GoFindMe – who and where are the “little people” laid off from Mars Hill Church?

Generous giving

I notice that there was no scramble to set up a GoFundMe campaign for any of the 30 to 40 employees of Mars Hill Church that recently got laid off from their jobs.

There has been no GoFundMe fund for restitution to Paul Petry or Bent Meyer for the pain of their firings and loss of income because of the slander that was used to discredit them.

There was no GoFundMe set up for the loss of income supporting the Agathos orphans when Mars Hill Church cut off support after Mark Driscoll threatened to destroy that ministry after the 2007 trials.

As heartwarming as it was to see many of us put together $105,000 for the four former elders (link, link), I note that there are clear biblical guidelines for who the church should raise money for. I hate to see so many lose their jobs at Mars Hill Church in the wake of the numerous scandals that have resulted from the actions of the elders and leadership of Mars Hill Church over the years that is recently coming to light.

It would be fantastic to generously help all who have been plunged into crisis as a result.

As we look at how to help going forward, and before I lay out some biblical guidelines, I must say that I love the generosity displayed to the handful of former elders, and, as an immigrant to the USA I am always amazed at the generosity of Americans to almost any crisis. I see this regularly around the fire where several brothers that meet weekly will rise up and support fellow brothers that are struggling financially. It is true Christian charity at work.

Having said that, there are clear biblical guidelines for the church when providing financial assistance to those in need both outside the local church and for members within the church. We are clearly told who we should give to.

FIRST, give to the orphan and the widow.

This is the most basic directive regarding our Christian charity. Without question or hesitation it should be to the orphan and the widow.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  — James 1:27

Note that we are not to give to all orphans and widows, but only to those that are in distress.

SECOND, give to those in crisis.

Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.  Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me. — 1 Corinthians 16:1-4

The Apostle Paul’s collection for the Jerusalem church occupies significant portions of his letters (1 Cor 16:1–4; 2 Cor 8:1–9:15; Rom 15:14–32). He was willing to put time, effort, and risk into collecting money for the church in Jerusalem which was in crisis. When there is a crisis, it is totally appropriate and biblical to raise money for those in crisis, and to risk one’s life to make sure the money gets into the hands of those in crisis and meets their critical needs.

This was the first time we hear of weekly giving in the church. It was not to support the local church, but to support the poor brothers and sisters in crisis in Jerusalem.

THIRD, give to support the widow in your church.

Paul addresses supporting the needy widow in 1 Timothy 5. He teaches that even truly needy widows in the church must first look to their own families before the church kicks in. This is not to be mean, but to be biblical. The first order on God’s civil structure is the family. Therefore the family of the hurting widow should be writing the check and caring for their own widows.

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. — I Timothy 5:3-11a

This list of which widows should receive help can seem quite harsh. Imagine if you were the widow who had lost her husband and was struggling. Some friends of yours go to Timothy and the other elders and suggest a GoFundMe campaign for your plight. Timothy, while moved with compassion at your loss, remembers the words of the fatherly Paul, and asks you about your family. You have family who are able to take care of you, and the GoFundMe idea is scrapped, allowing your own family to enjoy caring for you.

FOURTH, give to the poor.

Numerous passages talk about being generous to the poor. This should be the core of a person’s generosity. The bible verses to this end are too numerous to quote. While it is clear that every member of society should be productive, and the man who will not work should not be rewarded, generous care for the poor should be the hallmark of every church and every Christian’s budget. This should be Generosity 101 in the giving curriculum of every Christian church.

FIFTH, give generously.

There is no biblical injunction against simply being generous to anyone. God lavishes gifts on his children, even though we do not deserve it. We can give gifts out of love. We can give gifts out of thanks. There is no biblical prohibition to an individual from giving gifts to whomever he pleases.

SIXTH, give when restitution is required.

When Zacchaeus was convicted of his sin, he paid back to his victims fourfold. Biblical law always had restitution in mind where the actions of the offender had impacted the victim financially. To fail to do this permanently robs the victim of that which is rightfully his. That is why, when slander is exposed, in most cases there is financial recompense as the slander robbed the victim of his name and therefore his ability to earn.

