Mark Driscoll, Ego, and Self-Esteem — The Re-engineered You

Todd Lemense
4 min readJul 1, 2020

Disclaimer: Today’s episode contains language that some listeners may find offensive. We will be discussing quotes and articles expressing anti-female sentiments expressed by Mark Driscoll, of the now infamous, Mars Hill Church. You may want to listen to this episode alone before sharing it with younger listeners.

Back in the early 2000s, a woman named Judy was about to get married to a man who introduced her to God. She was not the conventional fit for the Christian life, spending years rock band touring and was never a believer until now. But after devoting herself to God and her soon to be husband, she would soon be married in the Mars Hill Church in Seattle Washington by the infamous Mark Driscoll. Just a few days before Judy’s wedding, Mark posted an alarming statement online:

We live in a completely pussified nation. It all began with Adam, the first of the pussified nation, who kept his mouth shut and watched everything fall headlong down the slippery slide of hell/feminism when he shut his mouth and listened to his wife who thought Satan was a good theologian when he should have led her and exercised his delegated authority as king of the planet.”

From delivering weekly sermons to a quarter-million listeners online and over 12k in person, franchising 15 churches across 4 states, Mark’s reign ended when he was removed from the church by his own pastors, at least with that particular church.

Mark Driscoll and Ego

Ego is a dangerous word. For people like Mark and many other celebrities, ego is the very thing that got them success. Even though ego is often something seen to be leveraged to get ahead in life, it can have severe repercussions if it gets out of hand.

Mark was someone who was passionate, intense, and really was able to connect with his followers on a real, raw level because he never once said he was perfect in any way. He talked openly about taboo topics such as sex, dating, and relationships in a very “bro vibe.” Not to mention he was a fantastic public speaker who put his heart and soul into his sermons. These characteristics are what made him so likable and get Mark a pass to have that earned ego for his hard work.

Myth: Ego Protects You

There was a study published by National Geographic consisting of 200 school-aged children, ages 9–12. The study was to determine if the ego was a shield for defense or not. They asked the 200 children to rate each other from 1–3 on popularity and then asked each one how they thought they personally ranked. On average, most were on target. This was the test of self-awareness.

Two weeks later, they played a different game. They were told that they were placed in teams of 4 and that one person would be voted off. Though each child was voted off without them knowing, this allowed researchers to see how each child reacted. They found that those who rated themselves high in the first test had a harder time being told they were voted off, whereas the other kids who rated themselves accurate were not phased at all. The ego in those other kids made it harder for them to get over the rejection and disappointment. In the end, self-awareness is what saves you because it does not need to be defended as ego does.

Myth: We Can Control Our Ego Before It Gets Out of Hand

Mark’s ego was certainly earned. He had worked hard for his achievements and had thousands of people praising his efforts. So, when someone comes along who does not agree, he and other ego/narcissists lash out in negative ways in defense.

A study by Brad Bushman of Iowa State University and Roy Baumeister of Case Western Reserve University tested 540 undergraduates on their ego and reactions. They found that people who were screened to be a narcissist or had a massive ego were much more willing to be aggressive towards people who gave them negative feedback. Those who were more self-aware, on the other hand, took the evaluations much easier and constructive.

“Narcissists mainly want to punish or defeat people who have threatened their highly favorable views of themselves.” Risky Behavior and Out of Control Egos

Mark and his wife co-wrote a marriage book, which became a New York Times bestseller. After some digging, it was found that the book they wrote was actually written by many different writers, and was plagiarized as well. Despite this coming to light, Mark still gloated. He was excited that he has a best-selling book and was proud of it anyways and had no problem selling it, knowing that it was not his words.

Over time, people began bringing to light who Mark really was and what he was doing in his church. This press ultimately forced him out of the church in 2014, and it was a big hit for them. They went from 14k to 6k attendees overnight because as much as they would not like to admit it, Mark was their brand. Today, that ego hit still didn’t stop him, and he is practicing at Trinity Church in Arizona.

Final Thoughts

Having an ego to some degree is okay, but when it overpowers your self-awareness or is too high up to be grounded, then that is where the trouble lies. If you think you are in this mindset, the best thing you can do is surround yourself with people who will lift you up, but know how you bring you back down when necessary. This means always having people in your corner who are better than you, so you are always being mentored, learning, and fostering self-awareness. Never be the top dog because if you are, then you need to fix that before it gets to Mark’s dangerous level.

Jim Rohn once said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Because you are who you surround yourself with, expand your orbit with exceptional minds so you can raise your own average.

Todd lemense

Originally published at on July 1, 2020.