Monday, June 16, 2014

revisiting a tweet, a few announcements, and a couple of invoices connected to Real Marriage

Mark DriscollVerified account‏@PastorMark   Grace is thrifty so we were at the Dollar Store getting stuff for
Gideon's 6th bday when we heard we'd hit #1 on NY Times Best Seller list.
7:15 AM - 15 Jan 2012

October 13, 2011

Dear Mars Hill Church,

This letter will confirm your engagement of Result Source Inc, ("RSI") to conduct a bestseller campaign for your book, Real Marriage on the week of January 2, 2012.  The bestseller campaign is intended to place Real Marriage on The New York Times bestseller list for the Advice How-To list. Additionally, RSI will work to put Real Marriage on The Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller list and on the USA Today Money list,, and bestseller list.

Result Source

In 2011, outside counsel advised our marketing team to use Result Source to market the Real Marriage book and attain placement on the New York Times Bestseller list. While not uncommon or illegal, this unwise strategy is not one we had used before or since, and not one we will use again. The true cost of this endeavor was much less than what has been reported, and to be clear, all of the books purchased through this campaign have been given away or sold through normal channels. All monies from the sale of Pastor Mark’s books at Mars Hill bookstores have always gone to the church and Pastor Mark did not profit from the Real Marriage books sold either at the church or through the Result Source marketing campaign.
To correct a statement in a recent article, Pastor Sutton Turner was the General Manager, not the Executive Pastor or Executive Elder as reported, at the time he signed with the referenced agreement with Result Source. In the time since this campaign [emphasis added] we have established a new Executive Elder team, new Board of Advisors and Accountability, as well as a new marketing team.
For sake of clarity, the contract Sutton Turner signed with ResultSource was dated October 13, 2011.  Jamie Munson's resignation as executive elder was formally announced on ... September 6, 2011 [as dead as the link has been lately the original publication date is still embedded in the link]. [for those who may be using mobile devices]
So at the time that Sutton Turner signed the contract with Result Source on behalf of Mars Hill he was not yet introduced as an executive elder or executive pastor but he was still technically part of the executive team as acknowledged by the BOAA announcement earlier this year.  So it didn't look as though there was really a new team of executive elders overall in terms of public listings so much as that Munson stepped down and ended up being replaced with Sutton Turner.  
In fact Sutton Turner was introduced as a pastor on November 23, 2011 and it's not entirely clear that there actually was a new Executive Elder Team since the campaign with Result Source kicked in.  The contract Turner signed was the earlier month and unless the campaign did not actually kick in until January 2012 Turner was part of the Executive Elder team during the campaign.  If the Result Source side of the campaign didn't kick in until January 2012 then Turner was on the Executive Elder team before the campaign began on the RSI side of fulfilling the agreement.  In any case,  in December 2011 Driscoll was pushing to promote the book internally. In case the video ever stops working ... James Duncan discussed the presentation Driscoll gave over here.  So it might appear that the campaign really kicked in in earnest AFTER Sutton Turner had been publicly and formally introduced as an Executive Elder/Executive Pastor. 
But it would be accurate to say that the team of men who would consider formal charges against Mark Driscoll had definitely changed some time between late 2011 and late 2012. On the side of those that would consider formal charges, well, Wenatchee The Hatchet documented what the earlier team of men who would consider formal charges against Mark Driscoll would have been.  This did seem to change in the wake of the Real Marriage campaign, though precisely when would be hard to assess given how thoroughly robots.txt has been applied to MH associated websites.
It used to be ... "This group currently consists of Jamie Munson, Dave Bruskas, James MacDonald, Darrin Patrick, and Larry Osborne." and has since gone to be: "Dr. Tripp joins the current Board members: Michael Van Skaik, Dr. James MacDonald, Dr. Larry Osborne, Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas, and Sutton Turner." But it's hard to say this group is completely new since Dave Bruskas and James MacDonald and Larry Osborne stayed on the team and the major change was to add the Executive Elders Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner to the crew, and eventually Paul Tripp.  Michael Van Skaik resigned from his pastoral role so that he could play a role on the BOAA.  The men who disappeared were Jamie Munson and Darrin Patrick but otherwise there was more continuity than discontinuity between the two iterations of what may have been the Board of Advisors and Accountability/those who would assess formal charges made against Mark Driscoll.  Until MHC introduced robots.txt to preclude crawls by The WayBack Machine a crawl from as late as October 10, 2012 ...

showed the older line-up of Jamie Munson, Dave Bruskas, James MacDonald, Darrin Patrick, and Larry Osborne.  Perhaps MHC had not updated it's governance page expeditiously enough or perhaps the newer BOAA that made the announcement regarding ResultSource had not quite taken shape yet.  Paul Tripp's joining the team was announced in late 2013.
While the BOAA that made the announcement on March 7, 2014 was certainly not the board that would have been in place to consider formal charges that might be made against Mark Driscoll at the time Sutton Turner signed the contract with Result Source Inc. that board did not yet include ... Sutton Turner or Mark Driscoll. 
So it was that newer Board of Advisors and Accountability that explained that the real cost of dealing with Result Source was considerably less than the reported $210,000.  Given that Driscoll was on that board and probably saw the invoices himself the BOAA would seem to have been in a good position to know what the dollar amounts were.  The BOAA didn't bother to clear up how much less than the reported amount the cost of the campaign actually was but someone has since conveyed to the blogger Warren Throckmorton the following:

$25,000 is a lot less than the $210,000 in the initial story that broke at WORLD Magazine ... but it may be argued that spending just one tenth the amount to rig a spot for a book that turned out to have plagiarized the work of Dan Allender makes for thrifty sales-rigging for a book that had citation errors ... but it's still technically sales-rigging.  It becomes a little tough, particularly with all the facts that have been made available and have been conceded as true by Mars Hill executive leadership, that a tweet about hearing word that a Driscoll book had made #1 on the NYT bestseller list could have been anything close to a surprise for Mark Driscoll.  Grace?  Well, maybe, that's conceivable ... but Mark?  No.  It's also a bit difficult to sustain a case that since the campaign to get Real Marriage on the NYT bestseller list began that there was actually a "new" Executive Elder team.  If anything it was the new executive elder team of Driscoll, Bruskas and Turner that was at the helm of MHC in the midst of the big push while Munson had resigned for some reason.  The BOAA had definitely changed but it would be hard to describe it as new unless adding the executive elders that were supposed to be accountable to the board ... to the board ... was what the BOAA meant. 
Mark Driscoll tweeted about Grace's thriftiness and transitioned into hearing that they had a book that hit #1 on the NYT bestseller list.  It does make for a cute twitter-worthy irony, doesn't it?  Shopping at a dollar store and then hearing a book made the NYT bestseller list.  Of course Driscoll has long since informed Mars Hill members he would request that #1 NYT bestselling author description no longer be used but the twitter-feed (at least for now) still reflects that once he got word Real Marriage was at a #1 spot on the NYT bestseller list that was worth tweeting about. 

For folks who have the patience to read through the old Governance page circa 2012 and compare that to what showed up in 2013 ... you can go over here.

What the BOAA said about itself on March 7, 2014 and about the executive elder team that was or wasn't necessarily the same in late 2011 as the one since the campaign to get Real Marriage to #1 on the NYT bestseller list remains a bit fuzzy.

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