Enlarging Mark’s Hill – aka Mars Hill

"So, if you are a senior pastor or local church board chair who wants to consider the possibility of your church becoming a Mars Hill, let’s talk."

Mark Driscoll

Avif9ugCAAM4DV8

Credit:  Julie Anne Smith

As the New Year begins, we wonder how many pastors are dreaming of expanding their ministries.  Bigger is always better, right?  Some may even be entertaining the idea of associating with Mars Hill in order to grow their churches.  After all, Mars Hill is such an incredible success story…  Yeah, right!

In case you missed the drama last spring, Mark Driscoll stepped down as president of Acts 29 and turned over the reins to Matt Chandler, who moved the ministry headquarters to his church in Texas.  On April 10, 2012, Mark Driscoll posted this "advertisement" on the Mars Hill website: 

Is Your Church Interested in Becoming a Part of Mars Hill?

Here are a few highlights from that post in case you missed it (we encourage you to read it in its entirety):

"We regularly receive requests from churches interested in becoming a part of Mars Hill.  So, I thought it would be helpful to give some of the most common answers to questions people typically pose:

Becoming a Mars Hill is not for everyone… Statistically, the majority of churches are plateaued and declining. Over 3,500 churches die and close every year. We want to see as many churches open and people meet Jesus as possible.

We have some success, by God’s grace, adopting in an existing church and transitioning it to a Mars Hill church…

Most pastors are bogged down in the details of the website, finances, human resources, real estate negotiations, technology, and the like. Pastors go into ministry to serve Jesus by reaching and training people, but the administrative work of ministry buries them and keeps them from working with people as much as they desire. A church like Mars Hill that can do the administrative work centrally can help to free up the local pastor and leaders to focus on reaching people, caring for people, training leaders, and getting from meetings to mission. 

We don’t pretend this is easy. Most churches don’t want to change what they’re doing, but instead only want changed results. To become a Mars Hill church requires that a congregation legally becomes part of our church family, as it would be imprudent to inherit all the costs and legal liabilities blindly. Not every person in your leadership will keep their current role. Not every paid staff member will keep their job. Not every person in your current church will be supportive and stay. Not every ministry you are doing will continue. And you will have live preaching only some of the time and be part of something much bigger than just you…"

RED FLAG #1:  A congregation must LEGALLY become part of the Mars Hill family… 

RED FLAG #2:  Not every leader will keep his current role

RED FLAG #3:  Some paid staff members will be terminated

RED FLAG #4:  Who cares if members leave – they're not being 'supportive'

Driscoll goes on to explain that there are 'upsides' to joining Mars Hill.  What are they?  According to the post:

"Churches that join will get a fresh start, a greater church family, resources, and by God’s grace, a proven track record with an established and growing church with ministry specialists who can help establish local elders, deacons, Community Groups, Redemption Groups, biblical counseling, children’s ministry, marriage ministry, and more to train and unleash people for meaningful and fruitful ministry. Many of these leaders are already in the churches that join Mars Hill, and we simply want to help find and train them to do more by God’s grace."

Oh, and Mark is sure to point out that subordinate church leaders who are excited about aligning with Mars Hill should discuss the idea with the senior leadership before contacting Mars Hill directly.  Driscoll doesn't want to create division in churches or disrespect the senior leadership.  How mature of him…

And to expand the Mars Hill brand, the church is establishing a 'Lead Pastor Residency Program' to train pastors. They have "a few hundred applicants to the residency program for a few spots. Those who are chosen will be trained for one year at one of our more established Mars Hill churches, evaluated, qualified as an elder, and sent back out to plant a Mars Hill church or help replant a church wanting to become a Mars Hill location."

Driscoll concludes by explaining that he is cutting back on his duties to invest in men who are accepted into the residency program.  Sounds an awful lot like SGM's Pastors College, doesn't it?  It does appear that Mark Driscoll learned quite a lot from his mentor C.J. Mahaney.

During the past nine months we wonder how many churches have helped to enlarge Mark's Hill? Anyone care to chime in about churches that are joining ranks with Mars Hill?  We'd love to hear how successful they have become as a result of this realignment. 

Lydia's Corner:   Numbers 28:16-29:40   Luke 3:23-38   Psalm 62:1-12   Proverbs 11:18-19

Comments

Enlarging Mark’s Hill – aka Mars Hill — 173 Comments

  1. It sounds like an infomercial but with a whole lot of strings attached and no Jesus. Just Mark selling his brand of “church”. It’s deplorable how so many treat worshipping God and creating community as just another product on the market. No people, just money and celebrity. I just don’t get why some people think having large numbers of congregants at the expense of people is such a good idea. I don’t get it. Unfortunately, it seems the thing to do anymore.

    I’ve been reading this blog for a little while now but this is the first time I’ve posted. Thanks for the informative posts and enlightening comments.

  2. Well it looks like MD has separated from TGC and Acts 29 so that he can have his own great corner of the church market. It really makes me ill to read what Mars Hill is attempting to do with unsuspecting congregations who have no idea what their senior pastors may be signing them up for. Disgusting is all I can say.

  3. Pacbox,

    I absolutely agree that this has nothing to do with Jesus.  It’s a multi-level marketing scheme with Driscoll perched at the top of the pyramid.

    Welcome to TWW.  We’re so glad you chimed in!

     

  4. Bridget,

    Yep, you’ve got that right. As I look back, I am amazed that just four years ago I knew virtually nothing about Mark Driscoll.

    Congregations had better wise up! They may soon find themselves UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP!

  5. @ Deb:
    Thanks. When I first heard about MD, it was several years ago when he was know for his profanity and read a few stories about abuse that was going on in his church. Now it seems there is a lot more abuse and not much else. He seems rather bent on destruction than building up believers. How long before Mars Hills becomes another failure and Mark just another loser?

  6. This isn’t let us help you grow your church. This is let us come and take over your church, fire all the people we don’t like (especially all those uppitty wimmens) and decide what your people get taught from now on. It’s not even subtle (but then our boy Mark doesn’t do subtle)

  7. I agree with Eagle… It stinks of franchising. Like a McDonald’s or something like that, where every shop (Ups! I mean, church) will look the same, every employee (I did it again!) will sound the same, and the food (Preaching?) will taste exactly the same wherever you go in the world.

    Now, this is a bit sarcastic. Read with “infomercial” voice:

    Remember how tiring it was to do Ministry the old way?
    How you lost your initial illusion and energy?
    How exhausting it was to go through those mountains of paperwork? The website? The finances?
    How the empty pews would destroy your soul?
    How you had to cope with all those grumpling persons at your congregation?
    How they did not respect your authoritah?

    There must be other way!

    Hi! I’m Christian “Machoman” Bareknuckles and I’m here to show you that, indeed, there’s other way.

    Our method of ministering the ministerable (TM) has proven successful to help free up pastors and leaders in our church so they can care all they want about our people. That’s why we decided to open it up and offer an excellent package for all the country to benefit.

    This is, the MH Network.

    Joining the MH Network would give you plenty of opportunities to develop your church’s potential. Your potential.

    For only 29.99 US dollars you can get a fresh start with MH Network and we’ll give you all you need: a greater church family and more resources. We offer you a proven track record with an established and growing church with ministry specialists who can help establish local elders, deacons, and what else.

    Some may not like it… But who cares? Leave all those grumbling and bitter people who slow you down behind and start anew with MH Network.

    But that’s not all! Only for a limited time, for 29.99 US dollars we’ll also include our “I see things” course on discovering what your people are doing when you’re not around. And as a man, let me tell you, you may even see some interesting stuff *wink*.

    What more can you need to train and unleash people for meaningful and fruitful ministry? It’s your church. It’s your potential.

    Just remember: when you go full speed with MH Network, don’t look under the bus! Hahahahaha!

  8. The people in the host organization are hopeful at first to become part of the movement, the Reich. It’s exciting. No major upheaval (at first). They get to keep their identity, their familiar leadership. But the Anschluss has begun. Clandestine meetings. Longtime friends quietly disappear. Familiar leaders suddenly “see the light” and make public pronouncements that they are being “called” elsewhere, followed by letters from the exalted new masters expressing great sadness over so-and-so’s departure while “humbly” announcing a new leader and exciting new programming as part of the re-organization.

  9. Martos wrote:

    How the empty pews would destroy your soul?
    How you had to cope with all those grumpling persons at your congregation?
    How they did not respect your authoritah?
    There must be other way!
    Hi! I’m Christian “Machoman” Bareknuckles and I’m here to show you that, indeed, there’s other way.
    Our method of ministering the ministerable (TM) has proven successful to help free up pastors and leaders in our church so they can care all they want about our people.