IN SUMMARY THEN….

  1. Give to the orphan and widow in their distress.
  2. Give to those in deep crisis.
  3. Give to the widow in your church. a. Only to those that are in need and have no family to support them through their crisis. b. Only to those that are known for good works c. Only to those that have cared for her own relatives. d. Only to those who have been faithful to their own husband. e. Only to those well known for her own good deeds. f.  Only if she is not young (over 60) and not capable of working or finding a husband.
  4. Give to the poor.
  5. Give generously.
  6. Give when restitution requires it.
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What is good for the Mars Hill goose, is NOT good for the Mars Hill gander!

goose 1

Mars Hill Church to the abused: “Suck it in and be defrauded!”

Now comes a second Mars Hill Church pastor arguing that those who have been abused and defrauded by the actions of the church leaders should choose to be harmed and defrauded versus seeking resolution – especially through civil recourse.

This had already been argued by Pastor David Fairchild, lead pastor of Mars Hill West Seattle (link) who claimed that taking one’s case of abuse to the court of public opinion through social media was akin to taking it to the courts. Fairchild suggested that the abused should rather choose to be defrauded. In his opinion, that is what 1 Corinthians 6 teaches.

Lead pastor of Mars Hill Rainier Valley, Pastor Ed Choi, in a discussion I had along with Pastors AJ Hamilton (setting up a possible MH campus in Los Angeles), Aaron Gray (lead pastor of Mars Hill Shoreline), and Alex Ghioni (lead pastor of Mars Hill Sammamish), chided me that 1 Corinthians 6 should be interpreted to say that we grieved and abused members should simply agree to be defrauded rather than seek redress of our grievances.

I heard no kickback from the other pastors in the conversation. So it seems that at least five of the pastors at Mars Hill Church believe that abused members should just agree to be defrauded rather than seek either the court of public opinion or the civil court for redress.

My reaction to Ed Choi was to thank him for making Mars Hill Church’s position clear. What I heard him say was that it is right to choose being defrauded over using the civil courts to address matters. This surely would mean that if Mars Hill Church was sued, they would not choose to defend themselves or counter-sue. They would choose to accept a summary judgment against them, even if it meant that they would be defrauded in the process.

Pastor Choi’s response was immediate and strong. “No, no, no, no, that is not what I am saying,” said Pastor Choi.

Apparently, the appeal to Christians to accept being defrauded over seeking redress in court does not apply to Mars Hill Church or its leadership.

This explains why they can threaten lawsuits in non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) forced on exiting staff. It also explains why they threaten other churches that come too close using their “brand” with civil action.

What is good for the goose is not good the gander.

Of course, to even the casual observer, this is just plain old hypocrisy.

Abusive tactics forced the bylaws to be changed in 2007

Musings from under the bus.

Cast your vote

Recent events at Mars Hill Church show that dissent of any kind is not tolerated. Even questioning can get you removed as a member.

It therefore time for all members and ex-members to understand that the bylaws that were changed in 2007 were changed under that same threats and abusive coercion that we have all witnessed in recent days, most lately in the cases of Dalton Rohrback, Phil Poirier, and Phil Smidt, all of whom were terminated because they either questioned or could not agree with one thing or another.

The current bylaws allow for the Executive Elders to simply remove elders at will. This was not, however, the case in 2007 under the old bylaws. But the abusive tactics that we now see commonly used by Mars Hill Church executive elders used were used in 2007 to scare and coerce the men at the time to agree to change…

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Mark Driscoll: It was a mistake to submit to these young, new and green elders.

New young and green  15

Says Mark Driscoll: “I wanted to be under authority, but I made a mistake of, how do I say this carefully; trying to be under the authority of my elders, but the truth is all my elders were new and young and green, and they would want to help, but they really didn’t know what they were talking about.” (link)

Mark Driscoll, in yet another re-spin of his past actions, is now saying that the elders he was under were new, young and “green.” It is hard to keep up with the perpetual retelling of the past.

