Mark Driscoll on Mars Hill Global: The Global Mission Effort of Jesus Christ

Recently a couple of commenters have questioned whether or not communications from Mars Hill Church left the impression that Mars Hill Global was the international missions ministry arm of Mars Hill Church.  The following video was made by Mark Driscoll to describe the changing brand of Mars Hill Global. Sutton Turner hoped to appeal to both Mars Hill members and people outside the church by recasting Mars Hill Global as the way the church participated in the world wide mission. Rather than actually put the millions raised into missions, however, the plan was to feature some projects and then funnel the preponderance of the funds into Mars Hill Church’s general fund.
This video is one of the Mars Hill Global videos that was removed from YouTube by the church. When I put clips of the removed video back on You Tube, the church challenged the Fair Use of the videos but backed down when I challenged their claim.

The messaging of Mars Hill Global after 2012 was ambiguous at times. However, Driscoll here and Sutton Turner  in a video that can still be seen on the Mars Hill website made the message very clear that international work was the primary focus of Mars Hill Global. Turner said with an Ethiopian church in the background:

Mars Hill Global is the arm of Mars Hill Church that makes disciples and plant churches all over the world.

After touting their translation work, Turner solicited money from both Mars Hill members and people outside the church.

So whether you’re a member of one of our Mars Hill Church locations in the United States or you’re one of 100,000 podcasters every single week, We encourage you to pray about giving above and beyond your tithe to Mars Hill Global.

Even though Turner later in 2014 tried to reframe Mars Hill Global into only people outside the church, the new message was at odds with what was proclaimed before sermons throughout 2013 and early 2014.
Donor intent is signaled by the choices that donors make when they give. Up until May 2014, donors had the ability to select the Global Fund or the Mars Hill general fund for their donations. See again this video demonstration:
[youtube]http://youtu.be/a4EFX3-RXyg[/youtube]
Global Fund
According to recent communications from Justin Dean, Mars Hill spokesman, the Global Fund wasn’t a fund. Even though it was labeled as a fund as distinct from the general fund and had its own accounting code, church leaders have crafted a story that considers the Global Fund a restricted fund before 2012 but not a restricted after 2012. However, they didn’t tell donors that the fund was not restricted in the minds of church leaders until I started writing about the Global Fund in 2014.
I have recently obtained some accounting information which demonstrates again that donors designated money to the Global Fund. This particular donor (name redacted) gave to both the general fund from a campus location and to the Global Fund (GLO).
GlobalGiving
“History” above refers to the location of information about that donation in a prior accounting software package used in early 2012. I have redacted many donations between February and October. The donations in October were made on behalf of U-District (10/21/12) and the Global Fund (10/23, 10/9).  Apparently those funds were designated for those accounts but it can’t be determined from this document if they were spent for those purposes.
Time is running out for current Mars Hill leaders and those involved with them (Soma leaders) to do the right thing and disclose the actual giving to missions. From what Mars Hill leaders have already said, we know that missions did not get funding commensurate with the amount of branding and attention Ethiopian and Indian pastors received in Mars Hill media solicitations throughout 2012 to 2014. Now as the church dissolves, shouldn’t those pastors get some of those funds? Even if they don’t get the money raised through the Global Fund, shouldn’t what is left upon dissolution (possibly in the neighborhood of $20 million) be divided 12 ways, with a portion for the Indian and Ethiopian pastors?
Former and current Mars Hill members and interested parties, can I get a witness?
While you’re thinking about it, please re-read the Global Fund memo which outlined the plan to use mission projects to raise money.
 
MarshillFAQGlobal

Mars Hill Church Posts 2014 Annual Report; No Resolution of Global Fund

Maintaining certain fictions until the end, Mars Hill leaders posted the 2014 annual report today.
The section on Mars Hill Global and Mars Hill Go reflects what happened to Mars Hill Global after I reported on the tactics to promote missions but use Global Fund money to fund U.S. expansion.
MHCAnnualReport2014MHGoGlobal
Between 2012 and May 2014, the Global Family was called the “Mars Hill Extended Family” and Mars Hill Go was marketed as the Mars Hill Global and the Global Fund.
The annual report maintains an upbeat reframing of the church closing and includes a brief accounting of finances for the year. No word in the report about the fate of those 73 church planters in Ethiopia and India.

