On Monday, Christianity Today posted a statement from 39 former Mars Hill Church elders who served from 2011 to 2014 which called for Mark Driscoll to step down as pastor of The Trinity Church in Phoenix. I followed that with an inside look at the development of the statement.
Today, I can report that two more elders have added their names to the list: Will Little and Phil Poirier. Since there are nearly 40 more who could add their name, there may be others who join the list. When you think even a little about this, it is a stunning occasion to have this many former staff take this kind of public stance.
Here is the current statement and list:
Statement from Former Mars Hill Church Elders:
We are saddened to learn that Mark Driscoll has continued in a pattern of sinful actions towards staff members and congregants as he pastors. The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. These sinful leadership behaviors appear similar to what he exhibited in his leadership role at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. We are troubled that he continues to be unrepentant despite the fact that these sins have been previously investigated(1), verified, and brought to his attention by his fellow Elders,prior to his abrupt resignation. Accordingly, we believe that Mark is presently unfit for serving the church in the office of pastor. Knowing that we have no formal authority in this current matter, we hope that Mark will voluntarily
resign his position immediately. We also hope that those who have influence over Mark would encourage him to do so.
We sympathize with those who have been wounded by Mark and pray for their healing. We have engaged and heard from many former Mars Hill Church staff and members who were hurt by domineering leadership, harsh speech, and angry outbursts and are sobered by the devastation victims
have suffered. We realize that Mark left deep pain in the lives of many by being unwilling to seek restoration and reconciliation with those he has sinned against. We grieve the harm that has come to The Trinity Church as well as the damage to the reputation of Jesus among unbelievers through Mark’s words and actions.
We plead with Mark to participate in and submit to Christian conciliation(2), in the important work of pursuing repentance, reconciliation, and restoration with those he has harmed and sinned against. We are disappointed in the leaders who affirmed Mark’s role in planting The Trinity Church. They provided a ministry endorsement from a distance, rather than investigating carefully the charges against him and leading him in a process of repentance and reconciliation. This “translocal” advisory structure has allowed Mark to avoid the accountability he needs.
We hope and pray, by the grace of God, that Mark will submit himself to a prolonged season under the Godly leadership and direction of a local church body and Elder team. Many of us stand willing and ready to pursue reconciliation with Mark and assist others who also would like to do the same. Our hope is that after being restored in the future, Mark will find an appropriate place to serve and be served in the Body of Christ. However, we don’t believe that it would be prudent or healthy for him to be in a position of spiritual authority in a church or ministry setting for the foreseeable future.
In faith, hope, and love through Jesus,
Former Mars Hill Church Elders
Jerry Austin, Kyle Firstenberg, Will Little, Miles Rohde, Sutton Turner, Joel Brown, Carlos Garcia, Dick A McKinley, Paul Rohrbaugh, Matt Wallace, Dave Bruskas, Tim Gaydos, Ryan Mount, James Rose, Ryan Welsh, Ed Choi, Aaron Gray, Steven Mulkey, Gary Shavey, Ryan Williams, Josh Clayton, Bubba Jennings, Bob Paulsen, Tim Smith, Steve Zietlow, Gabe Davis, Matt Johnson, Tim Patton, Joe Stengele, Rich Downen, Brian Jonkman, Andy Phipps, Brian Stoddard, Cliff Ellis, Dave Kraft, Phil Poirier, Jim Tomisser, David Fairchild, Ryan Kearns, Adam Ramsey, Steve Tompkins
1 The Board of Elders of Mars Hill Church investigated the formal charges against Mark Driscoll and issued the attached findings on Monday, October 13, 2014
2 Christian conciliation is a Biblically based method of peacemaking in order to resolve conflict and restore relationships.