In a classic showdown, Mars Hill Church leaders want to see lawsuit first, then may allow Matthew 18

showdown 1

Mars Hill Church leaders are forcing aggrieved members to spend the money to prepare a lawsuit, and then want to see the lawsuit before deciding if they will meet in a biblical way.

When Dave Kraft, while still a Mars Hill Church elder in 2013, filed charges against Mark Driscoll, I was contacted by one of the aggrieved elders who appealed to me to reach out and speak with Michael van Skaik, the chairman of the Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA).

Michael van Skaik refused to see me. That was in June 2013.

Since that time, I and others have attempted repeatedly to engage the leadership of Mars Hill Church. They simply refuse to talk. The only time I have pulled off a meeting was with the BOE where the focus of the meeting was largely instruction to me that both I and the aggrieved members, ex-members and donors of Mars Hill Church should simply agree to be defrauded in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6. The abusers were telling the abused to suck it in and walk away.

I have recently appealed to Executive Elder Dave Bruskas several times that we meet face-to-face and talk. I have repeatedly appealed to the lead pastor of MH- West Seattle, David Fairchild, who tells me he cannot meet because he is working “70 to 80 hours a week” preparing for the new church to open. I have reached out to the lead pastor of MH–Everett. All are “too busy” to sit down as brothers in Christ.

Despite the call in 1 Corinthians 6 for brothers to avoid legal action against one another, Mars Hill Church Leadership, led by Executive Elder Dave Bruskas and Chairman of the Board Matt Rogers, is insisting that we prepare a legal action before they will consider talking to their aggrieved brothers.

So while their Pastors Ed Choi and David Fairchild are instructing us that rather than take legal action the aggrieved should agree to be defrauded, the leadership of Mars Hill Church is demanding that we prepare a legal action in order to sit down as brothers and work out our grievances.

It would appear as if we are not dealing with brothers in Christ. It appears that we are dealing with corporate executives who are being governed by their lawyers.

So the leadership is forcing aggrieved brothers and sisters in Christ to prepare a legal action. They block all attempts to sit and talk, refuse to be defrauded themselves by seeking the protection of their lawyers while expecting the aggrieved members they have abused to just walk away being defrauded, and now make the aggrieved spend legal fees in order to prepare for legal action.

The aggrieved do not want to file a lawsuit, but the leadership of Mars Hill Church is insisting that we move forward to do so in order to work out our grievances.

At this stage, days from the dissolution of the church, these men are still not willing to come to the table and be transparent about the use of millions of dollars of donors’ money, as well as identify the widespread abuse that has been alleged.

Surely a Matthew 18 mediated airing of grievances, something that Mars Hill Church preaches while refusing to practice, is the right thing to do. It seems only two scenarios will hold these men accountable for their actions. Either a civil lawsuit is filed – which Mars Hill leadership requires before they will take the time to sit down and try to resolve grievances, or Attorney General Ferguson steps in.

 [I edited the 5th paragraph – it was pointed out to me that Dave Fairchild works 70 to 80 hours per week, not 80 to 90 hours per week. My apologies/]


10 thoughts on “In a classic showdown, Mars Hill Church leaders want to see lawsuit first, then may allow Matthew 18

  1. “It would appear as if we are not dealing with brothers in Christ. It appears that we are dealing with corporate executives who are being governed by their lawyers.”

    The pastor and executive board of Mars Hill made up their minds a long time ago that it had nothing to do with “Jesus” and everything to do with the bottom line. Engaging with them is no use, IMHO. They’re not interested in reconciliation or even in telling the truth. They have (IIRC) 13 million reasons to continue to stonewall and obfuscate.

    Again, IMHO, file the suit and pray for them.

    • Amen, the callous attitude of MH et. al toward those who have been hurt is not from Christ. For the health of the old churches becoming independent w/ new names, as well as the healing of those abused by the MH culture…mediation would be a balm…would be beauty for ashes. If not, the pattern is being established, the behavior being once again modeled that this is the way to wield power…but it is not to be so among “us” (Christ’s church). The bus will continue rolling…and the sad, God dishonoring results are inevitable.

      • Allen, my answers in bold…


        I heard you decided to go back to MH after MD resigned. That was many weeks ago. How has that worked out? It worked out great. Which campus do you attend and how are you assisting in the transition there to an independent, self governing church? Do you find people warming up to you as each week goes by?

        On another note, you were brought under church discipline at MH a number of years ago, correct? Have you repented? Repentance leads to forgiveness. Is this why they have decided to allow you to return? Because you repented and they forgave? I was put under church discipline for asking for a fair trial for Paul Petry. I did not know I was under church discipline until I tendered my resgination. I was told I could not leave because I was under church discipline. After asking why, I was told that my email, which I kept strictly to the elders, was an attempt to divide the elders, and therefore I was under discipline for being divisive. The discipline was lifted with the help of a major donor to Mars Hill Church. At the last meeting, I was assured that my leaving would not affect the commitment Mars Hill Church had made to support the Agathos orphan village in South Africa. Three months later Mars Hill Church walked away from their commitment to Agathos, and slanderous things were said to tarnish my name and the name of Agathos. Some of that slander is still being circulated by certain types.

  2. Seems to me that perhaps they do not want to meet with you because no matter what they say or do they feel attacked by you and others. I am not defending that this is right, but this has been a massive year of change for mars hill brought on by you and others refusing to be quiet and not take their canned responses. I would think that now regardless who you want to talk to the point is it has been constant attack all year. Why sit and talk more? Not that that is right. But, likely their thinking…

    • b.Smith, I am sure Mars feels attacked but frankly, due to their many dysfunctional actions over the past many years, they have done that all by themselves. In my opinion, many of these folks should never be involved in church leadership ever again, period. But, in their minds, they believe God is calling them to that position whereas it’s driven by their own ego and need for $$. They don’t want to be accountable and the reason why they don’t want to have a face-to-face meeting with the people they have injured. To me, they are cowards and wimps …. sort of the type of adjectives that Mark Driscoll would have called some of his ex-followers and detractors.

  3. Hey b.smith, when did they ever meet to talk?
    Their policy has always been their way or the highway, and “ad hominem” attack against any dissenters.

  4. I’m curious about where these supposed “pastors” got their training in refusing, ignoring, avoiding, tossing out, and shunning people. Because the Mars Hill “pastors” aren’t the only ones. The pastors/leadership of my former church were/are exactly the same. Can anyone point to conferences, seminars, or books that teach this?

    • 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

      The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Tt 3:8–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

  5. Yes, there are people that teach this.
    *Mark Devers and 9 Marks (Washington DC)
    *Southern Baptists
    *Pastor John MacArthur (Grace Community Church in Southern California/Grace to You)
    *Dr. Jay Adams (Orthodox Presbyterian, writer, theological professor, founder of the horrible Biblical counseling model that misses so many important things)

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