Washington Attorney General's Office Responds to Complaints About Mars Hill Church

An unknown number of people have filed complaints with the Washington Attorney General’s office regarding various aspects of Mars Hill Church’s financial dealings. Two of them forwarded the responses received from the office. The first one describes an informal and voluntary process to bring together the consumer and the church. The second response gives no hint about the existence of an investigation.

The first response describes a time frame for Mars Hill to reply to the AG’s office.

Bob Ferguson

ATTORNEY GENERAL OF WASHINGTON

Consumer Protection Division

800 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2000 Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 464-6686

November 18, 2014

RE:   Mars Hill Church

File #:

Dear

Thank you for contacting the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. Consumer complaints provide valuable information that our office uses to identify patterns of unfair or deceptive practices that may warrant enforcement of the Consumer Protection Act.

The complaint you submitted to our office regarding Mars Hill Church was reviewed and determined to be appropriate for the informal complaint resolution services offered by our Consumer Resource Center and has been assigned to me for processing. This is an informal, voluntary process. Our office acts as a neutral party to facilitate communication between consumers and businesses to assist in resolving the complaint. We are prohibited by Washington State law from providing legal advice or representing either party.

Following is information about our informal complaint resolution process.

Informal Complaint Resolution Process

The process takes approximately 4-6 weeks to complete. A copy of your complaint is sent to the business(es) with a request to provide our office with a response within 21 calendar days. If a response is received, you will be notified and a copy of the response will be provided to you. If our office has not received a response from the business(es) within 14 calendar days, a courtesy reminder will be sent to the business(es) reminding them that their response is due within the next 7 calendar days. If the business(es) do not respond to our request, our office cannot compel the business(es) to respond.

If the business does not respond or does not resolve your complaint to your satisfaction

If the business(es) do not respond, or your complaint is not resolved through our informal complaint resolution service, your complaint will be closed. However, you will be notified of additional options and resources that may be available to assist you in the event you wish to pursue the matter further.

If you contact our office regarding your complaint, please reference the assigned complaint number referenced above.

Again, thank you for contacting our office.

 ELENA GARCIA HUIZAR

CP Public Outreach Specialist
Consumer Protection Division
(206) 442-4497
Fax: (206) 587-5636

CRCComplaints@ATG.WA.GOV

Another individual received this response:

I am in receipt of your email to AG Ferguson (dated November 5, 2014).  Thank you for providing us the additional information regarding Mars Hill Church; it is clear that you care deeply about this issue.  Please be aware that we can neither confirm nor deny whether our office is investigating or the status of any investigation.
 
Regards,
Sarah
______________________________________________________
Sarah S. Shifley | Assistant Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division | 800 Fifth Ave, Ste. 2000 | Seattle, WA 98104
If other readers receive responses, please feel free to forward them to me.

Legal Fund Created to Address Grievances Against Mars Hill Church

Former Mars Hill Church deacon Rob Smith has created a GoFundMe account to fund legal action, if necessary, to address grievances against Mars Hill Church.  The grievances primarily involve the Global Fund and non-disclosure clauses signed by former employees.

Despite many appeals to Mars Hill Church leadership to address several grievances, it now appears that it will be necessary to take legal action to see that these greivances are addressed. Donors, ex-members and members are preparing to pursue this alternative. This fund would be used to pay for the legal costs of such a pursuit.

Mars Hill Church has also used non-disclosure agreements to silence ex-employees with valid grievances. This fund would be used to defend any ex-employee that is sued by Mars Hill Church for violating the terms of their non-disclosure agreement.

Once all matters are settled, the balance of this fund, if any, will be shared between the advertised recipients of the Mars Hill Global Fund (Ethiopian and Indian pastors) and with Agathos International. That portion of any donor’s gift to this legal fund will be tax-deductible.

 We are attempting to schedule a meeting with  Mars Hill representatives in an effort to avoid litigation, and it appears that this meeting may take place.

According to Smith, the church has avoided questions regarding the Global Fund and how much was raised based on appeals to fund Ethiopian and Indian church planters. In contrast to claims from the church made just today, Global Fund appeals were made consistently to pay for outreach in Africa and India but most funds were spent on Mars Hill Church expansion.

