Mars Hill Scandals: What I would like to see happen

I have written some articles about the issues and problems that are plaguing Mars Hill Church.  While a lot of these posts were intended to be confrontational and informative, I realized I hadn’t specifically stated what I would like to see happen (other than calling for Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner’s resignations, at least for a season).  Here is a post seeking to encourage action that should be taken.

First off, I’m not claiming to be the final authority or any kind of authority on what repentance should look like for the senior leadership of the church.  After all, I was only a part of Mars Hill for a small amount of time (March 2008 through June 2011).  There are many who were there longer than me and had higher positions of leadership than I did who may have other ideas regarding repentance and reconciliation.  That being the case here are some initial thoughts on the matter:

1) The repeal of the current by laws and a return to an elder process where all members of the board bear responsibility for accountability and have recourse to hold others who are elders.  I don’t have a problem per se with an executive elder board in a larger organization but the regular elders should have a clearly defined process for corrective action in the case of an executive elder doing questionable things.

2) The exoneration of Bent Meyers and Paul Petry and their families.  These men initially challenged the changing of the by-laws in 2007 and were subsequently fired and shunned by the church. I pray for the clearing of their names (which were smeared) and a process of reconciliation to be offered to them.  (More information regarding their stories:

3) That Mars Hill senior leaders and the Board of Accountability (BOAA) would move forward with the mediation process regarding the 20 pastors who have grievances.  Former Pastors Kyle Firstenberg and Dave Kraft have both led this process.  These men should all get to share their accounts of what transpired during their respective tenors.  I also pray for repentance and reconciliation.  (More information:

4) Driscoll’s personal apology for plagiarism in all of his books where passages have been compared with other work and called into question.  An apology to the authors should be in order as well as proper citation added.  There has already been some movement on this point albeit quietly.  (Source:

5) A full and specific disclosure to Mars Hill members and regular tithers regarding the finances of the church.  This should include the pay range of the executive elders and not just base pay, but any other expense accounts from the church.

6) A full disclosure to the entire Christian community of the Mars Hill Global Fund INCLUDING a line item break down and detailed account of what people in Ethiopia and India receive (or have received) from this fund.  (More information:

7) A personal apology to each member of the local Orange County board who were falsely accused by Driscoll of persecuting Christians.  (More information:

8). And not to be taken lightly…. Ideally I want Driscoll, Turner, and other perpetuators of abuse (defined as spiritual manipulation or being shunned and thereby cut off from friends and family) to be seated in a room. Anyone who has ever been abused at Mars Hill should be able to go in and tell their story directly to these men without interruption. For those who don ‘t want to personally face them, there can be audio and/or video recordings of testimonies.  Of course, no one has to share. The goal here is for the senior leaders to feel the weight of the system and organization they have built and the damage it has caused people.

I hear rumors that there is a full council elders meeting tonight at Mars Hill Church at 6pm.  I pray that the above actionable items would be seriously considered.  #invitethelight #MHelders


About dangeroushope

Striving to follow Christ, love people and learn more about the world.
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4 Responses to Mars Hill Scandals: What I would like to see happen

  1. Rope Field says:

    I thought your list might have included something like this:

    1. MD talks book deal with publisher on marriage, sex etc. After this…
    2. MD creates preaching series on Marriage and Sex
    3. Church pays him to prep and preach the series
    4. Church pays for the pubilicyt and digital media that promotes it at MH and on the net
    5. After preaching the series (lots of exotic isues preached on ensuring publicity is maximised) MD (and others?) author the book based on the sermon series.
    6. Books then published and marketed.
    7. MD has clever tax arrangements that state that all funds generated by book go to church – but in fact only a percentage do each year – any remaining earnings at his death would go to the church – but prior to then he / his trust beneficiaries are able to enjoy a nice slice of the cash

    I am purposefully leaving aside the gaming of the NYT best-seller list. This has been acknowledged and (limply) apologised for as ‘a mistake.’

    What I think should be under the spot light is that MD is paid to think, prep and preach. Surely all legal AND beneficial interest in any intellectual property that he creates conected with his work, esp if it is a direct derivative work of his preaching, should belong to the church.

    In any technology or media company, or university for that matter – if an employee or professor creates related IP to his work then his contract of employment will make it plain that this IP (normally) will belong to the empoyer.

    Regardless of the New York Times escapade, it seems to me sad that discussions and deals are done with publishers and marketers about books et al before the sermon series is created and preached. Who was it really preached for? MH? Or the book buying public who generate earnings for MD family “charitable” trusts?

    So may I recommend you add to your list: That the leadership team sign new employment contracts, stating that any additional earnings created in connection with their ministry belong to the church and that any media and intellectual property created out of teaching / music etc that the leader is paid to create and deliver for MH congregations should belong to MH church.

  2. Rope Field says:

    ps. excuse the typos

  3. Ron Pilchu says:

    “In any technology or media company, or university for that matter – if an employee or professor creates related IP to his work then his contract of employment will make it plain that this IP (normally) will belong to the empoyer.”

    Except in Driscoll’s case, he probably is not an “employee” of the church. He is paid as an independent contractor and receives a 1099 and not a W-2. He is also the president of the corporation and has the power to appoint and fire directors. So, he can pretty much choose to do whatever he wants to do, and there’s no one to stop him – except those who give money to fuel the organization.

  4. Pingback: Mark Driscoll as a Victim: The Road to the Comeback | Dangerous Hope

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