So who were these “new, young and green elders” that Mark Driscoll made the mistake of trying to be under the authority of?

Tim Belz

Tim Belz. Prior to coming to Mars Hill, Tim was the Chief Operating Officer with Christa Ministries in the greater Seattle area. He has been a Christian for years (link).

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas. Prior to coming to Mars Hill, Scott had planted and pastored churches for years. He has been a Christian for years (link).

Tim Quiring

Tim Quiring. Prior to coming to Mars Hill Church, Tim had served as an elder in a church in Indiana. He has been a Christian for years (link).

Steve Tompkins

Steve Tompkins. Prior to coming to Mars Hill Church, Steve had been a pastor in Canada. He has been a Christian for years (link).

bill clem

Bill Clem. Prior to coming to Mars Hill Church, Bill had been the pastor of Doxa Church in West Seattle and served in other churches prior to that. Bill has been a Christian for many years (link).

Jesse Winkler

Jesse Winkler. Prior to coming (back) to Mars Hill Church, Jesse had been the pastor of “The Vine” church in Bellevue, WA. Jesse has been a Christian for years (link).

Dave Kraft

Dave Kraft. Prior to coming to Mars Hill Church, Dave worked in Christian service his entire life and was coaching for Ministry Coaching International, which included coaching Mark Driscoll himself. Dave has been a Christian for 54 years (link).

Gary Shavey

Gary Shavey. Prior to coming to Mars Hill Church, Gary worked for Athletes in Action. Gary has been a Christian for years (link).

james-noriega

James Noriega. Prior to coming to Mars Hill Church James was a pastor at Doxa Church and worked at the Union Gospel Mission. James has been a Christian longer than Mark Driscoll had been when he co-founded Mars Hill Church (link).

Lief Moi

Lief Moi. Lief co-founded the church and was always viewed by the younger members as the father figure that Mark Driscoll now claims to be aspiring to become. Lief has been a Christian for years.

Bent Meyer  Paul Petry

Then of course there are Bent Meyer and Paul Petry, seasoned Christians of many years who had the wisdom to stand up and argue against the disasterous change of the bylaws seven years ago.

Here are twelve men of age and maturity.

I do not see any “new, young and green” men in this list.  Perhaps the fatherly Mark Driscoll could point point them out?

fatherly mark driscoll

Bearing false witness: Does repeated slander disqualify an elder?

Does Lying Disquilify and Elder

There are few more destructive and simply “mean” sins than that of slandering another person. Slander is a violation of the eighth commandment. Slander is lying in order to damage the good name of another person.

In the current Mars Hill Church debacle, the term has been used frequently to silence critics and those who ask questions. Do those who use the term realize the seriousness of the sin?

One can be sued in civil court for defamation: which may be slander, and if the slander is put in writing, it is called libel. Of course, making a false statement about a person while under oath can land you in jail for perjury. It is a serious sin.

Recently, Matt Rogers, the man who is heading up the “investigation” of the charges against Mark Driscoll, has accused unnamed persons of slandering good men’s names. Rogers neither named the alleged slanderers nor did he say who was slandered or what the slander was. Nevertheless he made the accusation against either all or some of the protesters at the August 1 silent protest, and against protesters using social media.

Fortunately for Matt Rogers, he neither named who he leveled his accusation against, nor identified what the slander was. So Roger’s accusations are meaningless as their truth cannot be verified. Without naming anyone, if his accusation is false, no one specific can say they have been slandered. There were estimates of between 60 to 100 people at the protest. Very few of us spoke out as it was a silent protest. So Rogers was probably stating that the few (perhaps three or four) of us that spoke to reporters were slanderers. I wonder who he was referring to and what slander occurred? Telling the truth is by definition not slander.