    LOL, love it – “Ministering ONLY (Our Super Elect) Ministerable (TM)”

    For added hilarity the American readers of TWW need to read your advertising copy out loud, Martos, while mentally picturing the Sham Wow infomercial guy!

  10. Pingback: Enlarging Mark's Hill – aka Mars Hill | The Wartburg Watch 2013 |

  11. Wow, that whole link is just empty marketing-speak. And it’s basically the game plan for the formal establishment of the Driscollite denomination.

    Also, the stuff about leaders was worrying. In talking about how they’ve found some great people, he gives examples of two people he’s taken from their original churches. Does anyone else think this is really problematic for their original churches? Sure, they’ve been adopted into the Mars Hill family and their old minister is now really successful – but he’s successful away from them. The residency program has exactly the same problem – it takes people out of where they could be serving, rather than equipping them to serve where they are.

    Finally, all the things that ‘won’t be easy’ are red flags. Even moreso given the tone of the post is fairly dismissive of those concerns. He might start by acknowledging it won’t be easy, but he then immediately throws responsibility for any ‘difficulties’ back on the churches, that they don’t have the ‘guts’ to do the hard stuff. And the ‘you’ll be part of something bigger than just you’ line? They already are – it’s called the worldwide church!

  12. Eagle & Martos,

    You are correct, all I could think of was a Sonic or a Subway franchise when I read the story…..with there being a new CEO “Pope” over the entire franchise.

  13. The first thing I thought about when I saw this post were these verses…

    My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
    Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? ~~ 1 Corinthians 1:11-13

  14. Deb wrote:

    I wonder whether Matt Chandler regrets saying this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhFOkuQ3uvA

    He certainly should Deb! I mean granted, we each have our strengths and “callings” but we are laboring together to advance the gospel. The gospel is not a matter of private interpretation because its public truth. If its wrong for Matt Chandler to get up there and expect people to get saved after telling them “You’re Stupid” because it somehow works for Mark Driscoll, its also wrong for Mark Driscoll to do the same. Why? Because its not the gospel. Is Chandler suggesting people get saved because of someone’s special hocus pocus that allows them to say virtually anything, including insults and put-downs, and that’s what brings them to Christ? What brings people to faith in Christ is the gospel. That is what we are to proclaim. For Chandler to be saying Mark Driscoll is so “uniquely gifted” that it allows him to say and do anything because God saves people through his ministry regardless, amounts to promoting a man and not the gospel. What does he want, for their converts to walk around saying, “I am of Driscoll, I am of Chandler….” because their salvation came through their ministry, as if there was some kind of power residing in them, even the power to save when saying, “You’re stupid?” No, the GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION.

  15. But that’s not all! Only for a limited time, for 29.99 US dollars we’ll also include our “I see things” course on discovering what your people are doing when you’re not around. And as a man, let me tell you, you may even see some interesting stuff *wink*.

    Martos, your parody was clever! And maybe there’s more to Driscoll’s proclaimed ‘power’ than meets the eye….

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20100219/us-laptops-spying-on-students/

  16. I know of at least one fledgling young church in my city that would go for this in a heartbeat. I never cease to be amazed at how people are so taken in by this control freak. The gospel means nothing to him. It’s all about himself.

  17. TedS

    The SGM model should be studied for the "takeover" effect.  They almost always got rid of the head pastor and installed one of their own, causing serious upheaval if the stories on SGM are to be believed and I believe them.

  18. DaveinTN

    There is only one upside of this situation. Over time, people will be exposed to Driscoll, and I have to believe that there will be more voices rising up in protest. Especially when Mars Hill "discipline" steps on in.

  19. Dee

    I hope you are correct. I see tendencies towards this in the church I have been part of for years. It isn’t full blown yet but if unchecked it could happen. Thanks for your comment on my rant. I appreciate what you ladies do.

  20. DaveinTN

    Just to make you feel better, I just resigned my membership at a church in which the new pastor espouses the Neo-Cal doctrine. I refuse to be part of such nonsense.

  21. dee

    Wow – Did they “let you” resign your membership?

    Didn’t they place you under “Church Discipline” first? :-)

  22. So join Mars Hill and become part of the Ministry of Truth: fire everyone except a clerk, and sin sniffers to root out thoughtcrimes, replace the pulpit with a big screen TV so we can all watch Big Brother in blind obedience.

    George Orwell couldn’t have written a more chilling script. Wonder if Mars Hill requires each church to have a Room 101?

  23. dee

    Seriously – I realize that was NOT a pleasant task – having to resign.
    Just having to question and think about what to do takes a toll on us all.
    The fellings and emotions – the separation from friends.

    Please forgive the sarcasm.

    My heart hurts for you.

  24. @ dee:

    . . . After they sit for years in front of a big screen listening to MD and become numb to the voice of Christ. When they come out of the stupor, they will be disciplined for trying to leave the second happiest place on earth, and start a survivor blog to expose the deeds that have befallen them at the hands of MH and the “leaders.” This isn’t looking so good to me.

    I think we have more reason to be concerned about “Big Brother” of the Church than the “Big Brother” of the government. It’s interesting to consider that many of those crying out about BB government are actually in churches that function in the very way that they fear the government is going — but they don’t see it in the church :).

    I, personally, have concern for BB in both areas.

  25. A Amos Love

    I did not sense any sarcasm. I was just commiserating with folks who have to leave churches. There is a silver lining in the cloud. I still attend a Sunday school class led by one of the best teachers I have ever known. I still have my group of friends and we eat lunch together on Sunday. I have just given myself permission to not have to listen to theology with which I deeply disagree. 

  26. Bridget wrote:

    @ dee:

    I think we have more reason to be concerned about “Big Brother” of the Church than the “Big Brother” of the government.

    This. At least the government has some checks and balances and the scrutiny of millions of citizens to keep it in line. (Somewhat) But some churches are headed by despots, and the laity has little to no recourse (except leaving) when grievances are not addressed. This is why blogs like The Wartburg Watch are necessary.

  27. dee

    You’re blest when you can say…
    “I still have my group of friends and we eat lunch together on Sunday.”

    This was always the best fellowship for me.

  28. Pastor Driscoll is a businessman. In the business community he would be known as a “turnaround expert.” Instead of saving a troubled business, he is saving a troubled church. Pastors don’t suddenly become stupid, but they may ignore how the economy or overall market conditions are negatively affecting their church. Pastor Driscoll is the guiding light they need and his recommendations may be painful.

  29. @ Joe:

    Was this sarcasm or are you just fine and dandy with Driscoll’s approach? I honestly can’t tell.

  30. A Amos

    I think the success of this blog stops obvious intimidation. They do not want to be a subject of a post. 

  31. Joe

    Turnaround expert? Good night! Is Who Moved My Jesus far behind?  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pastors? Will the Bernie Madoff of evangelicalism be revealed?

    These poor guys think they are simply getting “economies of scale” on administration. Are they in for a shock! If I were them, I would take self defense courses starting yesterday prior to the commencement of “punching them in the nose.” I see things, you know.

  32. Joe, with all due respect, the only “turnaround” that should be undertaken with regards to MH is to turn around and run far, far away in the opposite direction.

    I mean, honestly, this is just more evangelical hoopla that values VISIONARY TRANSFORMATIVE AUTHENTIC LEADERS WHO ARE SOLD OUT FOR OUR VERSION OF THE GOSPEL over “mere” pastors or (of course) the sheep.

    Sheesh.

  33. The piece about joining MH is about 13 months old. But since Bill Clem’s resigned it may be pertinent to mention that. I notice no mention was made of James Noriega being brought on the team with Clem from the April 2012 piece Driscoll wrote. Bruskas is on the MH team for now but how long he’ll be there remains to be seen. In the case of Clem and Bruskas both men were sitting on pieces of real estate that were advantageous to the growth of MH. Clem was sitting on a piece of real estate Driscoll had wanted for ten years. Bruskas was sitting on real estate that was advantageous for MH’s expansion beyond Washington state and was also an A29 church. Alex Early, Clem’s pending replacement, has been successful in church planting via A29. IF you’re already inside A29 and are successful or are fortunate enough to get ahold of real estate Driscoll has already wanted then, yes, you can be assimilated formally into MH.

    The sales pitch for other churches joining MH, however, is loaded with more if/then conditions then a non A29 church might find worthwhile.