Mars Hill Church Posts Financial Audit and Information About Salaries and Global Fund

Just a bit ago, Mars Hill Church posted their financial audit and a blog post about various financial questions. Probably the most interesting post is the one which provides the church’s view of salaries and Global Fund. Here it is:

Today we posted our most recent Financial Audit. As we have done for years, this information is available for you to review at the bottom of our stewardship page.

As questions have arisen this past year around executive compensation and what we have traditionally called ‘Global’ donations, we wanted to provide some additional financial clarity in these areas.

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

Ministry is done by people, and churches typically have the largest amount of their ministry expenses allocated to caring for staff. Mars Hill Church utilizes external salary surveys for large churches from two sources for determining it’s staff salaries, and an independent compensation study for our executives. Executive salaries also undergo a separate, additional independent third party review of appropriate salary setting procedures, accuracy and internal payroll controls.

As it says on our stewardship page, “the independent members of the Board of Advisors and Accountability set executive elders’ compensation. Additionally, an independent compensation study is done for our executive elders by an external accounting firm.”

Mars Hill Church has made many efforts over the years to provide accountability in the process of establishing salaries. There are also specific IRS and ECFA guidelines that have been in place and followed with regards to compensation for Pastor Mark Driscoll. These included an independent compensation study conducted on all three Executive Elders, updated every three years and reviewed by outside Board Members. None of the Executive Elders set their own salaries, and compensations were both informed and reviewed by outside entities. This effort was used to set compensation levels comparable to similar sized churches for congregational attendees and annual revenue of the church.

GLOBAL FUND

Mission at Mars Hill Church has always had both a local and global focus–believing that our mission is to serve our neighbors down the street as well as around the globe. This has equated to investments in local church plants across the U.S. and support for evangelists and churches in Ethiopia and India as well. Hundreds of thousands of people from over 230 different countries in the past year alone have participated in the ministry of Mars Hill Church through accessing content and listening to sermons online, and many of them have also provided financial support.

Initiation of “Global Fund” at Mars Hill. In 2009, Mars Hill Church began to use the term “Global Fund” to solicit gifts restricted for “capital development and expansion”.  As communicated in the Global Newsletter on July 7, 2009, the Global Fund was used to raise resources for the following purposes:  “start new Mars Hill campuses, plant new Acts 29 churches, and equip leaders at the Resurgence Training Center.” In the 2009-2011 time frame, over 80% of the funds given to the “Global Fund” went to Acts 29 church planting, with additional funds used for the Resurgence Training Center and church planting in India.

Mars Hill “Global Fund” 2012 and later. During this time period, Mars Hill Church changed its view of the Global Fund—not viewing the Global Fund as separate from the overall mission of the church of making disciples and planting churches. In the 2012 and later time frame, Mars Hill Church began reaching more givers through video bumpers before sermon podcasts, blog posts, and YouTube videos. Some of these ministry communications were totally about U.S. church planting, some were totally about Ethiopia, but most of these communications highlighted church planting in the U.S., Ethiopia, and India.

Communication sent by Mars Hill Church to donors to the “Global Fund.” To be abundantly clear about the use of gifts to the Global Fund subsequent to June 1, 2012, in early July 2014, Mars Hill Church sent approximately 6,000 letters and 3,765 emails to individuals who had made gifts as a global donor subsequent to June 1, 2012. In these communications, Mars Hill Church offered to redirect the donor’s gifts, made as a global donor during this time period, specifically for planting churches in Ethiopia or India. To date, 36 donors have responded to these communications, resulting in the redirection of approximately $40,000 of funds from Mars Hill Church’s charitable purpose to Ethiopia/India church planting.

We also created a new category for describing our international work under the title of Mars Hill Go. If you were a global donor who wished to redirect your gift please reach out to giving@marshill.com so that we can verify and allocate the appropriate amount of funds to our international church planting partners in Ethiopia and India.

Additionally, in 2015 we expect to make a final donation to Vision Nationals in India, and New Covenant Foundation in Ethiopia, prior to distributing net assets to the new independent churches, and some of the new local churches hope to continue the legacy of supporting these missions.

