Mark Driscoll Files Motion to Dismiss Racketeering Lawsuit

DriscollBuildingClaiming he has not been served, Mark Driscoll filed a motion to dismiss the racketeering lawsuit against him and former Mars Hill executive pastor Sutton Turner brought by former members of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Two couples from the church allege misuse of funds.
Like Turner’s motion to dismiss, Driscoll appeals to rules of procedure requiring service of a lawsuit in 90 days. The essential claim of the motion is that the Jacobsens and Kildeas have abandoned the suit.
Driscoll claims his whereabouts are well known.
After Turner filed his motion, I asked attorney Brian Fahling for a comment with no reply.
Driscoll plans to launch his new church The Trinity Church in Scottsdale on August 7.

Mark Driscoll's Scottsdale Church to Launch August 7

Although a group of people has been meeting in Scottsdale, AZ for several weeks, the official launch of Mark Driscoll’s The Trinity Church has been slated (“penciled in”) for August 7, 2016.
According to this video (click through to watch), the church still has to get some design elements in place. The plans sound pretty ambitious. It is not clear that the building isn’t viewed as temporary. The building’s “mid-century modern” style figures prominently in the “groovy” church. His launch announcement is a 7:30 into the clip.
In addition to the video, here is what Driscoll says about the launch (written message accompanying the video):

We are in our core launch team phase gearing up for our public opening this fall around the time that school begins. Right now, we have a family style Bible study with the kids present every Sunday at 9:30 am. If you are interested in our church launch, you are welcome to join us. This week Pastor Mark continues his series in 1 John: The Father Heart of God. We will be in 1 John 4:1-6 if you want to read ahead.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all that have been helping at our work parties. You have put in over 1000 hours helping us prepare our building for the public launch. We ave enjoyed meeting and working alongside some wonderful hard working people.
This weekend in observance of Memorial day we will not be having a work party on Saturday or Sunday after the Bible study. Lets take a much needed break and also take some time to pray for our military men and women and their families as well as veterans. We appreciate your service and want to honor you.If you attend the Bible study this Sunday we want to give you a gift.
After the Bible study this Sunday we will have an “Ice Cream Sunday” with lots of toppings and bouncy houses blown up for the kids.
In the next month or so, we hope to have our kids ministry building ready to start childrens ministry in the “backyard”. After that, our plan is to have the main room that we call the “living room” ready for church services including the worship band and singing as we gear up for two morning church services. For that to happen, we are giving the old room a fresh makeover in keeping with the midcentury modern Brady Bunch vibe. Yes, it’s groovy.
Thank you to everyone who has given of your finances, prayers, and service. It’s amazing to see how much can get done when hard working people pull together for the cause of Jesus Christ!

Maybe The Trinity Church can get these guys back together for the big launch.

Mark Driscoll's Vision For The Trinity Church Is Big, Big, BIG

Mark Driscoll has a God-sized vision for The Trinity Church and you can find out what God has revealed to him this coming Sunday. One thing for sure, the Vision includes essential ministry tools like an Airstream trailer, a yellow fire truck, and mid-century modern chairs.
Driscoll’s vision is really big. Listen:

The worship band should have this tune on the set list:

Mark Driscoll's The Trinity Church: Bouncy Houses, Matching Gifts, and a Late Summer Launch

Source: Screen capture from
Source: Screen capture from

After the first meeting of The Trinity Church, Mark Driscoll is moving full steam ahead toward the launch of the church in the late summer of this year.  According to Driscoll’s most recent video update, The Trinity Church will launch in late summer with two services.
Until then, Driscoll invited interested people to participate in the work parties at the church and give money. He disclosed that a donor made a matching grant of $50k. Driscoll also said that people are driving in from California and as far away as Georgia to help get the church ready for the launch. Children’s ministry involves bouncy houses in the auditorium.
It must be surreal for former Mars Hill Church members to listen to the business-as-usual description of this church plant while Mars Hill is still shrouded in uncertainty and a lawsuit is pending against Driscoll and Sutton Turner.