    Joe is right, though, Driscoll does approach things in a business-like way. Driscoll’s become the president of a nascent denomination with a website that has his name in the domain. His church has also sent notices to small new churches telling them to drop words from their names and logos over the copyright customs that, a decade ago, MH leaders were saying were outmoded. That MH and MD have transformed by steps within the last decade into everything they once spoke against from the pulpit is, I’ll grant, a significant turnaround.

  34. WTH -

    Are you saying that MD got the real eatate he wanted and then let the men go once he had the real estate under his brand?

  35. Joe wrote:

    Pastor Driscoll is a businessman. In the business community he would be known as a “turnaround expert.”

    hmmmm…. with how much financial transparency?

  36. Deb -

    Maybe the picture Joe painted is what the Church IS to him. It might be the only reality Joe has ever known as a believer. Sad, if true.

  37. Joe

    “Pastor Driscoll is a businessman. In the business community he would be known as a “turnaround expert.” 

    Or, he could be arrested for threatening to punch people or sent to the local observation unit because he “sees things.”

  38. Bridget, no, Clem was at MH from 2006-2013. He stayed for a long time, all things considered. And he was a genuinely well-liked campus pastor. Even folks who left MH still have some affection and respect for the man. An anonymous commenter described Bill Clem as a good man who stayed too long. There have been a few campus pastors whose reputations even among former members remained very positive.

    Clem was approached by Driscoll when his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Driscoll asked for use of the Doxa real estate and Clem offered the property. Clem was an A29 church planter sent out to plant Doxa in 2002, back when Driscoll was church-planting scout for A29 and David Nicholas was apparently still co-leading or even leading A29 (research on that is pending).

    It would take too long to recap everything in the “real esate and Mars Hill” series over at Wenatchee The Hatchet. You may want to read that for more detailed investigation of how real estate transactions developed within MH.

    If an A29 pastor plants a church that is successful enough or which happens to end up with real estate Driscoll has wanted for Mars Hill (which appear to be the stories of A29 plants City on a Hill and Doxa respectively) then the invitation to join MH is more likely than if the church is outside the A29 network and isn’t sitting on any particularly strategically useful real estate.

  39. Wild prediction: the Driscollite *church* will soon have more members than the Mahaneyite *family of churches*.
    This wording seems odd: “consider the possibility of your church becoming a Mars Hill”, not a campus of Mars Hill or part of Mars Hill or joined with Mars Hill or associated with Mars Hill but *a* Mars Hill.

  40. “we want to see as many churches open and people meet Jesus as possible”

    Jesus doesn’t need a “church” for people to “meet” Him. Does anybody know if people are still leaving his “church.”

  41. Joe, if Mark was merely offering recommendations because certain business models worked for him, he would be teaching them how to do what he does, teaching them how to take over people and churches too. If that were so, I just might believe he had some sort of caring motive for those struggling pastors and leaders. I would still think it warped but I might think he actually cared about them rather than stealing their sheeple.

  42. I think it would be a bit much to propose that any one blog inspired Driscoll’s transforming a biblical text into tweeted punchline about bloggers. :)

    Mark Driscoll’s tweeting his spleen about bloggers is so loaded with meta-ironic humor it becomes a punchline about the nature of his punchlines … but he’ll just keep doing that sort of thing year after year.

    Grace Driscoll’s dad, Rev Gib Martin, died in the last week. Condolances to the Driscoll and Martin families.

  43. We had what might have been a MH church plant not far from where I live. I haven’t seen the sign for it lately so I’m asking around to see if anyone knows what happened to it. They weren’t meeting in a church building at first. (It would be a lot easier if I could remember the church’s name!)

    If I find out anything, I’ll let you know.

  44. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    Bruskas is on the MH team for now but how long he’ll be there remains to be seen.

    Has anyone here noted that before Bruskas was given the plum position as an “executive” elder on Driscoll’s top-ecehlon Trinity at Mars Hill corporate, Bruskas handed over the church he pastored in Albuquerque, lock, stock, and barrel, to Driscoll? Clem apparently did the same with the multi-million dollar property he pastored. After these men have turned over $millions in assets to the MH empire, they are brought on staff amid much hoopla, and then after awhile they suddenly are “called” elsewhere, while the President of the corporation never changes.

    “Meet the new boss – same as the old boss. Don’t get fooled again!”

  45. @ WenatcheeTheHatchet:
    Had heard there was a death in the family. Did wonder if all the pressure Mark is under could have contributed to his verbal diarrhea about bloggers the other day. Do pray for the family and hope people can have compassion at this time. Still doesn’t absolve a self-proclaimed public figure from the effects of his verbal diarrhea. Praying for him.

  46. TedS. that detail was noted at Wenatchee The Hatchet in the real estate and MH series.

  47. THAT’s “Mars Hill”? I thought it was a photo of an entrance to Glendale Galleria until I saw the name over the portal.

  48. I trust nobody takes the term “mentoring” seriously where Mahaney and Driscoll are concerned. :)

  49. TedS. wrote:

    And once the takeover is complete, those “off-mission” will have been purged, and all the remaining troops will be marching in lockstep.
    http://youtu.be/JIrIKbCz3n4

    Shouldn’t that have been a link to North Korean troops goose-stepping past Comrade Dear Leader? Or a clip from the 1984 production of Nineteen Eighty-Four?

  50. Evie wrote:

    What does he want, for their converts to walk around saying, “I am of Driscoll, I am of Chandler….” because their salvation came through their ministry, as if there was some kind of power residing in them, even the power to save when saying, “You’re stupid?”

    “I AM OF DRISCOLL! I CAN BEAT YOU UP!!!”

    (Quit handing me such perfect straight lines…)

  51. Deb wrote:

    I absolutely agree that this has nothing to do with Jesus. It’s a multi-level marketing scheme with Driscoll perched at the top of the pyramid.

    “Gonna jive my way
    To the Top of the Pyramid,
    The Top of the Pyramid,
    Gonna get my Name
    On top of that List…”
    – some song on Dr Demento when pyramid schemes were a big fad

  52. THAT's "Mars Hill"? I thought it was a photo of an entrance to Glendale Galleria until I saw the name over the portal.TedS. wrote:

    Julie Anne wrote:

    It’s amazing how much this all sounds like SGM – especially the membership part.  Well, Mahaney is one of Driscoll’s acknowledged “mentors.”

    HUMBLY, of course.

  53. To Our readers

    I am thinking about doing a post to warn churches/pastors of things to beware when joining a Mars Hill deal. If you could warn people, what would you say. Be as specific as possible. I will give all of you credit.

    For example: Hire an attorney-preferably one who has no loyalty to current evangelical leaders- maybe an avowed atheist. Ask him to draw up a contract that protects the job of the lead pastor.

  54. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    TedS. wrote: http://youtu.be/JIrIKbCz3n4
    Shouldn’t that have been a link to North Korean troops goose-stepping past Comrade Dear Leader? Or a clip from the 1984 production of Nineteen Eighty-Four?

    Well, maybe. But it’s 2013 and this is really happening right now. Not in some far-off place that we know nothing about – but right here, before our very own eyes. And “believers” are actually sitting by and letting it happen.

    (except of course, for a few brave souls and The Discernment Divas.)

  55. You can’t look that up, TedS? :) Well, in case you’re busy …

    http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-albuquerque-moving-beyond.html

    Bruskas may have been the guy to replace Tim Beltz. Beltz had been executive elder since late 2007. He came in just after the Munson-drafted by-laws got voted through in late October 2007. Beltz had been Chief Operations Orfficer at CRISTA Ministries during the time when Mars Hill was given access to Schirmer Auditorium free of paying rent or utilities for a couple of years. Then in 2007 he was brought on as a consultant to MH during the strategic re-org and by late 2007 he was installed as an executive elder. He had a role in articulating the Generous campaign and was around during the period in which The City got sold to ZOndervan so MH didn’t end up in the red due to budget shortfalls and expense issues.

    By 2012 Beltz was a biblical living counseling pastor at Mars Hill West Seattle. Or at least he was until about a week or so after 2/28/2012 when Wenatchee The Hatchet cited the MH WS campus blog where Beltz said he was challenged by and relied on biblical counseling materials written by James Noriega. Then for some reason Beltz was moved from MH West Seattle to Mars Hill Downtown.

    Noriega was also at Doxa when it was handed over to Mars Hill and Noriega ended up in charge of addiction recovery groups and co-led the Redemption Group/biblical counseling ministries for a while. Then he was transitioned out of that for a bit and by late 2011 wasn’t even employed by MH any longer. He managed to stop being employed within the time frame that MH PR assured everyone two staff were let go for overstepping their spiritual authority … in cases that had nothing to do with either Andrew or Lance, once the clarifying statement had been clarified.