We are so thankful for everyone who has ever donated to Mars Hill Church and taken part in our mission to make disciples and plant churches in the name of Jesus Christ. Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe have been impacted by the message of the gospel because of your gifts and we pray the legacy continues as we move into the new year and see many new churches take root in their local communities.

The salary information is nothing new and they failed to actually address the issues often raised — how much money did you spend on Ethiopia and India?  The verbiage about Global solicitations being about the U.S. and international expenses is just incredible. Remember BoAA, the videos have been preserved.  Please in your next blog post, produce the videos that said the Global Fund was about giving money to churches in the U.S.

Churches can’t just change restricted funds to open funds without telling donors. Mars Hill continued to allow people to give to the Global Fund but without telling anyone that the money was just another gift to the general fund.

Bellevue Church to Establish Controls for Accountability in Governance

A little while ago, Pastor Jason Skelton posted this update on the City:

Follow Up from the Eastside Vision Meeting

Pastor Jason Skelton Shared

Eastside Family,

We had a great day yesterday at our Eastside Vision Meeting, where we joined in partnership with our friends from Sammamish about what the Lord is laying on our hearts for the future of this church. For those who were unable to attend, we want to provide a brief synopsis of what we covered.

First, we desire for this new church to function from a place of shared leadership, deference, and trust. We are working hard, and seeking wise counsel from godly leaders, to understand how we can best structure the church in such a manner that would encourage trust, mutual submission, and deference among the elder team and ultimately among the whole church family. We’re sorry that, particularly in recent months, significant conflict has resulted in an inability to trust the leadership of the church. We have played a part in that, and ask for your forgiveness and also your prayers, as we seek to establish a new church moving forward.

Second, we are actively and prayerfully searching for a new Lead Pastor for this new church. We have some options that we are excited to share with you soon, as right now we are prayerfully assessing character and reviewing references in order to ensure that the man that we would bring before you is not only competent in his skill, but is a man who is marked by godly character. We are seeking to find someone who would help us to retain the best of our previous church (strong preaching, great worship services, etc) while helping us to grow in areas where we have been weaker in recent years, particularly in discipleship and missional engagement.

Third, the new church structure that we will establish will include controls for accountability. While we are still prayerfully considering how this will be written into our governance, we desire that the members of the church would have an active voice into the future by allowing them to affirm elements such as the slate of elders, and the implementation of new budgets. We hold to the conviction that the church, according to Scriptures, should be led by qualified elders who would appoint qualified elders. But we also desire to have accountability to the members of the church in such a manner that would allow their voices to be more readily heard. In addition, we are prayerfully considering how we can best partner with other networks or churches.

Fourth, we are presently working from some values as a church, as interim values while searching for our new Lead Pastor. Becauset we have been loved by Jesus:

  • We love one another

  • We grow together

  • We celebrate redemption

  • We serve joyfully

  • We never lose hope

Many have asked: how can I help during this time? You can help in several ways:

  • Pray. We are planting a new church on a very expedited timeline. We need your prayers and great favor from Jesus as we attempt to move forward.

  • Attend Interest meetings. We will be hosting interest meetings every Sunday in the cafe between now and the end of the year at 12:30p on Sundays. These meetings will be an opportunity to meet the elders, ask questions, and learn more about the future.

  • Ask Questions. We not only are open to your feedback, but we truly desire it. Please let us know your hopes, dreams, and questions about how this new church will come together.

Lastly, and most importantly, it is our utmost desire that this would be a church that loves Jesus, preaches the Word of God, and is a place that families would desire to attend – yours, mine, and others. We believe that the way for this to become a reality is to live our lives as one of an outpouring of love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13. This would mean that our church would be marked by patience, kindness, humility, truth, trust, and perseverance, among a host of other characteristics. We understand that we have at times operated in a manner that has not encouraged these characteristics, and in so doing, have brought much strife on the inside and criticism from the outside. On behalf of the elders at Bellevue, we extend to you our repentance and our genuine desire to move forward as a church that would be marked by authentic love, as rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our commitment to you to continue to pour ourselves out in sacrificial service—the Gospel demands no less.

