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An Update on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church

It’s been several months since I posted anything on this site about Mars Hill Church where I served as an elder from the fall of 2005 until the fall of 2013. In May of 2013 I started a process of sharing some deep concerns. That process continues to this day.

If the storm surrounding me and a few men we call BOB (band of brothers, “The 20”), which is composed of a group of former pastors of Mars Hill Church, and our concerns about Mars Hill Church and its executive leadership are news to you, you can get caught up by reading the two blogs previously posted on this site before reading further.

First Blog about Mars Hill Church

Second Blog about Mars Hill Church

On March 17 of this year, BOB sent a request to the Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA), which includes the three members of the Executive Elder team of Mars Hill Church (Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas). Our request was simple and to the point. 

Because of many long-standing hurts and offenses that we have either personally experienced and/or witnessed between us and the executive elders, we are requesting your help in establishing a wise and workable reconciliation process, acceptable to all involved to resolve these issues. Knowing that there might be several possible reconciliation processes to follow, we are asking that you consider enlisting the help of a third party who can objectively guide all of us toward repentance and reconciliation.”

I am glad to report that the process described above is now underway. A reputable professional team, experienced in matters of significant conflict in churches, has been retained by the BOAA. This team is doing initial interviews and getting the lay of the land regarding what has transpired over the last seven years or so at Mars Hill Church. This will be a long process, so patience will be the need of the hour. Once the team has done its initial round of interviews, recommendations will be given to the BOAA as to next steps.

Personally, I am encouraged and, to use a military expression, I am cautiously optimistic. It’s way too early in the process to know how it will play out, how interested parties can be involved and what the longer-term results will be. I want to strongly encourage all of you reading this to be much in prayer, as much is at stake.

There is always a chance that when the process becomes painful and extremely uncomfortable (which it most certainly will), or takes more time than anticipated or desired, the BOAA would discontinue the “Repentance and Reconciliation” process.

I am praying earnestly that this will not happen. I’m also praying that the process (however long it may take) will bear good fruit and bring needed healing to a hurting Mars Hill Church.

A verse for me in this matter is I Corinthians 16:13,14 in the NLT:

“Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done with love.”

1.  We need to be on guard because we have an enemy near at hand (I Peter 5:8)

2.  By his grace we all need to stand tall and true for what we believe without fear

3.  We need to be courageous and strong in the gospel

4.  Love (albeit at times tough love) must be the overriding driver and underlying motive in all we do and say; not motivated by bitterness, anger or revenge, but by love. The love of Jesus and love for Jesus and his church. (2 Corinthians 5:14,15)

Here are three things to be praying about:

1.  Pray for a true spirit of repentance and a Holy Spirit created desire for reconciliation and restoration

2.  Pray for courage and a safe place for those who want to (and need to) speak out and tell their stories

3.  Pray that as a result of this process Mars Hill Church will have a healthier culture and a healthier leadership team  

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Reader Comments (7)

Huh. This is very telling. Posts with bad/hard news/words have tons of comments. Post with good news (and a very positive outlook) like this one have none. (Well, now one.) If reconciliation is the goal, why is there radio silence, folks? Check your heart... what do you really want?
June 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThis is Good News
Thanks Dave,
It is always encouraging to hear your take on how things are going, and I love how you are pointing to Christ and His heart for truth, justice, and Grace and mercy.
June 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Bettger
This news stirs an ember of hope in my heart. Doug and I have stayed at MH because we felt called to be a voice "from the bleachers." There are former pastors and leaders who are being heard, but the pervasiveness of the poison of power is unknown unless the watchmen in the congregation speak out as well. We have done that on a personal and confidential level with Mark Driscoll and individually with members of the BOAA. Although there has been no response or even indication that the letters were received, we trust the Holy Spirit -- we have done what we felt called to do, and will continue to pray earnestly that this process will be protected from the enemy, empowered by the Spirit, and undergirded by love. Thank you for the update Dave. We need to hear the good news as well as the rest.
June 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce Hawkinson
This is encouraging news.

I left Mars Hill early this year, mostly for theological differences, partly for structural concerns, and partly because of the church's response to information leaked to the media. I hope this reconcilation process can address the culture of secrecy, authoritarianism, and spiritual abuse against members and leaders (I do not use the term 'spiritual abuse' lightly, but during a meeting with the Ballard campus pastor, this is the sin that he says Mark Driscoll has confessed to). I hope this reconciliation process continues unchecked, that the 3rd party is blessed with wisdom, and that the broken structures would not remain status quo. Mars Hill can be a great church if great repentance is witnessed in all the places her influence has spread.
June 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterScott Phillips
it is good news -- but I wonder just how objective and impartial this mediator can be if one of the 2 parties is paying their salaries.
June 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterscottie
I have followed many of the blogs and posts from people affected by this type of leadership. It seems that the larger an organization becomes, the more it drifts from a biblical model of leadership. Part of this may be due to necessity because the church grows beyond the ability of a shepherd to truly know his sheep. It becomes an evangelical factory where individual needs and personal relationships between leadership and the flock are separated with multiple layers of bureaucracy. An additional part is the pride that grows with the CEO of these large churches. The shepherd starts to becomes the focus of worship and with the increase in the amount of “fans”, power and money, Satan fills the shepherd’s heart with an ever growing pride. Once pride grows, humility fades and the one who once was a humble servant leading others to worship God, becomes the focus of worship and glory. I have seen sycophants talk more about the love of their idolized pastor than their love for God and I have seen the pastor become intoxicated with the adulations. What happens when the pastor’s pride spills over into unbiblical decisions and life style is that the sycophants will defend their beloved pastor even when egregious behaviors and decisions are made. Circling the wagons to protect the pastor and the image of the organization supersede standing firm on biblical teaching, even though there is a proclamation that what the organization is doing is 100% biblical. Anyone who questions the now almost deified pastor is deemed divisive and removed from the church. The biblical character Diotrephes was a man whose pride led him to place himself above the teachings of the apostles and refused to listen to the apostles or their representatives who were sent.

It is my hope that there would be repentance on the part of the senior leadership of Mars Hill (and all the other churches like it) and a return to putting Christ as the leader of HIS church. But sadly, I have not seen this happen. Only after there are numerous scandals that cannot be contained or numerous voices that cannot be silenced that action is taken. And then the action taken is often just another creation of policies to create a façade of corrective action, a façade of policies that will ultimately be ignored. This may seem highly cynical, but pride is a cancerous beast that is hard to kill and once those in positions of leadership are infected, it is an almost impossible to cure.
June 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Mason
Hope this is all still going well. I hope various agreements allow you and others to be really open with how the process goes. I've long hoped that Pastor Mark was repenting and God changing him for the nine years since I first attended. It seems clear to me now he has had a lot of unrepentant sin for a long time. Those of us still attending, hoping to see change just have no bearing as to whether we're seeing the same manipulated version of events that gives the appearance of health and hides the sin and the sickness. Your voice and that of others who are working through reconciliation is really helpful for those of us who've lost faith in Mars Hill to tell us what's really going on.
August 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

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