    So not everyone who’s involved in real estate acquisitions for MH ends up an executive elder. They may get jobs on the Board of Directors, though.

  56. “praying for him” With all due respect, praying for a guy like Mark is pointless.He’s already shown the kind of person that he is and these type of people don’t change. Also, the Bible talks about them and there is no turning back. Once a wolf, always a wolf.

  57. @ dee:

    Dee -

    What irks me, probably more than the pastor and real estate disappearing, is the congregations that pour their lives and money into a church, because of the teachings of the leaders, then everything gets inhaled by another church. That is really disturbing. Many people are devestated for life by this.

  58. Dee, I don’t think they should do it. Don’t join at all. I don’t think there is a safe way to join Mars Hill. Driscoll is not about turning a church around. He’s about assimilation of your church. He’s about you turning your church over to him: legally transferring the assets of your church to Mars Hill. For all intents and purposes you are dissolving your organization anyway. Better to close your doors than sell yourself to him. Because that’s what you’re doing. If you join Mars Hill, you will become Mars Hill. You won’t be allowed not to, and we know what happens to people who complain, including pastors.

    I don’t see any safe way to be involved with Mark Driscoll or Mars Hill.

  59. I having a hard time reconciling these things:

    *”We want to see as many churches open and people meet Jesus as possible.”

    *”We have some success, by God’s grace, adopting in an existing church and transitioning it to a Mars Hill church.” (the “by God’s grace” part)

    *his comments made concerning James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel, and fascination with real estate acquisition. http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/10/11/james-macdonald-harvest-bible-chapel-examining-the-elephant-in-the-room/
    **************

    just can’t get past what seem to me to be sanctified Oracle-type predator behavior.

    All the “by God’s grace” and “as many people meet Jesus as possible” seems very disingenuous. Marketing words, with all the sincerity of “new & improved!”. Carefully chosen to influence the consumer in the target market.

  60. anonymous

    Assume some young guy is just drooling to pretend that Driscoll is his friend.I want to build the case that there are serious issues to consider. If it is worded correctly, perhaps someone can more easily come to your conclusion.

  61. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    So not everyone who’s involved in real estate acquisitions for MH ends up an executive elder. They may get jobs on the Board of Directors, though.

    Don’t you mean that not everyone who turns over the assets of their church to the Mars Hill empire ends up an executive elder? They are not just “involved” in acquisitions; they apparently provide the acquisitions.

    Dee: Perhaps someone can provide a copy of the actual contract these churches (or Acts 29 churches) sign when they are acquired by Mars Hill (or by Acts 29). Is there a clause that states that if they choose to leave the denomination their real estate reverts to Mars Hill? Or is there a monetary penalty involved that would make it financially impossible for the average congregation to sever ties? Just curious.

  62. “Jesus Loves Church Mergers and So Should You” Mark Driscoll

    I suppose he received this insight by way of a “vision” from (?). I don’t remember ever seeing a verse for it.

  63. dee wrote:

    anonymous Assume some young guy is just drooling to pretend that Driscoll is his friend.I want to build the case that there are serious issues to consider. If it is worded correctly, perhaps someone can more easily come to your conclusion.

    You mean like, "OK. You say you want to join with Mars Hill. Here's some things you'll need to consider and some things you'll need to do to keep yourself safe. And here's what your staff will have to do to keep themselves safe. And here's what your people will need to do to keep themselves safe. Do you still want to join? Why do you want to join something that you have to protect yourself from to such a degree?"

  64. TedS. wrote:

    Don’t you mean that not everyone who turns over the assets of their church to the Mars Hill empire ends up an executive elder? They are not just “involved” in acquisitions; they apparently provide the acquisitions.

    Well, no, I don’t mean that because it’s not proven that Tim Beltz definitely arranged for MH to have rent-free and utility-free access to CRISTA Ministries’ Schirmer Auditorium before he was given a consulting role within MH and ultimately an executive elder role. Maybe Beltz really inked the deal but the thing is we’d have to be able to see documents that actually prove that. However, he was COO of CRISTA Ministries during the time the deal occurred so he may or may not have been involved. The point there being that it only establishes, for now, correlation without proving causation beyond all doubt.

    Go back and review Driscoll’s sermon on humility and he says he told Noriega that there was no assurance of any job for Noriega inside MH if he gave Doxa to MH. No promises at all. But Noriega’s candidacy went through without, it seems, any discussion by the MH pastors about his felonies in connection to meth use or meth sale, and he got put into the Board of Directors. Noriega’s felonies were documented in summary by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2004, as was his second marriage and his stepdaughter. The divorce ending the first marriage was also verified by the Seattle P-I. All on record, all easy enough to look up. But Noriega got approved and ended up on the Board of Directors though he was not promised anything by way of a job or any other thing for giving Mars Hill Doxa because Mark Driscoll said that Noriega could do this if he thought it was “best for Jesus”.

    What’s best for Jesus is that if you’re sitting on real estate that is paid off and you have a small but healthy church you stay put. You don’t take the offer. Noriega’s prestige and public reputation couldn’t have been higher than it was while he was on the MH BOD but where is he now? Starting a foundling consulting ministry that urges that Christians take back counseling for the church. No direspect meant but counseling never got away from the Church, some folks just distrust the social sciences so much they don’t like that psychology is useful to some Christians who counsel. That’s not the same thing.

    As for Clem, he was the founding church planter of Doxa in 2002 when Driscoll was the church planting scout for A29 and David Nicholas was still involved in the network. Clem was pretty much gonna keep his job. He was given a full salary and months off at a time to care for his dying wife so that when he was ready he’d take over MH Ballard. That, too, is in the real estate series. Beltz? We’d have to see who signed what on the Schirmer arrangement, if actual paperwork was even involved (which we can’t be 100% sure of for that matter).

  65. The promotion is purposeful and deliberate with the intent of increasing Mark Driscoll’s profile regardless of whether or not it yields a healthy body of believers or whether the natural outflow of that is that the Good news gets preached to more people. The churches being planted are typically planted in towns, cities, and counties with dozens and dozens of local churches as well as a megachurch here or there. I’d argue that they aren’t taking the Gospel to new places, just trying to gain “market share” in new areas of influence (for Mars Hill) where they can leverage their celebrity preacher’s popularity into a rapidly expanding and successful congregation, likely at the expense of other regional churches. But hey, those other Churches don’t have a clue…. they are filled with a bunch of sleepy Christians, lukewarm Christians and phony cultural Christians who are merely fluent in Christianese and like the label. That was the story we got.

    It’s worth noting that in 6 or 7 months at the plant I was at, I didn’t meet anyone who was a recent convert, they were virtually all people who left another local church to be a part of Mars Hill. This is also why I was disappointed when Mars Hill started stoking everyone’s ambition with promises of future pasturing and elder positions for core group members. People left church families that they had invested years in and were now as much a part of a start-up company that they were getting in on the ground floor with before it went public as they were a family of believers who assembled corporately to worship God and hear the word preached. The posturing between people vying for face time with the pastors, deacons and inner circle members became a bit grotesque…

    http://twocleareyes.blogspot.com/2012/02/mars-hill-career-spirituality-other.html#!/2012/02/mars-hill-career-spirituality-other.html

  66. http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-shoreline-and-pastor-tim.html

    Background on Tim Beltz in the above link. If the Vox Pop reportage was accurate Beltz started attending somewhere around 2004. Keep in mind that this link:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080507010855/http:/voxpopnetwork.com/vision/about/

    No longer works. The WayBack Machine is hosted by a non-profit that will stop archiving and compiling screen captures of web pages upon request.

  67. anonymous

    It wasn’t snarky. It made me laugh. I really like the way you said this.

    Here’s some things you’ll need to consider and some things you’ll need to do to keep yourself safe. And here’s what your staff will have to do to keep themselves safe. And here’s what your people will need to do to keep themselves safe. Do you still want to join? Why do you want to join something that you have to protect yourself from to such a degree?”

  68. @ WenatcheeTheHatchet:

    It’s possible that some of these men/families leave for their own sanity, as they awake from a dream gone nightmarish :( ???

    I find it interesting that a new book is released and a prominent employee (at one time anyway) disappears within the same week. I have to wonder about planned distractions.

  69. dee wrote:

    anonymous

    It wasn’t snarky. It made me laugh. I really like the way you said this.