On Behalf of the Bellevue Elders,

Pastor Jason

This is actually a refreshing message. I still don’t know how you extend repentance to an entire group of people but it seems like progress that the note contains that sentiment without any obvious messages to give money.

I hope some of the people attending the vision meeting will ask questions, as invited, about the amount of money the church plans to give to the Ethiopian and Indian church planters when the church folds.

More Evidence That Mars Hill Global Was Ministry of Mars Hill Church

UPDATE: That was fast (around two hours). The video evidence has been removed from Vimeo; it seems clear that Mars Hill Church does not want this information in front of the public. I intend to repost it in keeping with fair use of material for commentary. In the mean time, the transcript is below.
Video is now below.
……………………………..
Recently, Justin Dean told me that Mars Hill Church’s Global Fund was not a fund after 2012. Even though he admitted the Global Fund was a designated fund before 2012, he said the church did not consider it a fund after 2012. Furthermore, Dean added:

Beginning in 2012 the term “Global Fund” was used on our website to distinguish between global donors and local church donors. Receipts for donations from people who selected that designation would indicate “Global Fund” but it was not a fund and hasn’t been since before 2012.

As I have pointed out, members also gave to the Global Fund and so the term did more than distinguish between members and non-members. Throughout 2012-2014, the leaders of the church referred to Mars Hill Global as something the church members were doing via donations to the Global Fund.
The following video describing a pastors conference funded by Mars Hill is a case in point (the video has been removed from Vimeo, below I have it on YouTube).
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/82847540#t=5s[/vimeo]
[youtube]http://youtu.be/mUGGcVxhimM[/youtube]

(33 seconds) For the last three years there was no funding; there was no way to gather the pastors back together from 1600 kilometers all the way down to Dilla, Ethiopia, and there was just no way of funding that. And I really felt like at that point in time that it was the opportunity that Mars Hill Church had to fund this pastors’ conference. It was amazing that the additional funding that we had, they needed.(1:00)
(2:49) This pastors’ conference affected literally 400 hundred churches and in their Bible college education they had never received discipleship training so this equipping allowed them to go back to their young, young churches and their new believers and transfer that new training to their churches.
And so Mars Hill Church when you gave to provide the funding for them to have this pastors’ conference. Without the Lord sending funds through us, this event would never have happened. (3:25)

It can’t be much clearer. Sutton Turner does not thank podcasters or non-members. He thanks Mars Hill Church members for the funding for the conference. Global here is clearly a ministry of Mars Hill church. While he doesn’t use the words “Global Fund,” the Global Fund was the means that members could use to route their donations to pay for activities in India and Ethiopia. Members were routinely asked to give above and beyond their tithes and offerings to help support Mars Hill Global. Tithes were to be given to the General Fund and “above and beyond” to the Global Fund.

Washington State Attorney General May Examine Complaints from Mars Hill Global Donors

According to this report at the blog Sola Sisters, the Washington state Attorney General may investigate the questionable practices associated with Mars Hill Global.

According to former Mars Hill attendee Dean Watkins:

I just got off the phone with someone from the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. They have spent some time trying to figure out how to have accountability for the Global Fund issue. As a church, Mars Hill is exempt from filing with the Secretary of State. But under RCW 19.09 “Charitable Solicitations,” whether or not an organization is exempt from filing with the Secretary of State, they must still comply with the law.

The chain of procedure is for Global Fund contributors to first go to the Attorney General’s office, who would then forward to the IRS, if upon examination they felt there was enough evidence to warrant doing so.

For Mars Hill attendees, both former and present, if you at one time contributed to the Global Fund, and you are concerned that the money might have been used incorrectly, please follow the link and file a complaint online. Also, if you do file a complaint please be aware that it will become public record. In the complaint you may even want to mention some of the desired outcomes.

A complaint form can be found at the AG’s website according to the blog post:

If you are a Mars Hill attendee or former Mars Hill attendee who contributed tithe money to the Global Fund, and you would like to request that this fund be examined, please follow this link – General Consumer Complaint Form. Please also feel free to forward this link to those you know who might have also contributed to the Global Fund.