Mark Driscoll has been accused of slander by various individuals and groups, including Dave Kraft, the 21 elders who left Mars Hill Church, and the “Noble Nine” elders from within the church. Last Wednesday, I added myself to the list when I met with four members of the investigation team and in accordance with 1 Timothy 5:19 brought four specific charges of slander against Mark Driscoll dating from 18 years ago to as recently as six months ago. My desire was not to merely add more accusations to the mountain of charges already leveled against Mark Driscoll, but to demonstrate that the sin has repeatedly occurred for years, has not been repented of, and is still occurring.

There has been no repentance by “the young angry prophet” nor by “the older fatherly” Mark Driscoll.

There has been no change. It appears that both the admittedly angry young prophet and the newly posturing fatherly Mark Driscoll is a serial slanderer.

In the last several months it appears that Mark Driscoll slandered a former elder who was cleared of misusing church resources. Even after the former elder was cleared of the charge, Driscoll repeated the accusation that the former elder had embezzled from the church. This would be slander of the worst kind. At the trial of Paul Petry, it has been reported that Mark Driscoll slandered several people, including me. 18 years ago, some of us have recently discovered, Mark Driscoll is accused of slandering an ex-employee. All of these acts of slander can be verified by witnesses in accordance with 1 Timothy 5:19.

Slander is often done behind the scenes. It is malicious. The one being slandered has no idea of it occuring or the damage inflicted to his or her name. It is devastating to the innocent party.

In Mark Driscoll’s case, he most often seems to slander men with whom he has worked, and in some cases, as in my case and other former elders’ cases, he threatened to harm the reputation of men with whom he became angry. In my case, he threatened to end my ministry and make sure I would never be in ministry again. He appears to have attempted to do this by slandering my name and my ministry behind my back.

Reports are that he has also done this to other men with whom he has worked. He appears to have slandered them and harmed their good names.

Consider that the process for becoming a deacon or elder at Mars Hill Church has always been touted as rigorous. The men whom Mark Driscoll has slandered were men who passed the test of character that is required by the Mars Hill process and promulgated by Mark Driscoll over and over again.

Slander is despicable.

It harms a man’s name and can destroy his reputation, sometimes permanently. It can harm the person who is slandered significanltly, including the loss of income, as the harm causes people to mistrust the victim. Many of the men leaving Mars hill Church are trying to find jobs or rebuild their source of income. Slander can be devasting to these men.

To slander men in this position is literally attempting to rob them of their ability to rebuild their lives and their ability to provide for their families.

Mark Driscoll’s slander of me and of Agathos, the ministry he said he would destroy, brought great harm to me and to Agathos.  The Agathos staff and I simply chose to be defrauded and not pursue a lawsuit (I Corinthians 6), but as I have discovered allegations of slander from 18 years ago, and which have continued to occur even within in the last six months despite the heightened scrutiny of the church and the public, I can no longer avoid drawing attention to this disqualifying sin.

A smidgen of empathy for Sutton Turner.

smidgen 1

Try to understand things from Sutton Turner’s point of view.

He was hired from out of the blue after years of listening to Mark Driscoll online. Turner had a reasonable resume’ from a business standpoint, and is a young Christian. He is in a setting where “church planting” is the ultimate stated purpose of the organization. (If anyone actually makes a biblical case for that – I would be interested in seeing such.)

In that setting (I am sure many of you recall such a setting), there is such a tension between doing what God wired you to do versus doing what you are hearing from the pulpit. In this tension, Turner gets invited to use his executive skills which are very effective in a business in Texas. That business was a church.

So a bigger business, also a church, recruits and hires him (I would put money down that a head hunter “found” him) and a young Christian, skilled in business, gets that call.

In amazement, a young Christian man gets a call to hold a senior position in a church business called Mars Hill Church. What a call from God! (cough) It is not unlike the call that Paul Tripp received inviting him onto the board of one of the most exciting churches in America.

We have a glimpse of how Mark Driscoll treated Paul Tripp. Even when Tripp brought seven helpful suggestions to the Board, Mark Driscoll cut him off at two and refused to hear the rest. I have had that experience with Mark Driscoll. That is a story yet to be told.