Sutton Turner Names Attorney and Responds to Mars Hill RICO Lawsuit

Sutton Turner’s Seattle attorney has notified the court and Turner notified plaintiff’s attorney that service would be accepted on the RICO lawsuit naming him and Mark Driscoll as defendants.* They are accused of running the church in a manner to financially benefit the leaders, especially Mark Driscoll.
In response to the suit, Turner exclusively provided the following statement via email:

For over a month, I have offered to meet with the Jacobsens and Kildeas. Unfortunately, they have not responded.  It has been 19 months since I resigned from Mars Hill. I have had many meetings and conversations with people, even people that were previously listed in legal demands against Mars Hill Church.  Although the plaintiffs have requested meetings with Mars Hill Church in the past, that request has not been offered to me personally in the 19 months since my disassociation with Mars Hill Church.
Since I have yet to be served with this lawsuit, I have hired an attorney to take service for me in the state of Washington. Last year, I wrote at length of my involvement in ResultSource and Global even after threats of litigation from counsel associated with Mars Hill Church.  I believe I have done everything I can to resolve this peaceably. Unfortunately, it is now time to prepare for a legal defense of these allegations.

Early in March, Turner said, “The history and culture of Mars Hill is one of both a lack of trust and transparency. Lack of transparency breeds distrust and distrust causes less transparency. It is a perpetual cycle that can exist within any organization or relationship.”
Turner’s co-defendant, Mark Driscoll, recently said he had not been seen the suit but called the allegations malicious and false.
An image of the notice of appearance is below (full document).
Turner RICO Service
* Earlier I stated that Turner had been served the lawsuit. That is not accurate and Turner has not been served. I apologize for the error.

Mark Driscoll's The Trinity Church Holds Open House Amid Protest

Four protesters and at least one news crew greeted Mark Driscoll’s debut in Phoenix on Sunday evening.
According to one protester, the police arrived to tell the picketers that the sidewalk was public property. On person on the scene estimated that about 40 cars were in the parking lot about 15 minutes before the service, some with Washington plates. Another thought more like 70 cars were in the lot by the beginning of the service.

Bob Sluys and Skip Rohl; source Bob Sluys
Bob Sluys and Skip Rohl; source Bob Sluys

Driscoll was interviewed by Jeff Van Sant at KPHO/KTVK – Phoenix. According to a report filed by Jeff Van Sant, Driscoll denied the charges in the RICO lawsuit.
Here is Van Sant’s report: 3TV | Phoenix Breaking News, Weather, Sport
Driscoll says he has not been served the lawsuit. Then he says the charges are false and malicious. If he doesn’t know anything about it then how can he say anything about the nature of the charges. We know that the church used Result Source to prop up his book. He admitted that and stopped using the description of bestselling author because the scheme was made public. Furthermore, it is well documented that Mars Hill lawyers warned Sutton Turner against revealing how much of the Global Fund went to international mission work.

Former Mars Hill Church Executive Pastor Sutton Turner Comments on RICO Lawsuit


Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner are the defendants in a RICO lawsuit filed by two former Mars Hill Church couples. Driscoll recently spoke out and called the charges “false and malicious” and “without any merit.”
This morning, co-defendant in the suit — former executive elder Sutton Turner — responded to the matter on his blog.  About the suit, Turner said:

As time has passed, I have watched the pursuit of legal actions by my brothers and sisters towards the Church and former leaders. I empathize with them and hurt with them. After recently being named in a legal proceeding, but having yet to be served, I have reached out to the plaintiffs directly. They were probably unaware I was willing to meet with them directly. I hope to meet with them, empathize with their hurt, pray with them, apologize to them, and clear up anything I can.
I have been contacted by many news organizations to make a comment on the lawsuit. In the past two weeks, I have prayed. I have reached out to the plaintiffs directly to communicate my willingness to meet. And I continue to hope that Christ will walk us through this difficult but necessary process in a spirit of reconciliation.