 

Mars Hill Church Leaders Have Records of Donations to a Fund They Now Say Didn't Exist

Via spokesman Justin Dean, Mars Hill Church is now claiming that the Global Fund was not a fund after 2012. If that is true, then how is this letter from former executive pastor Sutton Turner to be understood?
MARSHill Letter Global
Sutton Turner wrote:

Our records indicate that you have donated to the “Global Fund” since ____ 2012.

According to the church, six thousand of these letters were sent to people who donated money to the Global Fund. However, if, as Justin Dean said, there was no Global Fund after 2012, then why did Sutton Turner say church records indicate that gifts were given to the fund? The church clearly has record of who gave to the fund and could disclose the amount given and spent if desired.

Why Did Mars Hill Tacoma and Everett Wait Until 2014 to Thank Mars Hill Global?

In light of the memo I posted on October 1 and yesterday’s post, I now have a workable theory about why Mars Hill location pastors waited until after May 2014 to acknowledge publicly the money they received from Mars Hill Global.
Here is what the memo said about how Global Fund donations would be spent:

Global Focus
The vision and activities connected to the Global Fund must focus on reaching the worldwide church. As a person sits in front of his computer in Qatar, London, Cape Town, or Sydney, he does not care about Mars Hill planting in Everett. As an international citizen, however, he cares greatly about global evangelism, global missions, global causes for Jesus, global church-planting, etc. though the sentiment is rare among Americans, people abroad feel a sense belonging and kinship with the global community.
Flagship Projects
Of the money that comes into the Global Fund, designate a fixed percentage internally for highly visible, marketable projects such as mission trips, orphan care, support for pastors and missionaries in the third world, etc. (ten to fifteen strategic operations in locations where Mars Hill wants to be long term). This percentage should be flexible (not a “tithe”), and not communicated to the public. Support for Mars Hill Global would be support for Mars Hill Church in general, but the difference and the draw would be that a portion of Global gifts would also benefit projects that spread the gospel and serve the needs of people around the world.

In 2011, Mars Hill Church needed money for U.S. expansion. As the memo said, Mars Hill’s global audience would be more likely to donate to global missions than to Mars Hill’s U.S. expansion. So the church branded Global as Mars Hill’s ministry for international missions and funded a few international projects to bring in more money from people outside the Mars Hill membership (at the same time, Global was marketed to members too as another way for them to give “over and above” their tithes). Alerting donors that most of the donations funded U.S. expansion might erode support so, as the memo says, the disbursements would not be disclosed to the public.
After the Global Fund went away in May 2014, two Mars Hill campus pastors came out of the closet about the source of some their start up funding. Mars Hill Tacoma said thank you on August 4, 2014 and Mars Hill Everett on June 5, 2014. In July, an article by Thomas Hurst, lead pastor at Mars Hill Bellevue also referenced Global help but that situation is different from the other two because Bellevue’s funding came in 2011 before the Global Fund rebranding into an international mission brand. Furthermore, Bellevue’s assistance from the Global Fund was disclosed to the church and was consistent with how the fund was marketed to the church at the time. The rebranding of Mars Hill Global was suggested in November 2011 and carried out in 2012.
The articles about Tacoma and Everett were posted after my initial reporting on Mars Hill Global and the Global Fund in May 2014, and long after the money had been taken by Mars Hill leaders from the Global Fund and used for expansion at those two locations. Let’s look at each one.
Mars Hill Tacoma
On August 4, 2014, Tacoma pastor Bubba Jennings wrote on the Mars Hill website that Mars Hill Global helped with the purchase of the Tacoma building:

We would not have been able to buy our new home and relocate without the help of Mars Hill Global—thank you all very, very much for helping us! You made our dream of having a permanent home come true.

The purchase of the Tacoma building was announced on December 3, 2012. Although the church did not move in permanently until December 2013, Jennings thanked Mars Hill Global for help with the building purchase which was accomplished in late 2012 (during the fiscal year ending in June 2013). In the December 2012 announcement of the building purchase, there is no credit given to the Global Fund or Mars Hill Global. According to that announcement, funding for the building and retrofit came from a “magical night” of fundraising in September 2012 as well as additional fundraising solicited in big bold letters:

HOW TO GET INVOLVED, PLEASE VISIT THE MARS HILL TACOMA PAGE FOR MORE INFO. DURING HE MADE US FAMILY, OUR GOD’S WORK, OUR WITNESS 2012 CHRISTMAS SERMON SERIES, PLEASE CONSIDER A GIFT ABOVE AND BEYOND YOUR NORMAL GIVING. THOSE FUNDS HELP SUPPORT PROJECTS SUCH AS TACOMA, THE PURCHASE OF A NEW BUILDING IN EVERETT, THE REBUILDING OF OUR NEW DOWNTOWN SEATTLE LOCATION, AND MORE. YOU CAN GIVE TOWARDS THESE PROJECT BY CHOOSING THE “GENERAL CHURCH FUND” AT MARSHILL.COM/GIVE.

