Despite belittling 99% of the petitioners, Mars Hill Church leadership responded hastily to the petition these people participated in over the past week (link).
In a post to members, Mars Hill Church leadership has made some things quite clear, and also added to the confusion that they have already admitted.
As we strive to communicate the vision of Mars Hill Church, there has been an outside petition asking questions of Mars Hill. However, of the nearly 400 signers, only four have ever given to Mars Hill Global. We sent letters this past week to over 6000 Global donors giving them the option to designate their funds solely for international work if they wish. We received many replies of encouragement, as well as a few people who asked to change their designation, and we have gladly made those changes.
Here is what is clear:
It is clear that this issue is a serious one.
Deceptively raising money for a non-existent Global Fund is a violation of ECFA standards, and, like using church funds to deceptively purchase a spot on the NYT bestseller list, is something that is clearly immoral. Despite belittling the petition, it certainly got the Executive Elders’ attention..
It is clear that Mars Hill Leaders can provide exact numbers when it serves their purpose. They spent time and effort to go through the list of petitioners to show that only 1% gave to Mars Hill Global.
It is clear that the leadership failed to respond to the request of the 4 donors to Mars Hill Global as well as the remaining 99% who were members, ex-members and friends. The petitioners asked what was actually spent on international mission. They were quick to spend time researching how many actually gave to the fund called Mars Hill Global, yet simply ignored the donors’ request. Four petitioners gave to Mars Hill Global… but I thought Mars Hill Global were the global donors out there. Ah….. so there is a fund – despite the latest explanation that there is no fund.
It is clear that the leadership appears to imply that the petition is of lesser value because “only” four of the petitioners have ever given to Mars Hill Global. This disregards the 1% that actually gave to the fund, and disregards the 99% that were members, ex-members and friends, many, if not most, of whom gave to the general fund.
It is clear based upon this communication that the Global Fund did exist recently and that donors to the fund are seen as such. This flies in the face of the recent spin from Sutton Turner that Mars Hill Global is not a fund but is in fact global donors to the General Fund. If Mars Hill Global is simply global donors giving to the general fund, and if that includes everyone, including Mars Hill members (as Turner stated), then it seems that they would not say that four of the petitioners gave to Mars Hill Global. Based upon the latest explanation from Turner, the four would be global donors to the general fund, as he claims that since 2009 the Global Fund has not existed. So it appears that Mars Hill Global does exist as there is data available to identify four donors to the fund who made up 1% of the petitioners asking Mars Hill to make clear how much Global Fund money was actually spent on international outreach.
It is clear that the 99%, made up of members, former members and friends did not give to Mars Hill Global – a fund that supposedly does not exist. Obviously the fund does exist as four of the petitioners were identified as having given to it.
It is clear that in 2010 Mars Hill Global was listed as a restricted fund in footnote 5 of the abridged version of the Annual Financial Statements.
It is clear in this video that the fund exists (link).
It is clear that in 2014 almost all promotions for giving “to” Mars Hill Global was set in an African setting, deceptively implying that the fund was intended to go toward international church planting (link).
It is clear that a preponderance of the money that was raised in that fund went to U.S. Mars Hill church plants and not to Ethiopia or India as implied.
It is clear that Mars Hill leadership does not want to tell donors how much of the Global Fund money was spent on Ethiopia and India. Are they embarrassed about how little that amount was, perhaps?
Was it more than the $210,000 spent on deceptively buying a spot on the NYT Bestseller list?
Was it less that the annual salaries of any one of the Executive Elders?
Now that it is clear that there is a fund in to which at least 6000 donors gave, four of which petitioned Mars Hill Church, will the leadership now simply respect the 1% that donated to the fund and answer their question?