    Here’s some things you’ll need to consider and some things you’ll need to do to keep yourself safe. And here’s what your staff will have to do to keep themselves safe. And here’s what your people will need to do to keep themselves safe. Do you still want to join? Why do you want to join something that you have to protect yourself from to such a degree?”

    Good. I’m glad you got my intent. I wasn’t laughing myself when I wrote it, though. I’m actually quite serious. :(

  70. anonymous

    If you have to worry about safety, do not go there. i shall call it The Anonymous Principle.

  71. dee wrote:

    anonymous

    If you have to worry about safety, do not go there. i shall call it The Anonymous Principle.

    Ooo. I like it! Succinct and elegant.

    And how kind of you to name it after me. :) I’ll be famous! The Famous Anonymous! :D Or at least Anonymous The Very Well Known. Or perhaps The Anonymous Some Might Vaguely Recall From Somewhere.

    Alright. I either need a nap or another espresso….

  72. anonymous

    I’ve got it. I shall call it The Anonymous Principle 4:10-it sounds biblical but it merely was the time of your last comment.We won’t tell them.

  73. @ TedS.:
    “It’s worth noting that in 6 or 7 months at the plant I was at, I didn’t meet anyone who was a recent convert”
    In 3 years at former Acts 29 church plant, we had a grand total of 1 adult baptized. Said convert was brought in by a certain humble aPostle, and has since escaped with him to a happier place.

  74. 2 personal stories– hope y’all can make the connection of the second one…
    Long ago I was employed by a church with mostly old members and an old, beautiful, old, large, old building. A couple weeks ago the remaining 20 congregants sold the building and its $2 mil (or so) in needed repairs to MD/MH and now have $2 mil in the bank. Better way to go than becoming “a” Mars Hill themselves. (they’re now at the far-left end of the church spectrum, so no worry about that)
    After that I was employed by a large corporation with large assests, good stock value, and a serious cash flow problem. CEO X led it to the solution– a merger with a young and restless company. He shared duties for a year or so with CEO Y. CEO X was *called* somewhere else, and CEO Y then got creative. Stock prices plummeted as CEO Y grew much much richer and then got convicted. CEO Y’s name became a curse-word amongst employees.

  75. Piper was one of Driscoll’s “mentors”, too. WTH- if you are reading here perhaps you can correct me but I think I remember reading his name in the Petry docs as a mentor who was contacted to perhaps help when the elder firings were coming down and got no response?

  76. Is Mark reading the Prayer of Jabez? :o).

    Actually, I think you guys hit on it when you mentioned his turnover of Acts 29 to Chandler. Now, I cannot find an Acts 29 church in my city. They no longer proudly proclaim the connection.

    My advice would be for pastors to show Driscoll clips to the congregation. Lots of them. Some might like them, though.

  77. I have to admit to a jaded view of “mentor” and “good friend” in the Driscoll lexicon. “Good friend” seems to mean anyone who wrote a book Driscoll wants to promote or who has endorsed content he’s generated. “Mentor” seems to mean someone with more social, financial, or intellectual clout than he has who has been willing to endorse him in some fashion in public.

  78. dee wrote:

    anonymous

    I’ve got it. I shall call it The Anonymous Principle 4:10-it sounds biblical but it merely was the time of your last comment.We won’t tell them.

    :)

  79. Huh. Who knew? I agree with Markie. “Most churches don’t want to change what they’re doing, but instead only want changed results.”

    Therefore, if you are a part of a congregation that is considering becoming part of the MH franchise, please do your due diligence and research the results of Markie’s leadership style and methods. All the pain that you read about on various blogs, you will be inflicting on your brothers and sisters. You cannot do what Markie does and expect a different result. Caveat emptor.

  80. @ Deb:
    Yes, yes and yes again.

    I really don’t know how much people know about the connections between Driscoll and Mahaney and Piper and Mohler (somewhat less, but very present).

    The posts here are often about one issue at a time.

    It would be great to do a post we could link to about their connections, another post showing how church after church is coming under MD or CJ Mahaney’s influence – the similar patterns used to grow them. Posts that link to many, many examples on one issue – for example women/gender comments – like all the things they have said from Paige Patterson to Doug Wilson to Mark Driscoll to Piper’s women should take it for one night. Right now, I would have to link to so many different posts from all over the place – it would be great to have a go-to page for all the horrible things these guys say about women/wives etc. and one other post with links to show how connected they all are – and any further connections to parachurch organizations – TGC,T4G, Acts 29, Cru, anything they are all webbing their lairs into.

    A year or two ago, Rachel Held Evans had a great post about all the nasty stuff Mark Driscoll said about other groups of people – it was an awesome go-to page for people to really see what Driscoll was like, now, Rage Against the Mini Van blogger Kristen has a similar post up (I linked further up this thread), that shows what Mark is really like. We need one for the whole Calvinista network. This would make many churchgoers see that their version of complementarian is not nearly as legalistic or sexist as many of the Calvinistas really are.

    I don’t have nearly the links or insight that you two women do, but I sure know a resource like that would be a great link for anyone sitting on the fence in the complementarian/egalitarian debate. When they say comp, they really mean patriarchy – which, of course, they say is entirely complementary (for the husband!). I wouldn’t put too much weight on Mary Kassian, except to show what the men she has joined forces with say as a compare/contrast. I am more alarmed by some of the really dangerous and boarder-line illegal stuff these guys promote. I think if more people could see it as a whole, and how they are all connected, it would get more attention.

    Then, a second post about how all these guys network together and are connected would be great. I know many who think all these things are unconnected, on-off sort of incidents and overall, nothing is amiss. The connections aren’t well mapped out for many – TGC/Mohler connection for example – or the (worldwide) reformed Anglican/TGC/Southern Baptist connections. Once you can see how all these guys cover each other (Challis propping up Driscoll, along with Chandler and Driscoll stroking Piper’s (supposed) prophetic ego). It is sad really, because in the end, there reach is so far that unsuspecting attenders don’t know whats going on, and can’t see the connections, so they can’t effectively stand up to the leadership in their churches.

    Anyways, just my ideas on what would be a great resource on women in their view and who and how they all are.

  81. anonymous wrote:

    Better to close your doors than sell yourself to him. Because that’s what you’re doing. If you join Mars Hill, you will become Mars Hill. You won’t be allowed not to, and we know what happens to people who complain, including pastors.

    Mars Hill is the Borg Collective.
    PREPARE TO BE ASSIMILATED.
    RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

  82. Footnote to Val’s comment:

    It is necessary to know what influences are out there — and to somehow gauge the traction they are getting. Being able to chart the ideological networkings in one place — kind of like a family tree of ideas and the people who have promoted them. Even down to individual statements made and when and where — which shape where the influences are going.

    Even though my community is very far from Calvinist / reformed, ideas adapt to influences. Just as I was caught unawares by the influence of shepherding movement, had I known names and the history of the ideas (like a family tree), I could have protected myself.

  83. dee wrote:

    To Our readers

    I am thinking about doing a post to warn churches/pastors of things to beware when joining a Mars Hill deal. If you could warn people, what would you say. Be as specific as possible. I will give all of you credit.

    For example: Hire an attorney-preferably one who has no loyalty to current evangelical leaders- maybe an avowed atheist. Ask him to draw up a contract that protects the job of the lead pastor.

    Dee – this is an interesting one. I think most of us regulars here are probably agreed that it would be healthier for a congregation to gargle a box jellyfish of the species chironex fleckeri than to be assimilated by Mars Hill. I.e., our specific advice would be: DON’T BE DECEIVED.

    From that starting point, I’d take it down a different route. Put it this way: to a first approximation, there’ll be two kinds of pastor that this kind of advert would appeal to. Some will be driven by an ambitious envy of MH’s commercial success. And others will be driven by discouragement and the desire, or need, for help. For the moment, then, a couple of points to make to the latter group.

    What is it about your current congregation, and ministry, that makes you feel you need more? Are you and your family struggling financially? Are you discouraged and needing help? You may have legitimate needs that God is willing to meet, if you’ll let him. What do you really believe “success” and “faithfulness” look like? What do you really believe God expects from you? If you’re being honest, is any of that a burden to you, and if so, does it really come from God?

    Do you indeed wish you were part of something bigger? Remember that you are [as Pam put it so well above, btw] – the Church. Have you become too isolated within your own congregation? Can you build bridges, share time or even people, with other congregations of believers in your locality? What would it look like if Jesus, Himself, really were in charge? What if he were? Can you dare to imagine that He is, and has plans He is willing to share with you?