Please note that donors to Tacoma were not directed to the Global Fund, but to the “General Church Fund.” Why did Sutton Turner not thank Mars Hill Global in 2012? Why did Bubba Jennings wait until after the Global Fund was discontinued to thank Mars Hill Global for the help?
In the FY 2013 Mars Hill Church annual report, there is a page dedicated to Mars Hill Global expenses. Mars Hill Tacoma is not listed there. In fact, only expenses in India and Ethiopia are listed. Tacoma is referred to in the FY 2013 report but not in connection to Mars Hill Global.
In this gushing, thankful 2013 article on fund raising for the Tacoma location, there is no mention of the Global Fund, or a group of global givers:

A THANKS TO EVERYONE INVOLVED, ESPECIALLY JESUS

I want to sincerely thank everyone who has generously given to the Mars Hill Tacoma building fund. I want to thank everyone who has sacrificed their time and energy to be present at the building, helping with various work projects. I want to thank the Executive Elder team, Pastor Mark, Pastor Dave, and Pastor Sutton, for their tremendous support and leadership throughout this project. I want to thank the Mars Hill Central staff for all of their support—their leadership and help has been vital. I want to thank the leaders and members of Mars Hill Federal Way for their faithfulness and perseverance, leading the way in love and sacrifice. I want to thank the entire body of Mars Hill Church for praying for us. Lastly, and most importantly, I want to thank Jesus—without him, none of this would be possible.

Jennings here said he wanted to “sincerely thank everyone” who gave to the Tacoma building fund. Why did it take another nine months to thank Mars Hill Global? Theory one: Mars Hill Global didn’t really give any money to Tacoma. No one thought to say thanks to podcasters since they weren’t publicly asked for money for that purpose. However, in May 2014, Mars Hill leaders needed to create a narrative that involved Global Fund money going to church planting in the U.S. Theory two: Mars Hill leaders didn’t want anyone to know that money solicited for missions was really going to buy buildings and launch Mars Hill locations, so they didn’t bring it up at the time.
Mars Hill Everett
On June 5, 2014, Everett pastor Ryan Williams wrote on the Mars Hill website that Mars Hill Global helped with the down payment on the Everett building:

Our people work super hard and are amazingly generous to the church, but we just did not have the income to fully fund our own down payment and renovation expenses.
Mars Hill Global, that is exactly what you did for Mars Hill Everett and we thank you! Your generosity has allowed us to have a visible presence in our city and county. It has given us a building in which to love and care for hurting people and a place to hold services where the gospel will be proclaimed for, God willing, the next few hundred years.

On January 31, 2013, Mars Hill Church closed the purchase of a vacant national guard armory in Everett for $1.25 million. Williams credited Mars Hill Global for help with the down payment. Everett’s story is similar to Tacoma’s: more Global money spent in FY 2013 but no mention of it until June 2014. Why no mention of this until nearly two years after the fact?
As with Tacoma, there was a massive fundraising effort to renovate the new building with no mention that Mars Hill’s global audience or the Global Fund was kicking anything in.
The question remains: Why did Mars Hill Tacoma and Everett wait until 2014 to thank Mars Hill Global?
My theory is that the church operated in accord with the recently disclosed November 2011 Global Fund memo. Consistent with that memo, the destination of the Global Fund donations was not disclosed to the public while the fund was a giving option for members and non-members. It was only after the fund went away that Mars Hill offered any information about the way the funds were spent. If the church was operating transparently, these expenses would have been disclosed during the FY 2013 annual report, but since Global audiences might not knowingly donate to U.S. expansion, the church did not disclose the actual use of the funds.