Mark Driscoll - On Worship Leaders and their Manliness (or lack thereof) ~ BitterSweetLife

Monday, August 07, 2006

Mark Driscoll - On Worship Leaders and their Manliness (or lack thereof)

Posted by Matt Christenot.

Here’s a quick intro of myself before I launch into this particular subject. I’m a 25 year old worship leader/student/church planter currently living in Lawrence, KS. I’m also the husband of my beautiful wife Stephanie.

Ok, with that said, here we go:

There’s so much to talk about in this book, so I think I’ll start with something fun and close to home. One of the things Mark Driscoll is known best for is the particular way in which he speaks his mind on almost any subject under the sun. In chapter 6 of
Confessions he sets his sites squarely on worship leaders (yikes!). In particular he addresses their lack of manly qualities. Referring to the new worship leader he hired he says (page 146)

"I really liked Tim because he is one of the few manly men whom I have ever seen leading worship. I am not supposed to say this, but most of the worship dudes I have heard are not very dudely. They seem to be very in touch with their feelings and exceedingly chickified from playing too much acoustic guitar and singing prom songs to Jesus while channeling Michael Bolton and flipping their hair. Tim was a guy who brewed his own beer, smoked a pipe, rock climbed, mountain biked, river rafted, carried a knife on his belt and talked about what he thought more than what he felt."

Fortunately, I can say with out a shadow of a doubt that I have never channeled Michael Bolton while leading worship, or ever for that matter. I don’t think I sing prom songs to Jesus. It makes me think of singing
I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore by REO SpeedWagon for the invitation. I’d be interested to know what in Driscoll’s mind qualifies as a “Jesus prom song?” Is that any song that express or uses the words, “I love you?” I’ve just heard so many people complain about the touchy-feely nature of modern worship (and I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of truth to it), but the only song anyone ever references is a song called Draw Me Close. Give me names of songs. That’s all I ask.

I think the real question here is what qualifies as true manliness and how does it apply to worship leaders. As much as I like Driscoll (and I really do like this book), I think sometimes his jock mentality leads him into overstatement, which often boarder lines on the ridiculous. For instance, is the acoustic guitar less manly than the electric? Does the fact that I prefer a Coke rather than a beer disqualify me? Do I need to start packing heat on stage in order to be manly or is simply having a knife enough to get me in the club? What about a nightstick? Although the nightstick might be too reminiscent of the Village People and then we’re back to square one. Your thoughts?

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Adam J. said...

Dude, I think packing heat during worship is defiantly the way to go for being manly. That way when you encourage people to lift their hands they will do it immediately out of fear (of you and of God).

I can't think of any particular songs that are girly off hand, but I agree that many of them are. That said, in observing you leading worship, you didn't do any songs that felt particularly feminine in nature...

Matt Christenot said...

Thanks bro. I hadn't really considered how practical having a hand gun in worship could actually be. Not only would people naturally raise their hands, but I think it could help drive cd sales.

Oneway said...


I liked this post (the nightstick-question-conclusion was brilliant). Your tone befits any analysis of Driscoll's book, in that a sense of humor is required.

This book can't be read as an air-tight theological treatise. Driscoll uses humor to communicate, which means there will be exaggerations.

This book isn't for the overly-offended. I appreciate the punchlines that point to the unexaggerated reality of the feminization of the American culture.

Ched said...

I agree with your analysis of these points. Driscoll's concern is valid. His questions are needed, but maybe his answers are not as profound. It seems that in a quest for a remedy to an overly feminized society, the expectations are simply replaced with what is considered "manly." Most of the times these are arbitrary and personalized (i.e. outdoormanship, strong drink, rough appearance). Good post.

Matt Christenot said...

Thanks for your comments guys. I like the discussion so far. I think Driscoll's take on manhood is an interesting topic. I share many of his concerns, but like Ched I think some of his views fall into stereotypes.

I also agree with what was said by oneway. Even when Driscoll does overstate the facts good laughs are never far behind.

Ariel hinted in a past comment that perhaps he might post more on this subject. If so, that would be a cool discussion.

e-Mom said...

I just ran into this quote over at Mark Driscoll's blog on the subject of masculinity:

"I began reading the works of Dr. John Piper as a new Christian in college. I think the first book of his that I read was Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which was very seminal in shaping my understanding of gender roles in the home, church, and culture. A few years back, in conjunction with the release of my first book, The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out, I had the great honor of having Dr. Piper join us for a conference we hosted in Seattle to preach from the Mars Hill pulpit. It was a great joy to have people from my church fill up our room to learn about Jesus. Ever since, Dr. Piper has been something of a rock star to many of our folks."

For more on Piper's book, you can visit CBMW's website here:

Driscoll's blog:


Anonymous said...

Found your blog by way of the 'Library Thing' website. Wondered if you might be interested in my blogs:

Ariel said...

Heh heh. It's at moments like this that I'm content with my non-marketable singing voice. Ok, not really. If I could sing, you'd find me in the bright lights, downing a six pack and then marching on stage in my North Face shoes and rock climbing harness.

I think Oneway's take is apropos. Driscoll sometimes goes over the top to make a legitimate point. He doesn't seem to be big on specifics, which can potentially lead to misinterpretation...

Question in point: Given that we're told to worship Christ with our hearts as well as our minds, how should a worship leader go about trying to engage the hearts (i.e., "feelings") of the people he ministers to?

Nice post, Matt.

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Jin-roh said...

Are you sure that Driscoll's statements only border on the ridiculous? :-)

Musicians get girls. Ask the dude you plays the classical guitar.

Is getting girls not manly enough for driscoll?


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