A campaign against the visit of former Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll to Sydney's Hillsong Church has been organised in a further sign of resistance to Driscoll's reappearance on the evangelical church circuit.
Demonstrators are to picket the Hillsong Waterloo church in Sydney in a protest against his participation in the Hillsong Conference later this year.
Driscoll, who resigned from the troubled Seattle megachurch last October amid a flurry of revelations about his leadership style, has made several appearances indicating a return to active ministry. He is believed to be planning to start a new church in Phoenix, Arizona.
Last Sunday he spoke at Gold Creek Church near Seattle; while he was applauded by the congregation, protesters outside held placards urging him to repent of divisive and controlling behaviour.
He is scheduled to appear at London's O2 Arena in July and protesters are also expected there. An online petition urging his removal from the speakers' line-up has attracted nearly 1,000 signatures.
The campaign against his Australia visit is being led by Benjamin Ady, a former Seattle resident.
He told Christian Today that he had grown "increasingly displeased with the growing number of people I knew, including a couple of people with whom I was close, who were terribly hurt by Mark Driscoll and the culture which he was creating at Mars Hill". He said that while he believed in repentance and change, "I was very disappointed to see that Mark completely circumvented any process of repentance, change, and making amends to the many people he had hurt – choosing instead to resign."
He continued: "Now, having demonstrated little to no evidence of any change, having undergone no visible process of repentance and making amends, Mark is exuberantly relaunching his career as a pastor, and Hillsong is very much helping him do so by putting him on stage in front of 20,000 people in Sydney."
With others, Ady is planning to picket the church's three services on May 31. He said they would "hopefully engage people from hillsong in conversation, letting them know why we're there and encouraging them to put pressure on their leaders not to have Driscoll at the Conference. We plan to be peaceful and gracious."