While Sutton Turner has an enormous amount of responsibility for the climate he created, he did so at the bidding of a man who would turn on you in a heartbeat, then verbally beat the living daylights out of you – not to mention the behind-the scenes character assassination and slander.

So have a smidgen of empathy for Sutton Turner. A smidgen means a small amount. I actually have a smidgen of a smidgen, but still more than zero.

The real test is whether Turner signed an non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and slinks off somewhere like most of the other elders have. When Turner does talk, will he add his name to those that are accusing Mark Driscoll, like the twenty one elders have? Or will he have the courage of the Noble Nine? Or will he be like the ex-elders of character, Dave Kraft, Jesse Winkler, Lief Moi, Jeff Bettger, Kyle Firstenberg and Scott Mitchell who have added their public repentance to their words of accusation?

Will we see Turner’s confession at repentantpastor.com, or will he remain silent and be numbered among those who brought disgrace upon the church?

The jury is out.

Let us look forward to see what God can do with a smidgen of empathy. By His grace, it will be a mountain of empathy as we embrace a brother, deeply shamed by his actions, and offer him total forgiveness and in so doing, enable him to walk in newness of life without having to scrub Mars Hill from his resume while rebuilding his life in the shadows. Pray that Sutton Turner will have the courage to stand up, speak up, and have his place in history besides men like Paul Tripp, Lief Moi, Dustin Kensrue, and others – who after realizing their own errors, did the right thing and spoke up.

We will now see if Sutton Turner truly loves the gospel. My bet is that we will hear from him, and when we do he will need our love, forgiveness, and practical brotherly gospel-driven help.

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“I hired you to clean up this mess. They
all need to be fired!!!”

Déjà vu – A warning (and appeal) to give Mark Driscoll a fair trial.

Fair trial

Mark Driscoll deserves a fair trial. Those who have accused Mark Driscoll deserve a fair trial. The members of Mars Hlll Church deserve a fair trial.

Sadly, a fair trial for Mark Driscoll is not likely. There is no impartiality, and the jury will not hear from the witnesses themselves.

If you do not like the term “trial”, let me say that Mark Driscoll will not have the charges against him deliberated fairly.

Exacty seven years and seven days ago, before the lynching of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer in 2007, I implored the “elders” at the time for a fair trial for the men. I had no idea whether the two men were guilty of the charges against them, but I was certain that unless they received a fair trial, the verdict would haunt Mars Hill Church for years. Such has been the case (link).

I argued, in 2007, that the trial must be impartial, and that the evidence must be fairly heard by the jury directly from the witnesses. Sadly, it appears that neither will be true as the supposedly “independent” members of the Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA) adjudicate the charges against Mark Driscoll.

In the case of Paul Petry, the failure to have a fair hearing harmed him, and sadly harmed the verdict and in the long run it harmed the church. Its impact is as fresh today as it was seven years ago. At Paul Petry’s trial it was not in Mars Driscoll’s interest to conduct a fair trial.

In the case of the current charges against Mark Driscoll, exactly seven years after the trial of Paul Petry, an unfair hearing or trial will hurt the accusers, and of course, hurt the verdict.

A verdict from an unfair trial simply does not stick. If the verdict cannot be trusted, it will further harm the already beleaguered members of Mars Hill Church. The reputation of the BOAA will sink even lower than it is at present, and more members will leave the church discouraged and disillusioned.

While it seems obvious to anyone who desires to truthfully adjudicate accusations against anyone, let me go through why those deciding the matter must be impartial, and why the testimony of the witnesses is critical.

IMPARTIALITY

The people who are going to adjudicate the charges must be impartial. This is not only common sense, but also required by one of the most impassioned instructions from the Apostle Paul to Timothy when giving instructions regarding how to deal with charges against an elder.

Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.  I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism. (1 Timothy 5:19-21)

If you are the largest donor to Mars Hill Church (by far) and have invested millions of dollars helping brand Mark Driscoll, helped him brand “Reverse Engineering,” and your contributions have been a significant part in developing his ministry, then you cannot be impartial in your judgment. A man of integrity would simply have to recuse himself.