    Are there activities that your congregation is doing that are a drain or a burden to you? If so, should you actually be doing them at all? Does Jesus need them?

  84. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    anonymous wrote:
    Better to close your doors than sell yourself to him. Because that’s what you’re doing. If you join Mars Hill, you will become Mars Hill. You won’t be allowed not to, and we know what happens to people who complain, including pastors.
    Mars Hill is the Borg Collective.
    PREPARE TO BE ASSIMILATED.
    RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

    That went through my mind but I was trying not to say it. :(

  85. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    dee wrote:

    What is it about your current congregation, and ministry, that makes you feel you need more?… What do you really believe “success” and “faithfulness” look like? What do you really believe God expects from you?

    These in particular are excellent questions. I believe they get to the heart of the matter. There is an underlying assumption that what is going on with these growth methods is God’s will simply because there is some kind of effect people are led to believe is positive. Heaven may take a different view. The numbers that equal success in man’s eyes do not necessarily equal success in God’s eyes.

  86. Val/Elastigirl – I’m with you on documenting the history of the links/networks/connections/influences. It would be a most useful resource tool. Might work on family history software, but has anyone heard of Visio? It’s pretty expensive software here, but great funcionality. It can then be saved as a Word document.

    Nick – analysis par excellence, thank you.

  87. Seriously? How is this different from any other denomination? What do you think the Southern Baptists do? Or how about Assemblies of God? ( which by the way they insist they are not a denomination ) I personally have learned tons from the teaching at Mars Hill. I probably would not make it my home church because I don’t agree with everything that they do as a church or Mark Driscoll does as a pastor. I thought I was bitter toward the church but the flavor of bitterness here puts me to shame.

  88. nobody

     ”I personally have learned tons from the teaching at Mars Hill.  I thought I was bitter toward the church but the flavor of bitterness here puts me to shame.”

    I know this may be a surprise to you but your words well describe what you have learned. They validate what many here have said about Mars Hill. You have learned to use the common, ho-hum word “bitterness”  which is regularly and boringly used by abusive ministries to marginalize those who have something to say. In fact, we suggest in our “rules of the road” that people learn to use a Thesaurus to find an alternative to the word ”bitter”which is overused by superficial churches. It, unfortunately betrays any impact that you are trying to make, causing many of us to blow off your entire comment as an inch deep and a mile wide.

    Thank you for demonstrating to our readers the type of teaching inherent in the Mars Hill system. Suggestion: try a little love the next time and you might get through.

     

  89. Point of Information: The AoG do now refer to themselves as a denomination having realized, I think, that they were no longer a small association of churches with similar beliefs.

  90. @Juniper, ooh yeah, that one too. There are so many, we must make a list. The ‘unequally yoked’ one is thrown around a lot also.

  91. nobody wrote:

    Seriously?…the flavor of bitterness here puts me to shame.

    Yes, we see what you mean. The main problem with Dee and the rest of the Discernment Divas is that they are not sufficiently humble. If they would only humbly approach men like Mahaney, Furtick, Noble, Driscoll, Mohler, et al, “privately and humbly” and be willing to submit themselves, all the bitterness would vanish.

  92. Ted S -

    “If they would only humbly approach men like Mahaney, Furtick, Noble, Driscoll, Mohler, et al, “privately and humbly” and be willing to submit themselves, all the bitterness would vanish.”

    Like this could ever happen. Most of these men don’t even talk to women other than their wives, mothers, and daughters. In other words, even humility wouldn’t help.

  93. To our readers

    Delta Dagger is officially under warning and the comments being forwarded to the attorney just in case this is the beginning of harassment

     

  94. There’d need to be some actual evidence that Driscoll’s a turnaround expert. Scott Thomas I could see having been a turnaround expert, but Mark, not so much.

  95. I am just proud of “nobody” for not playing the “gossip” card. It is usually gossip and bitterness. :o)

  96. Speaking of Mars Hill, does anyone know what’s going on with Brad House? Former Mars Hill Seattle pastor, writer of a book on Community Groups, now “installed” as a pastor at Sojourn’s East Campus in the last week.

  97. ” now “installed” as a pastor at Sojourn’s East Campus in the last week.”

    Interesting. How many pastors do they need? Are you speaking of Westport road campus or J-town?

  98. Just a note, last year the Sojourn site was chocked full of Driscoll and Mahaney stuff. I just checked it and it has been sanitized of them. Funny how that works in “Christendom”.

  99. former Sojourn member,

    Someone brought that to my attention this week after the post on Bill Clem’s resignation got published. What House is doing over there and how or why he stopped being at MH I couldn’t say.

  100. Among the list of stuff you get if you join Driscoll’s line of churches (it sounds like he’s a McDonald’s franchise pusher, with God in place of Big Macs) are….

    children’s ministry, marriage ministry, and more

    Do divorced people, the never married, the widows and widowers fall under the “and more” part?

    Sorry to keep beating on this drum, but this is one of my pet peeves, how most churches assume most of their members are married couples with children, when those families make up only about 18% of the U.S. population.

    Everyone else is either married- couples- with- no- kids (about 20% of the population), and everyone else in the United States is unmarried (which comprises the never married, the widowed, or divorced).

  101. @ Juniper:
    It’s funny that you mention that the AofG finally call themselves a denomination. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… Like I mentioned on another post, my family has been involved with the denomination from the very first “assemblies”. What is interesting is that there is no “official history” documenting their transition from the Shouting Methodists (very few people even remember that group anymore) to the modern day Assemblies of God. When I wanted to learn more about it, it took my mom about 10 phone calls to various family members to piece together our family’s version of their history. Our best guess is that they qualified as an official denomination around a hundred years ago and possibly even earlier. There are many problems within the modern denomination including money management. Please do not be fooled – the organization itself is not healthy.

  102. @ WenatcheeTheHatchet:

    WTH I saw your post on House at your blog, hence my curiosity.

    I know that Sojourn leaders have worked with Mars Hill leaders many times in the past. I’m unsure that Driscoll has ever visited Louisville but he does know Daniel Montgomery.

    At times I’ve wondered if Sojourn and Mars Hill, in the far future, ever join together somehow: either Sojourn becoming Mars Hill Louisville, or Sojourn further incorporating Mars Hill ministry practices under the Sojourn brand.

    Now that Brad House is at East, I’m wondering again if that might end up happening. I definitely would want to know more about this guy before I gave my consent to him. Will he have a good influence on the church or a bad one?

  103. Speaking of Mars Hill, does anyone know what’s going on with Brad House? Former Mars Hill Seattle pastor, writer of a book on Community Groups, now “installed” as a pastor at Sojourn’s East Campus in the last week.@ Anon 1:

    East being Westport Road campus

  104. Ugh. Sorry about the double post – I tried to edit out the quote from my previous post that ended up in my response to Anon1 :(

  105. Don’t know much about House leaving MH, I’m afraid. He didn’t seem to get into the elder/pastor scene until, I guess, slightly after I’d stopped regularly attending.

  106. When I made my post above about his Mars Hill sales pitch sounding like a McDonald’s franchise business plan, it was before scrolling down and seeing all the posts that said something similar.

    HUG said (Driscoll impression),

    “I AM OF DRISCOLL! I CAN BEAT YOU UP!!!”

    Pretty Good.

    But in the future, when you do impressions of MD, be sure to include references to cage fighting and mixed martial arts, if you want to add those authentic touches :)

    Bridget said,

    Like this could ever happen. Most of these men don’t even talk to women other than their wives, mothers, and daughters. In other words, even humility wouldn’t help.

    Meanwhile, Jesus went around talking to women publicly (and treating them like equals), even the unclean and the prostitutes, even though rabbis back in that time period weren’t supposed to.

    This is one thing of many that rankles me about “gender complementarianism.” Jesus came to liberate women and put them back on equal status to males, but the complementarians come along and try to shove them back down again (claiming that keeping women down is actually a form of liberation and equality).

    Haitch wrote:

    Labelling someone bitter – Stephanie Drury also covered this handsomely (like winsomely, only better !) here http://www.stuffchristianculturelikes.com/2010/09/190-calling-anger-bitterness.html
    It’s right up there with saying “I’m praying for you”, carelessly throwing around bible verses, and finishing up with “blessings”.

    I should totally go read that web page.

    Unmarried Christians who want marriage and who voice sadness or frustration over being unmarried, and / or who express those same feelings about being ignored by most churches or over the insensitive platitudes and advice we get over our singleness from pastors and other Christians get the “bitter” label often, even if it’s not deserved.

