CBS News 5 Phoenix Reports on Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Past

In hindsight, I wonder if the wise counselors are rethinking the decision to omit Mars Hill Church from The Trinity Church website. Thus far, some version of that fact has formed a hook for the Phoenix media to report about the formation of Mark Driscoll’s new church. Watch (text is here):
CBS 5 – KPHO
The absence of Mars Hill from the bios and new church website only invites more investigation on the part of the media. The failure to tie up loose ends in Seattle may continue to haunt the Phoenix effort for quite awhile. And by loose ends, I mean financial disclosures about where and how much member and tither money was made by selling off assets. How much went to severance packages is a frequent question I hear. Furthermore, why did lawyers tell Sutton Turner not to reveal specific figures about Global Fund giving?
More importantly, there are former elders and members who are waiting to hear from the guy who is “healing up.” Be nice if everybody could heal up.

Seattle's Music Scene and the Ghosts of Mars Hill Church

Today, Kathleen Tarrant in the Stranger brings us a beautifully written tour of the Seattle Indie music during and post the Mars Hill Church years. She makes the case that the early Mars Hill era had an influence on Seattle rock which endures today. Some of that persistence isn’t necessarily to be celebrated as many Christian artists were disillusioned by Mars Hill. For those, who want to understand the bigger themes of the Mars Hill story, I highly recommend this article.
A couple of short segment will give a taste:

The expansion continued in the years that followed. Mars Hill would nearly triple in size between 2006 and 2014, with 15 satellite franchise churches in five states. Driscoll’s fame and influence were expanding, too, and the cracks began to show. He doubled down on his anti-feminist, anti-gay agenda and was soon called out for spiritual abuse, bullying, plagiarism, and generally being a fraud. He was caught leaving abusive comments on internet message boards under a pseudonym. Church funds that had been designated for global outreach and a music festival disappeared. In 2012, a company called ResultSource was paid a reported $200,000 to bulk-buy copies of Driscoll’s book Real Marriage in 2012 to send it to the top of the best-seller list. Acts 29, the “church planting” network that Driscoll cofounded, removed his name from their materials. Members left in droves. A group of 21 former Mars Hill pastors filed formal charges of workplace abuse against Driscoll with the church’s elders.

The rise and fall of MHC has left a, um, mark.

Butcher, a former member of Mars Hill, plays drums in the band Copeland. While a member of the church, he was the drummer for the local Christian indie folk band Ivan & Alyosha, and worked as a designer at Tooth & Nail (his design of the band Underoath’s box set was nominated for a Grammy in 2010). His exit from the church lined up with his exit from the band, and he remembers the stigma of association with the church that followed. People rescinded offers for drumming gigs and cast uncomfortable glances at each other when they found out about his former membership.
“I get it,” he says now. “What happened at Mars Hill hurt so many people, including me. There’s a lot of healing to do, and the more transparent I can be and the more I can listen to people who have concerns about the church and what it did—the same concerns that I have—the better it will turn out.”

I doubt Driscoll will try to reprise the edgy young prophet role he played in Seattle. He seems headed for more of a father figure profit role in Phoenix.
 

Former Mars Hill Church Downtown Now Known as "The Mark"

You can’t make this stuff up.
Note the banner on the old Mars Hill Downtown Seattle location of Mark Driscoll’s old church. It is now known as “The Mark.”
TheMarkSeattle
 
CloseUpTheMark
 
 
You can read about the project at TheMarkSeattle.com. Quick, someone check to see if “TheMarkPhoenix.com” is registered.
Here is what it looked like back in the day.
DowntownMHC
 
 
Joel Connolly described the final service of Mars Hill Downtown in the old Methodist church. The announcement day of closing the church was a dark one indeed.
On a serious note, the history of the building is fascinating. It is summarized in this video done by the former Mars Hill Downtown folks.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LOp3OxTT70[/youtube]
 

What's Next for Mark Driscoll?

The first thing will be another video appearance.
This week Brian Houston plans to show his interview with Mark Driscoll to the audience at Hillsong’s London conference. Protesters will be there as well.

The transcript of the interview to be shown at the London conference is posted at the ChurchwatchCentral blog.
Driscoll’s next moves are unknown to him according to this interview with Houston. However, the Driscolls did enjoy a farewell party about 10 days ago in Seattle. Where could they be going? Some say Phoenix. In fact, several people say the Driscolls have been seen frequently around the Phoenix area this summer. I understand North Scottsdale is a beautiful part of Maricopa County in the Phoenix area.
In any case, much unfinished business remains at Mars Hill including how Global Fund dollars were spent and the results of the elders’ investigations.
 

Mars Hill Church's The City Still Online

Even though Mars Hill Church is no longer doing business, the church’s social media platform, The City, remains operation and is being used by at least of the new churches – Doxa Church in Bellevue.  I obtained a screen cap of this communication from Jeff Vanderstelt via emails sent as a notification that content was available on the website.
DoxaOnTheMHC City
The entire communication is below:

As we enter into a new year we are also entering into a new beginning as a church. This Sunday marks the beginning of our first official gathering together as Doxa Church. I am excited to lead us through our very first series entitled: Foundations – Building a New God Glorifying Church Together.

We will begin the New Year with two new gathering times starting this Sunday: 9am and 11am.