If you were involved on the board of a company hired to coach Mars Hill elders over a period of years for fees that accumulatively added up to several hundred thousand dollars, then you cannot be impartial. A man of integrity would simply have to recuse himself.

If you have been accused of misleading (lying) and failing to be transparent to the church members, or if you have cleared earlier charges against Mark Driscoll without a thorough investigation and have shown a continued unwillingness to take previous charges seriously, you cannot be impartial. A man of integrity would simply have to recuse himself.

If you have accused those bringing charges against Mark Driscoll of slandering and falsely accusing “good men,” then you are demonstrating that you have made your mind up already. You cannot be impartial. A man of integrity would simply have to recuse himself.

I could go on, but it is clear that only one man on the BOAA can actually be impartial in adjudicating the charges against Mark Driscoll, and that appears to be Larry Osborne. But the total lack of transparency, the secret behind-the-scenes meetings and financial arrangements, leave even Osborne’s objectivity open to question. There must not be even a hint of impropriety. A man of integrity would have to recuse himself.

NO HEARSAY.

In processing charges, hearsay is not credible. The bible calls for witnesses, and their testimony must be heard. A fair process will go out of its way to hear from any witness in person. This allows the accused and the accusers the opportunity to question the witness. This allows the testimony the witness brings to be tested and to be put into context.

Paul Petry was charged with discussing the proposed bylaws of 2007 with a member. Apparently sharing proposed new bylaws with a member is a sin. I happened to be member that Paul Petry shared the document with. He wanted to review the section regarding the discipline of a member. The proposed bylaws gave the members no rights, and Paul wanted my opinion on proposals to the bylaws – namely to propose an appeals process for any church member who may have been treated unfairly or falsely accused. No such process existed at the time. After discussing the matter, Paul proposed changes that I had suggested (link – see page 13).

Despite asking to appear at the trial as a witness by asking the members of the Elder Investigation Team, I was not asked to appear as a witness. They knew that Paul had talked to me, but they never questioned me other than to ask if Paul talked to me. I implored one of the members, Dave Kraft, to allow me to speak for myself and to allow cross-examination of my testimony. This request was denied, and Paul was found guilty of sharing the proposed bylaws with me.

Mark Driscoll set up the hearsay. According to two elders that were at the trial, Driscoll said “Rob Smith is the biggest trouble maker in the history of the church!” he told the elders and others Driscoll had stacked the gallery with at Paul’s trial. “Did you know that he has been kicked out of 4 churches before?”

Neither statement by Driscoll was true. I was a deacon and had been approved to be an elder. The rest of the elders-to-be that were being processed at the time were at the trial. But what Mark Driscoll said was hearsay, and had I been at the trial I would have borne witness to the truth. I have never been thrown out of a church, and I would have challenged the charge that I was a trouble maker.

Furthermore, I had already seen the bylaws prior to my visit from Paul Petry. They were left on a side table in the office of one of the other elders earlier in the week when I had discussed an unrelated matter with that elder. Had I been a witness, the truth would have been clear, and the accuser, Mark Driscoll, would have been shown to have been untruthful.

If the process of adjudicating the numerous charges against Mark Driscoll is adjudicated by the current members of the BOAA, there will be no impartiality.

If the current process does not allow witnesses to appear before the BOAA in person, there will be hearsay.

The verdict will be invalid. It simply will not stand. Whether Mark Driscoll’s sins do or do not disqualify him to be an elder, no one will take the verdict seriously. And, like the previous show trials of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer, the lack of due process and biblical safeguards will lead to a result that will carry unforeseen consequences that will haunt the church for years.

fair trial 1

Driscoll, Turner, and Bruskas? Is it all about money (their salaries) or all about Jesus?

2 million dollars

Do Mark Driscoll , Sutton Turner, and Dave Bruskas earn more that the combined salaries of the 21 elders that have filed charges against Mark Driscoll?

Do they earn more in a couple of weeks than a full year’s support for the 40 or so church planters in Ethiopia?