    I’ve seen blogs where married Christian guys give the most sexist, condescending advice to single Christian women on how to get a man (it boils down to “you’re an ugly fatty, get plastic surgery to look like Megan Fox, then you can get dates”), and when the women naturally disagree with the advice (or the tone in how it’s given), the male author will always call them “bitter.”

    It’s amazing how so many Christians think it’s fine to insult entire groups of people and then write off any and all legitimate criticism or understandable anger as being “bitterness.”

  107. former Sojourn member wrote:
    Now that Brad House is at East, I’m wondering again if that might end up happening. I definitely would want to know more about this guy before I gave my consent to him. Will he have a good influence on the church or a bad one?

    This email to fired pastor Paul Petry is the sum total of what I know about him. Based on that very limited, but very evil (IMO) snapshot, I’d say a bad one (unless he’s changed since then).
    http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/brad-house-demand-to-meet-11-02-2007.pdf

  108. Daisy
    I’ve seen blogs where married Christian guys give the most sexist, condescending advice to single Christian women on how to get a man (it boils down to “you’re an ugly fatty, get plastic surgery to look like Megan Fox, then you can get dates”), and when the women naturally disagree with the advice (or the tone in how it’s given), the male author will always call them “bitter.”
    It’s amazing how so many Christians think it’s fine to insult entire groups of people and then write off any and all legitimate criticism or understandable anger as being “bitterness.”

    My thought (but never actually said) response to those sorts of comments is always well I’m glad I don’t have to put up with your sorry arse all the time.

    On a slightly lighter note, it reminds me of the reputed exchange between Lady Astor and Winston Churchill: Lady Astor told Churchill ‘If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea’, to which Churchill is said to have replied ‘Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it!’

  109. Juniper wrote:

    Actually, a dictionary of christianese isn’t a bad idea.

    This could go alongside the “My comment was deleterated” page. Here’s a starter, then:
    Fellowship (noun): 1) A constituted or semi-formal group of Christians that meet regularly together to avoid having to meet regularly with other Christians in the same locality. 2) Time spent by Christians in one another’s company with no tangible outcome.
    Fellowship (verb, intransitive): (Of Christians) To gather together for a mystical and invisible purpose. (verb, transitive): To inflict one’s company on.

    @ Haitch – Very kind of you to say so. I must admit I thought of you when I used the “box jellyfish” analogy. Not, I should add, because you seem like a venomous creature – just because they’re well known about in Oz. :-)

  110. Former Sojourn

    It is my understanding that, until recently, there was some movement for a Sojourn/SGM merge. My guess is that as been put on hold.

  111. @Nick

    Actually, the box jellyfish reference made me think of the Will Smith movie “Seven pounds” !

    I’m fascinated by jellyfish, I wish I could visit a zoo of just jellyfish only.

    Beware also the other life threatening jellyfish – the carukia barnesi, or irukandji jellyfish, so named after an Aboriginal tribe who lived in the Cairns region. It has been found as far north as the isle of Anglesey. Probably best not to gargle with them either…

    http://www.barrierreefaustralia.com/the-great-barrier-reef/irukandji.htm

    Link provides info by Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin, aka the Jelly fish goddess, a woman with the most perfect job description.

  112. “This email to fired pastor Paul Petry is the sum total of what I know about him. Based on that very limited, but very evil (IMO) snapshot, I’d say a bad one (unless he’s changed since then).
    http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/brad-house-demand-to-meet-11-02-2007.pdf

    Thank you, Dave!!! I have some Sojourn acquaintances I am going to print that out and show it to. They need to know what they are supporting and how they could be treated….They deserve to know.

    The arrogance from these “little boys” is unbelievable.

  113. One more thing, Sojourn here has gone to some trouble to distance themselves from Acts 29/Driscoll so why are they bringing Mars Hill Brad House in. My guess is he is out of favor at Mars Hill and they think we are too stupid to connect the dots with House and his role with the spiritually abusing the Petry’s. In other words, he needed a job.

  114. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Nick -

    As I understand your definition of fellowship, it has negative connotations for you? If I’m wrong on that let me know. Definitions are interesting and important aren’t they? I see fellowship in a different way. I enjoy fellowship more than going to church. I find it more personnel, there is more intimate communication, prayer, and worship than “at church.” Some of the best fellowship is when we are gathered for a purpose such as helping someone in need.

  115. Driscoll talks about leaders getting bogged down in the “business” end of running a church, and implies that this is a negative thing, and then goes on to describe joining with Mars Hill in terms that sound like a business transaction.

    Anyone else find that highly ironic?

    I find it really weird that this whole concept is being addressed. How is this any different than a mega-corporation buying out a smaller one? Think about it. If you have a specific church that has been in a specific community (let’s assume for several years), one would hope that church knows the needs of the community, and their staff and various ministries reflect those needs.

    So if they joined Mars Hill, and some of their staff were laid off, and some of their ministries changed, they would no longer be a local body reacting to the local needs of the local people (which is what MH claims you should do), rather, they are now part of a bigger whole that is making decisions in a corporate boardroom in another state without knowing the specifics of the area this church serves in.

    HOW IS THAT REFLECTIVE OF FOLLOWING JESUS AND SERVING THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU? HOW IS THAT NOT JUST BECOMING PART OF A BUSINESS?

    This whole thing is so weird that I really can’t believe it’s even being discussed. 50 years from now, when the Driscoll craze has ended and people look on this time in Christian history with more objectivity, people are going to wonder why the church leaders of today didn’t ask more questions about statements such as these.

  116. Bridget – it’s not fellowship per se that has negative connotations for me, it’s the mis-use of the word “fellowship” to apply to things that just ain’t; maybe it’s more common in our neck of the woods than in yours. My definition was meant to be humorous rather than outright cynical, but it may’ve been a comedic mis-fire…

    We love fellowship as well. The odd thing is that, as a rule of thumb, the best instances of fellowship we have tend to be those in which nobody actually calls it “fellowship”. Rather, it’s been the companionship of fellows, where minds and spirits have met at a deep and unspoken level, and everyone knows – without having to say so – that there’s a unity of priority and purpose.

    Margaret Thatcher once famously said that if you have to say you’re strong, you’re not. In the same way, imho, if you have to say that you’re “having fellowship”, you’re not.

  117. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I understand . . . no coffee yet today.

    I also think that there has been a strong push to use words from the Bible, such as “fellowship,” to describe and communicate the Christian life. Someone actually told me that we should use Biblical language to describe everything – as if that somehow makes a difference in living a Christian life. That logic fails for me. The first disciples and the apostles would have had an even more difficult time grasping what Jesus was teaching them if he didn’t speak to them in words that were in common use during his/their time on earth. But I could be missing something . . .

  118. Sad observer, The church started implementing more and more business model concepts back in the 70′s. The leadership craze back in the 80′s and 90′s was a precurser to the McChurch model we are seeing today. The only thing that will change it is when the money dries up. But too many people still like to go to church to have worship/learning done for them by others on a stage. They have no idea if what they are taught is correct or not. Those who do question or disagree don’t last long because they threaten the model.

  119. Anon 1 wrote:

    Sad observer, The church started implementing more and more business model concepts back in the 70′s. The leadership craze back in the 80′s and 90′s was a precurser to the McChurch model we are seeing today.

    And one of the side effects was implementing and importing more and more of the pointy-haired attitudes of business. DILBERT, anyone?

    And as we’ve seen here on Wartburg Watch with Cee Jay and Bee Jay and all the other business-model CELEBRITY pastor/CEOs, they’ve not only eaten and digested the pointy-haired boss business model, but ALL its accompanying baggage, from the Pointy-Haired Boss to Gordon Gecko to Ayn Rand.

  120. Bridget wrote:

    I also think that there has been a strong push to use words from the Bible, such as “fellowship,” to describe and communicate the Christian life.

    You DO know that “fellowship” is also a verb in Christianese, don’t you? As in “We Fellowshipped” and one line from a forgotten CCM, “Fellowshipping with the LOORD”.

    And what does it mean? Thanks to overuse, it means nothing and anything, just like “Object” in C++ documentation.

  121. Bridget wrote:

    Someone actually told me that we should use Biblical language to describe everything – as if that somehow makes a difference in living a Christian life.

    Let me tell you something I learned years ago, in a recreational thinking session with some other SF fans: The difference between a Technical Language and a Mystery Language.

