themselves and accuse others of opposition.

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