Just a reminder that it is merely a matter of time before the salaries and compensation packages of the Executive Elders become public.  Former elders, current elders, donors, and members have asked that the executive salaries/compensation packages be disclosed, but no answers have been forthcoming. Some members who have asked have in return been asked to leave the church.

Are the executive elders ashamed to release this information? Are the rumors of a seven-figure salary for Driscoll and several hundred thousand dollar salaries for Turner and Bruskas believable?

Could it be possible that about 10% of the Mars Hill Church budget goes to compensate the three executuve elders?

Soon we will know.

Any day now

To prepare the reader for the eventual news of how much Mark Driscoll, as lead pastor is paid, as well as Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas, I thought that I would give you the comparative salaries of some key top executives who run some pretty substantial organizations.

Organization Top Executive Salary Benefits Total Total Revenue
World Vision Richard Stearns $405,975 $50,743 $456,718 $1,009,722,239
Samaritan’s Purse Franklin Graham $440,927 $181,325 $622,252 $456,140,314
BGEA Franklin Graham $205,919 $34,722 $240,641 $106,000,000
Medical Teams Intl Bastian Vanderzalm $156,652 $28,892 $185,544 $150,000,000
Doctors without Borders Sophie Delaunay $142,015 $15,977 $157,992 $200,000,000
YMCA Niel Nicoll $456,633 $44,552 $501,185 $93,700,000
Average $258,303 $50,887 $309,190 $287,937,508

Note that the average revenue for each of the above groups is $288 million dollars per year. The average salary and benefits for their CEO is $309,000.

To put this in perspective, Mars Hill Church’s revenue in 2013 was just over $20 million. This is a fraction of the average of the above organizations.

So, when you eventually hear what Mark Driscoll earns, keep in mind that the average leaders of the above large nonprofit organizations, who are managing organizations substantially larger than the size of Mars Hill Church in every respect, earn an average of $309,000 in salary and benefits per year.

Bullies and their cohorts laugh at the pain of others.

bully 1

If Mark Driscoll is a pathological narcissist and a bully (as many have alleged), then he and his closest elders are probably never going to empathize with those he has hurt through the documented abuse at Mars Hill Church.

Former Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability member Paul Tripp stated that Mars Hill Church was the most abusive and coercive ministry that he has ever been involved with (link). 21 ex-elders have accused Mark Driscoll of being a bully (link).

It seems that even in their quest to investigate the charges against Mark Driscoll, the various boards involved fail to understand that ex-members who have been shunned or discarded are in deep pain – many in crisis. While there may be a growing desire to honestly investigate the charges of abuse or understand the abusive culture at Mars Hill Church, there seems to be no desire to understand the level of pain endured by those who have been abused.

In trying to understand how there can be a heightened sense that something is wrong, and that what is wrong is not the fault of “negative media attention” but rather the result of the sinful and abusive culture within Mars Hill church, the elders, to one degree or another, are reflecting the same lack of empathy as their leader.

The pathology of a narcissist is that he cannot feel anyone’s pain but his own. I was always stunned when watching a bully beat up a weaker kid at school, and once the kid was crying and hurt, the bully walked off snickering. Stand up to that bully and give him a bloody nose, and then he starts to cry and call for his mother.

At no point does the bully feel the pain of the kid he just beat up. Sadly, that pathology only allows the bully to feel his own pain – to feel sorry for himself when he is hurt.

If Sutton Turner, in his leaked internal memo (link) is correct, Mars Hill Church’s top leaders set the culture, and so elders and staff reflect the problems that cascade down from the top. This would at least help to understand why, despite the many stories at websites like www.welovemarshill.com of wounded ex-members, the current elders simply do not care very much.

They are reflecting the norm of the classic narcissistic bully.

Perhaps this is why Mark Driscoll can talk about beating up members of the church (link) and talk about breaking the noses of his fellow pastors (link), and members of his audience chuckle and find it amusing (link).

Perhaps once there is a clean slate of executive elders, they will begin to show a shepherd’s heart to the scattered sheep that have been thrown under the bus (link).