When Mars Hill Church closed the doors for the last service, the corporation Mars Hill Church did not cease. However, it has never been clear who remained in charge of the organization on a day to day basis. By by-law, the church’s Board of Advisors and Accountability has the power to create a plan of dissolution but the church has not disclosed who remained on that board. While I don’t know all involved in that capacity, I do know now who is the president of the church. Also, one person often speculated to still be involved is not.
According to documents filed last week in the King County court house, Chief Financial Officer Kerry Dodd is referred to as the president of the corporation. Dodd was hired by Sutton Turner early in Turner’s tenure as executive pastor. According to a 2012 memo to fellow executive elders, Turner considered Dodd to be a capable CFO. As president of Mars Hill, he signed documents recently in the sale of the Mars Hill Ballard building to Quest church.
The other update involves former executive pastor Dave Bruskas. Yesterday, Bruskas informed me via email that he resigned all of his roles and duties at Mars Hill Church, including his corporate role, on December 31, 2014. Under the Mars Hill bylaws, executive pastors have a position on the BoAA. As of the end of last year, there were no publicly named executive pastors.
At the time of the last service, remaining BoAA members were Matt Rogers, Larry Osborne, Michael VanSkaik, and Jon Phelps.
Who runs Mars Hill has become relevant again due to the ongoing questions surrounding the use of Mars Hill email lists by a shadowy group/individual doing business as “Church Leaders List.” After xxxchurch director Craig Gross purchased what former Mars Hill public relations spokesperson Justin Dean called The Resurgence mailing list, Church Leaders List essentially left public view by shutting down its website and twitter account. Now there are concerns that Mars Hill had not sold the list to anyone, raising questions about how Church Leaders List secured it. Efforts to get comment from the attorney who is responsible for selling The Resurgence assets have not yielded direct comment. No one from Mars Hill Church has offered comment as well.
Meanwhile, Justin Dean’s website has gone into maintenance mode and is unavailable; his twitter account has been removed.
Craig Gross summarized his involvement and what he believes about the situation in a new post today.
UPDATE: It appears that the website used to purchase the list is now down and went down after Craig Gross pointed out where he got the list. I have a screen cap of it and it still exists on Google’s cache. The website does not identify the mailing list as being The Resurgence’s list. It seems Craig Gross didn’t know what he was getting into when he purchased the list at the recommendation of Justin Dean. I am wondering how Church Leaders List (which is now gone from Twitter — see the cache — and the web) got the emails.
See screen caps at the end of the post.
(Beginning of original post)
There is some irony in this story.
Craig Gross, founder of XXXChurch.com has purchased the mailing list of Mars Hill Church’s training ministry, The Resurgence. In an email forwarded to me by several people (thanks Joe, Brandon and others), he offers a book called Open. Then, in his pitch for accountability software, he specifically identifies Mark Driscoll as an example of someone who was not open to accountability. From the email:
From: Craig Gross <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 4:53 PM
Subject: Mark Driscoll – The Real Story
my name is Craig Gross. I started XXXchurch.com 15 years ago to help people with porn addiction. We then created an accountability app called X3watch.com about 9 years ago and have been helping people stay accountable and safe on the internet ever since. In fact, X3watch now has over 1 million users and counting!
Two years ago, we partnered with Mark Driscoll and the Resurgence to be a major sponsor at the R13 conference, meaning we were able to have our logo and product talked about from the stage. The conference was great, our team met Mark and his staff, and we were able to help hundreds of pastors stay accountable to one another, their spouses, and their church staff.
This is where the story gets hard. I’ve seen a lot of pastors come and go because of extramarital affairs, flirting, porn addiction, gambling addictions, and a whole mess of other stuff. It’s never easy to see a pastor, leader or friends shipwreck their life because of bad choices. Usually they lose their spouse, respect from their kids, their extended family, and their job.
With Mark, the details are different but the core truth remains the same: he didn’t have people speaking into his life to help him make the best choices. This was his downfall. He didn’t let anyone in to help guide him, to speak truth to him, to coach him, to tell him when decisions might be a bad idea.
He didn’t make himself accountable.
As a leader, if you don’t have accountability, your time is coming. You will fall. I’m not saying this to scare you (okay, maybe I am), but it’s for your own good. I hope you all are choosing to be a leader that’s OPEN.
I wrote a book called “OPEN.” It deals with people coming to terms with all their sins and living a life that is transparent and honest.
I want to give you this book FREE. Also I want to give you 50% off of our premium accountability software. This will help you stay accountable online, filter the internet for your family, and help create a legacy worth talking about for generations to come. Simply use the code “resurgence” when you check out at www.x3watch.com. You will get a link to the book once you create your account.
Keep the Faith and Stay OPEN.
A follow up letter was mailed to the recipients of the first clarifying how xxxchurch got the email addresses:
On Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 6:33 PM, Craig Gross <email@example.com>, wrote:
Hey Guys and Gals,
I sent you an email earlier. Just to be clear.
I apologize if my email caught you off guard. I bought an email list from http://www.churchleaderslist.com/.?utm_campaign=website&utm_source=sendgrid.com&utm_medium=email Mark’s right hand guy at Mars Hill told us that this list was the Resurgence list.
So the Resurgence mailing list is being used to promote marketing that uses Mark Driscoll as an example of what not to do.
Gross called on Driscoll to step down in early August of 2014.
Sounds like it could be an interesting book.
The Resurgence domain was for sale for $100k; the email list at the time was nearly 60k.
Below is the screen cap of the Church Leaders List Twitter account:
A pdf of the website (now down) is here. A check of it will show that the source of the emails is not identified. How did people get on this list? It appears that whoever is behind Church Leaders List doesn’t want anyone to know. Another unanswered question is did the people behind Church Leaders List have permission to sell these emails to any willing buyer?