Turner’s reaction to the suit is different than Driscoll’s. Rather than criticize his accusers, Turner seems to sympathize with them.

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a series of blog posts to help me heal as well as to bring clarity to others for their healing. I wrote about my involvement in Result Source and my involvement in Global. The history and culture of Mars Hill is one of both a lack of trust and transparency. Lack of transparency breeds distrust and distrust causes less transparency. It is a perpetual cycle that can exist within any organization or relationship.

Turner says he has yet to be served the suit.

Mark Driscoll Responds Briefly to RICO Lawsuit; He's Talking to God but Apparently Not to His Former Members

Mark Driscoll has found his voice to respond briefly to Religion News Service about the RICO lawsuit.

“Unfortunately, false and malicious allegations continue to be made against me,” Driscoll said in an email to RNS Thursday (March 3). “I’m certain that the most recent examples are without any merit.”
“I remain focused and devoted to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, loving others, and praying for my enemies,” Driscoll said.

I may never understand why this energy hasn’t been spent on reaching out to those who have very publicly asked Driscoll for reconciliation. I have reached out to more than three dozen former Mars Hill leaders and members and none of them have heard from Driscoll. Several of them have reached out to Driscoll with the message back that there will be no meeting.
In particular Bryan Zug and Jeff Bettger claim to have reached out and have received negative responses. Instead of talking to God about the “enemies,” why can’t the parties talk to each other?

Mark Driscoll Looking for a Meeting Place for The Trinity Church

The Trinity Church. Used by permission of Becky Garrison
The Trinity Church.
Used by permission of Becky Garrison

In a email sent to supporters today, Driscoll details what he is looking for in a meeting place:

Howdy everyone,
I want to thank all of you who have been praying for and connecting with Mark Driscoll Ministries. I’m on the road teaching this week, but I look forward to returning home to catch some sun and spring training baseball games with my family.
We are in the first steps of planting The Trinity Church in the greater Phoenix area. As we continue to make plans, many people have asked where we will meet and when we will start services. Both of those questions will be answered when we find a church building to call home. Our search for a building is underway. As soon as we have a home we will let everyone know. In the meantime, we genuinely appreciate everyone who is praying for this next step.
Here are some specific things we are asking the Lord to provide with our first church home:
·      The ability to meet multiple times on Sunday mornings
·      Space for the main service
·      Lots of space for children’s ministry
·      Close proximity to a major freeway for accessibility
Lastly, with Good Friday and Easter Sunday coming up, I want to let you know about a free eBook called Gerry Breshears and I put together. It’s called “It is Finished! Jesus’ Death and Resurrection”. You can download in now EPUB
Thanks for your support,
Pastor Mark Driscoll

There is something surreal about these messages in light of the controversies swirling around the RICO lawsuit and Mars Hill Church.

Mark Driscoll's Books in a Mars Hill Ballard Graveyard

Mars Hill Ballard Campus was put on the market in October 2014 and then sold in early 2015 for $9-million. When the building changed hands to Quest Church in Seattle, the contents were abandoned by Mars Hill’s leadership. One casualty was Mark Driscoll’s book A Call to  Resurgence, left behind in bulk during the Mars Hill rapture.

Use by permission of Alex Rozier
Use by permission of Alex Rozier

That is a lot of money in books. It is surprising that Mars Hill’s leadership did not either donate or sell these books. Most likely, they were purchased originally with funds donated by individuals who attended Mars Hill.
Based on conversations I had with former marketing and communications staff back in 2014, I believe this book did not use Result Source to game the New York Times system but still involved bulk purchases in house. To my knowledge, this book did not make the NYT bestseller list. It is hard to make a case that this bulk book purchase benefited Mars Hill Church when the books died in a dumpster.
Thanks to Alex Rozier with King5 in Seattle who sent this picture to me after he obtained it recently.