    A Technical Language — Church Latin, contract-law legalese, subculture jargon from law to finance to plastic modellers to computer geeks to D&Ders to military to Bronies — uses jargon and specialized words and definitions of words for precision (in the case of law) or to express ideas and memes unique to that subculture. Mostly technical terms, hence the name “Technical Language”.

    But as entropy and ego sets in, a Technical Language is in danger of becoming a Mystery Language.

    In a Mystery Language, the jargon is there to build a wall between the Illuminati of the Inner Mysteries and the great unwashed herd of Sheeple outside. An impenetrable wall separating the Illuminated Haves from the Benighted Have-Nots. What C.S.Lewis called “The Lure of the Inner Ring”, and all that results from it. Hence the term “Mystery Language” as in Protector of the Inner Mysteries.

    Now for the Question of Jonah: Is Christianese a Technical Language or a Mystery Language? From the examples on WWW and associated blogs, all too often it is the second.

  122. Haitch wrote:

    It’s right up there with saying “I’m praying for you”, carelessly throwing around bible verses, and finishing up with “blessings”.

    From experience, “I’ll Pray For You(TM)” is Christianese for doing nothing and feeling good about it.

    My standard comeback to that line is a paraphrase of a line from Babylon-5 (Sinclair to Kosh):

    “You have a saying: ‘I’ll Pray For You.’
    We too have a saying: ‘PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!’”

  123. A. The entrance of that “church” looks like you’re entering a mall, not a place of worship.

    B. That is quite appropriate, given what follows in the post.

  124. Anon 1 wrote:

    Sad observer, The church started implementing more and more business model concepts back in the 70′s. The leadership craze back in the 80′s and 90′s was a precurser to the McChurch model we are seeing today. The only thing that will change it is when the money dries up.

    Ain’t this the truth? :)

    The reason the irony shocks me so badly in this case, though, is that neo-Calvinism and related groups are well-known for saying “the common church model is bad/too much like a business” and Driscoll even references that belief in his very statements. Then goes on to describe MH like a business directly after saying this.

    I would find this whole schpiel about how to become part of a church corporation way less surprising if it was coming from one of the mainline church denominations that neo-Cals believe are on the wrong track. But coming from one of them, it’s just a walking contradiction.

  125. On a slightly lighter note, it reminds me of the reputed exchange between Lady Astor and Winston Churchill: Lady Astor told Churchill ‘If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea’, to which Churchill is said to have replied ‘Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it!’-Pam

    Totally off topic, but interesting: Churchill’s best (worst!) retort, IMO, was at a function where MP Bessie Braddock told him: “Winston, you are drunk.”
    His reply: “And you are ugly. But tomorrow, I’ll be sober.”

  126. “It would be great to do a post we could link to about their connections, another post showing how church after church is coming under MD or CJ Mahaney’s influence – the similar patterns used to grow them. Posts that link to many, many examples on one issue – for example women/gender comments – like all the things they have said from Paige Patterson to Doug Wilson to Mark Driscoll to Piper’s women should take it for one night.” -Val

    It would be great. Perhaps, Dee/Deb could just put up a post even without doing the research work: “What leading complementarians say about women”. That post will then be a space for our links and complementarian quotes, and then all of us give links and quotes of that in our comments, to make it such a resource.
    The same goes for other topics – we choose a topic and collect the resources together, with all of us mentioning our links.

  127. Retha, I was very much involved in the Church Growth Movement of the 80-90′s and I can tell you the YRR movement is much more sophisticated than the CGM of those days. They back up their movement with a determinist god who directs every molecule and it is a game changer. In effect, the followers are more loyal to the movement. Think of all the years few were questioning Mahaney, Mohler, Driscoll. It took some very big shennanigans that were not even doctrinal for them to even question. That is why Piper gets such a pass on doctrine.

  128. HUG, I will never forget when the church growth movement started talking about the ‘DNA’ of the church. It was everywhere. I put it right up there with “branding” as if we were selling Tide.

    Jesus is just the marketing assessory used to make the philosopher kings names great amoung the nations. Piper is quoted more than Jesus but then many think quoting Piper is the same thing as quoting Jesus.

  129. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    …Now for the Question of Jonah: Is Christianese a Technical Language or a Mystery Language?

    The answer is: Yes.

    To pick up on your and Bridget’s point about over-using Christian language in general, we face a basic problem. To wit, the Christian life is grounded in things that, whilst they have real existence, are initially unseen. Habitually using Christian language for too much everyday stuff has made us too readily content with imaginary things when we should be pursuing spiritual realities.

    As in: “We had some fellowship” when actually all we had was some coffee and amiable chit-chat. I fear, HUG, that life then proceeds rather as you outlined. Coffee and chit-chat has become “fellowship”. Soon, “fellowship” (Greek: koinonia, the deep sharing of life together) becomes coffee and chit-chat. And a generation of Christians emerges with no higher expectations of the company of fellow-believers.

  130. @ dee:
    guess you really only like dissent when it is yours. I have read your blogs and the comments here extensively, I don’t marginalize anyones hurt from the church having experienced it in my own life. My noting of the bitterness around here is because I recognize the bitterness I have had to deal with. But I guess you can only be deep if one agrees with you. walking back to the shallows now.

  131. Just a comment on some posts from a while back. According to my co-writers who are leaders at Sojourn & former members of Acts 29, Sojourn network was a PART of the Acts 29 Network but grew so large that organizationally it was impossible to manage as it’s own church & church planting group, so they were assisted in becoming their own network. Acts 29 actually encourages this, according to my friends, & it is likely that similar things will be seen in the future as other Acts 29 local churches impact spreads broadly enough for them to plant their own churches. There was no rift, nor were churches leaving Acts 29 due to a controversy – they still attend trainings & conferences…

    I’m saddened by your take on things, honestly… as a believer, & not a member of an Acts 29 church, all of the most humble, Biblically solid, Spirit-led, evangelistic believers I know are either part of that network, or directly mentore (and in some cases, led to the Lord) by Driscoll himself. That says a lot about the man, to me

  132. Shannon

    Instead of third party endorsements, I encourage you to be a Berean and investigate Driscoll for yourself. Look at his swing at the Brits, his pornovision, his bizarre comments about punching people, how he screens his wife’s emails, his take on Esther-the slut, his bizarre view of cage fighting type of Jesus….I could go on but so can you. Study. 

    Finally, you are not “saddened.” You are deeply irritated that we don’t see Driscoll in the same way that you do. We are not into hero worship. Oh, the word “humble?” Driscoll is not humble-do some reading.

  133. Shannon Lewis wrote:

    all of the most humble, Biblically solid, Spirit-led, evangelistic believers I know

    Shannon, I’m glad you have so many positive Christian role models in your life. I don’t doubt that there are spiritually mature people who are part of an Acts 29 network. Every group is going to have its bad apples, and also it’s sincere good apples! :)

    However, I do want to throw in one caveat. I hope I’m not reading too much into this, but I think the way you phrased your statement sort of goes into the point that Dee, Deb and many of us are trying to make about the Acts 29 network (apart from the specific topic of Driscoll himself). You said that all of the most humble, Biblically-based, etc., leaders you know have come from that movement.

    This feels ironic to me because there has been a strong trend from Acts 29, and neo-Calvinism in general, to present themselves as the “most” Biblical and the “most” have-it-together, and to paint anyone who disagrees with them as being somehow “outside” the group of people who are genuinely Biblical and God-honoring.

    Please don’t feel like I”m trying to twist your words. Maybe you were using hyperbole; or maybe the Acts 29 circle is the only church circle you’re currently involved in, which would explain why all of the Christians you admire are part of that. However, I’m a little intrigued by how you put it, since what you said closely mirrors what neo-Calvinism wants everyone to believe; that ALL of the most mature and trustworthy Christians are the ones who follow this newest trend of reformed doctrine. In those circles, the implication is that all others are a little less spiritual.

    I think it’s worth saying that I’ve had experience with churches that were heavily influenced by Acts 29. I found the leaders there to be extremely well-intentioned, but they, too, thought that their brand of leadership was the “most” Biblical and humble, and there was a sense that everyone outside of their leadership model weren’t truly following what the Bible said.

  134. Eagle has it right: this is franchising, plain and simple. And, might I add, quite a flashy job of it at that. Ray Kroc himself. would couldn’t do it better.

    Many have said that MHC and A29 are trying to become a denomination. I would argue that they are going much further. It feels like a Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Starbucks style empire to me. Bringing their money and resources into town and squeezing out the mom-and-pop stories (churches). Apart from a megachurch, who can compete with the brand, budget, and resources of MHC and A29?

    Scary.