During our Foundations series we will walk through each of the building blocks for establishing a church that exists to see God glorified through all of us everyday and in every place. Each week we will address a key building block followed with opportunities for discussion in groups during the week around each topic. I will also give you Scripture to read to prepare you for the next week’s message. This Sunday I will address Doxa’s Vision.

If you would like to read ahead, take some time to read Ephesians 1 and 2 Corinthians 3-4.

At the end of this series each of us will have the opportunity to commit to be a member of our new church. In order to commit with integrity, you will need to hear each message. So, if you are not able to attend all of our gatherings for this series, please make sure you watch or listen to a recording.

During this time, we will do our best to keep you aware of all that is happening from week to week. While we are still establishing our new communication hub, we will continue using The City to communicate to one another. We hope to have a new system for communication in place by February.

Many of you have also asked how you can give to the new church. We are building avenues for online giving which should be available soon. Until then, we will have to go ‘old school’. Please plan on giving with a check or cash during one of our gathering times on Sunday.

As some of us processed through the messiness of new beginnings I reminded them – as I want to remind you – building a new church is messy. We are at the beginning of laying a new foundation. Not everything will be perfectly in place from day one. That’s OK. That’s what beginnings are like. If you’ve ever begun a new job, moved to a new house, got married or started a family, you know. New is messy. And yet together, we all get to create something new together. It’s the beginning of a new work and all of us get to shape the future together. I’m excited to witness with you what Jesus wants to bring about as he continues to build His church through us in this new season!

So, please come join us in the mess of building a new foundation with Jesus as our cornerstone.

May he be glorified in us, through us and throughout the Eastside!

While Doxa is a new name and there is a new pastor, the church also has several elders from Mars Hill, at least one of whom was and presumably still is on the Board of Advisors and Accountability (Matt Rogers). Rogers, who recently tweeted that he was grateful for every minute of something to do with Mars Hill (his time there or the last service, can’t tell), has never publicly addressed the conflicting statements of the BoAA. For that matter, none of the lead pastors have addressed the discrepancies between the lead pastor’s public statements about Mark Driscoll and those coming from the BoAA.

Former Mars Hill Pastors Start Redeemer Church in Seattle

Ryan Welsh and Gary Shavey today announced the launch of Redeemer Church in the Eastside of Seattle. Welsh and Shavey were members of the group of nine Mars Hill Church pastors that called for Mark Driscoll to step down and enter an elder directed restoration plan.

You can learn more about the effort on their Facebook page. They are holding an informational meeting on Sunday, November 2nd at Seattle Revival Center in Newcastle, WA from 4:00-5:30 pm.
I wish them well in this new endeavor.

 

Mars Hill Church Wants $40 Million to Buy Bellevue College Building and Build New Church

According to a February 2014 communication from Mars Hill Church Executive Pastor Sutton Turner to MHC staff and elders that I obtained this week, Mars Hill Church is seeking to raise $40 Million to buy a Bellevue Community College building and build a new church. The building is in Bellevue, WA at 10700 Northup Way. Here is the pitch to buy the facility:

Why?

  • Jesus has called us to be a Jesus-loving, Bible-preaching, multi-generational church.
  • We want to see more people saved by Jesus, more people grow in Jesus, and more people be on Mission with Jesus for generations and generations.
  • It’s all about Jesus.

How?

  • We have a vision to plant 50 church across 50,000 people. It is a specific prayer of ours to see Jesus lead 4,000 people to get baptized in a single year.
  • We must serve and love all of our churches more effectively. We also must train up the next generation of leaders. Finally, we must continue to stay rooted in and faithful to the Bible and to Jesus.
  • It’s all about Jesus.

What?

  • To do all of these things, it requires a Ministry Center that will house Mars Hill Schools (College and Seminary), Ministry Development, Leadership Development, and all Mars Hill support staff. It will be critically important that we are all connected and rooted in a local church.
  • We need to raise $40M. This allows us to purchase the land, purchase the Ministry Center building, and build an 1,800 seat church building debt-free.
  • It’s all about Jesus.

Who?

  • Every staff member
  • Every leader
  • The entire Mars Hill family
  • It’s all about Jesus.

Please earnestly seek the Lord’s guidance about how he is leading you to join in this generation-changing opportunity. Pray, and then here to sign in to your global account and make your pledge. As of today, all staff and elders have the ability to post your pledge. You should see this pledge box appear when you sign in.

 

Mars Hill has been looking for a large property in Bellevue since at least last year. The current location is slated to be the site of a massive project managed by the Rockerfeller Group. Since they need to move, MHC made an offer on a building owned by International Paper in 2013 only to find that Seattle Sound Transit had first refusal on the building. According to an October 2013 Seattle Times article, Mars Hill spokesman Justin Dean said the International Paper building was the property God intended for MHC to have.  The church still has a page on the website where members can contact the Sound Transit Board to advocate for Mars Hill to purchase the International Paper building. The last tweet in the campaign #goodforbellevue was in November, 2013. I cannot find anything on the Mars Hill website which indicates that the congregation has been informed of the Bellevue College initiative.
I have asked MHC Executive Pastor Sutton Turner for comment and will add new information as it become available. A source with knowledge of the situation tells me that the real estate project could be jeopardized due to declining donations.
Note: Mars Hill removed most of the original links I used to research this post. I have saved many of the pages and have some archived pages substituted for the original links. It appears Mars Hill leaders would like to scrub the history of this incident.