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.
In an email to supporters and a You Tube video, Mark and Grace Driscoll have announced the formation of The Trinity Church. I reported late last year that Driscoll had formed the legal corporation along with Jimmy Evans and Randall Taylor. At the time, I asked rhetorically if the launch would be in January. I was close.
The website is TheTrinityChurch.com. The church is named after Grace Driscoll’s home church in the Seattle area. So far, the church is a P.O. Box (see some pics here).
In what appears to be comparable to Mars Hill Church’s Board of Advisors and Accountability, Driscoll lists four pastors as providing “wise counsel”: Larry Osbourne, Randal Taylor, Jimmy Evans, and Robert Morris. These pastors have “apostolic gifting.”
Mark and Grace Driscoll have pastors with apostolic gifting who love them, know them, and are invested in them.
We learn from, respect, honor and seek wise counsel from the following leaders, their families, churches and ministries. We also appreciate those ministry leaders praying for and supporting our church plant.
Josh McDowell and Wayne Grudem are on the prayer team. UPDATE: Without note, Wayne Grudem’s name has been removed from the list of prayer supporters.
Andy Girton and Brandon Andersen are listed as associate pastors. Apparently, it is forbidden to mention Mars Hill Church.
Although the incorporation papers say the church won’t have members, The Trinity Church website says the following about membership:
Once the church is established, a class and process for spiritual church membership will be offered.
Sounds similar to Mars Hill in that spiritual members didn’t vote. Legally, they weren’t members for the purpose of being involved in the business of the church.
The board of directors from the Arizona state corporation website is below:
Click the following links for the posts covering The Trinity Church, Mars Hill Church, and Mark Driscoll.
UPDATE: After the post was published, I noticed another video on Driscoll’s You Tube page, published today. Watch:
Here he describes the church plant again, but dressed in different clothing. I think the first video about the church plant was shot back in early December based on the clothing and scenery in this December 7 video.
Recently, writer Becky Garrison spent some time in Phoenix, AZ and looked for Mark Driscoll’s new project, The Trinity Church. In this report, Garrison summarizes Driscoll’s recent moves complete with photos of his church in a P.O. box.
Mark Driscoll’s Ministry Resurfaces in Phoenix
By Becky Garrison
After Mark Driscoll resigned as founder and leader of the multi-campus Seattle based Mars Hill Church, he registered the name Learning for Living before relocating the Driscoll family to Phoenix.
As reported by Warren Throckmorton on the Patheos blog, Mark Driscoll registered Mark Driscoll Ministries and the Trinity Church. Both are located at 21001 North Tatum Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85050. Marks Driscoll’s Ministries is listed as Ste. 1630-527 while the Trinity Church’s address is recorded as Ste. 1630-434.
As noted by the photographs below, these ministries are housed inside a UPS Store situated inside Desert Ridge Marketplace, a sprawling mall locate in Phoenix billed as an interactive shopping, dining and entertainment experience in a vibrant, high-energy outdoor setting. According to Lindsay Struck, Business Partnerships & Partnerships, for the charity watchdog organization Guidestar, “It is not uncommon for charities to have a P.O. box (or UPS mailbox) designated specifically for donations. This set-up is often because the charity’s donation processing is managed off-premise.”
However, one does have to wonder why a minister needs an online ministry established to disseminating his podcasts, sermons and other media, as well as a church especially as according to the articles of incorporation, Trinity Church won’t have any members. Mark Driscoll, Randall Taylor and Jimmy Evans are listed as directors of this church with Steven Goosdspeed, a lawyer with the Church Law Group, who handled the incorporation of these two Phoenix ministries. (Note: Goodspeed also handled the registration of Driscoll’s Learning for Living and the sale of Mars Hill Church’s Resurgence LLC assets to Driscoll. Church. Emails to Mark Driscoll Ministries and Evan’s church, Trinity Fellowship in Texas, inquiring about attending this “church” have yet to be returned. However, Driscoll preached preached on January 3, 2016 at North Valley Community Church which is located in the same vicinity as Driscoll’s “church.”
Also, Driscoll was of the keynote preachers at Trinity Fellowship’s Zion 2016 event held from January 3-6, 2016. When Jimmy Witcher, pastor with Trinity Fellowship, introduced Driscoll, he spun the downfall of Mars Hill as the result of “some internal things that were going on there” which were misreported by the media who only “get about the third of the information right.” Then he elevated Driscoll as “an amazing man of God” citing his appearance at the Texas based Gateway Conference in October 2014 as a sign this New Calvinist preacher could be finding a new audience among the followers within the more Pentecostal and charismatic influenced New Apostolic Reformation.
Moving north to Driscoll’s former stomping ground, according to the Washington Secretary of State’s website, two of Driscoll’s personal LLCs OMCRU Investments and On Mission LLC expired on December 31, 2015 but Driscoll’s MGD Legacy incorporated in Colorado remains in good standing. Even though Mars Hill Church formally dissolved on January 1, 2015, the documents for this church didn’t expired until December 31, 2015. However, the documents for Mars Hill Foundation for Planting Churches remain active until October 31, 2016 with Driscoll and Mars Hill Church executive elder Dave Bruskas listed as officers.
So what is the future for Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church’s assets? God only knows.
Regarding Mars Hill’s assets, the only people who know aren’t talking. Kerry Dodd is the most recent president but has not answered emails or other requests for information. Dave Bruskas is listed as an officer but he tells me he has had no communication with anyone on Mars Hill matters since he left. Apparently, the documents online haven’t been updated.
As promised, here is Driscoll’s new church in a box.
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 was trying to make sense of everything that was going on and what I was to learn from it and I was sitting in a pastors conference with a bunch of charismatics and pentecostals because they tend to be the most encouraging and loving I’ve found. And so they invited me just to come and observe and learn and not teach but just to learn and so I was there at this large pastors conference and I’m sitting, you know, near the front row, and I’m just kinda on the verge of losing it all the time, emotional still, and this pastor gets up and says, well before I speak, I have a word for Mark Driscoll, and I was like, aw man, I do not want a word. I just want to sit here and be anonymous and not get the prophetic word. And so, he got up and gave a word that was a word from the Lord and it just cut me to the heart. And what he, the basic gist of what he said was, you left ministry as an angry older brother and you’ll return as a loving father.
And then he pulled me aside afterword in his Ford truck cause that’s where the Shekinah Glory dwells and the good stuff goes down. So we sat in his truck and he said, you started off as a guy who was angry with some bitterness and you attracted a lot of angry bitter young men with father wounds and they picked up on your tone of anger and bitterness.
The prophecy is different in this telling, no doubt influenced by the conversation with Evans in the Ford truck. If this is indeed the Gateway conference word from God, then Evans is helping to bring about his prophecy by partnering with Driscoll with this new venture in Phoenix.
The word of prophecy last October is important now that Driscoll has incorporated a new church apparently with the author of the prophecy. The tone and character of this church will probably be more charismatic and apostolic than Mars Hill. The fulfilling of this “prophetic word” appears to be on the horizon with Driscoll set to return as a spiritual father figure.
In fact, the narrative Driscoll has cultivated is that God has spoken specially to him to get him to this place. Just over a year ago, he was prepared to enter into his elders’ plan for restoration but left that behind because he said God spoke to him and released him from Mars Hill. Now, he returns to ministry as the fulfillment of additional revelation given to Jimmy Evans.
The rest of this audio provides some eyebrow raising commentary by Driscoll on what he perceives to be a massive father wound among young men in America. Driscoll refers to himself as a spiritual father and his wife Grace as a spiritual mother. At 45, he seems to view himself as old.
At 6:21, Driscoll said that he believes
…part of the gifting of apostolic ministry is spiritual parenting. It’s younger leaders looking up and saying that’s like a mom and a dad that I look to and learn from, and I find health and comfort and love under their leadership and in this family of people and churches we look to them in a parental way.
He added that such language can sound cultic if imposed on people. However, because of what he believes is a “massive father wound” in the culture, people learn to look to the pastor and his wife and as parental figures. The rest of his speech dwells on why young men follow “dead guys” like Wesley and Spurgeon. They want distant father figures who do not hold them accountable.
I think some Mars Hill elders might wonder if Driscoll is preaching to himself in the remaining minutes of that speech.
My reaction is that reparenting one’s congregation seems like a prescription for disaster. We have just about put behind us the notion that counselors should reparent clients, I don’t think such a stance should be encouraged among ministers.
In any case, this appeal in September to how he sees his return to ministry might give some clues about the tone and ministry of The Trinity Church. Perhaps, it should have been called My Father’s House or something like that.
The next big thing appears to be just around the corner.
Mark Driscoll is listed as a director of recently registered The Trinity Church in Phoenix, along with Randall Taylor and Jimmy Evans. The address is the same UPS store listed as the Mark Driscoll Ministries address (the church has a different box number):
Mark Driscoll Ministries 21001 North Tatum Blvd Ste 1630-527 Phoenix, AZ 85050