Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sutton Turner mentions "We are ending our fiscal year at one of the most trying times for our church in recent memory".

Well, okay, so maybe there's some internal rumblings that times have not been easy.  This was conveyed to Wenatchee The Hatchet recently:


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and for those that don't/can't do images

From Pastor Sutton Turner:
Mars Hill Family,


We are ending our fiscal year at one of the most trying times for our church in recent memory. We know that God calls us to pursue humility and faithfulness during all seasons, and also to look to Jesus for continued growth as leaders and as the body of Christ.

This is just a quick reminder that gifts made by midnight on June 30th help us end our current fiscal year strong. Your tithes and offerings support 16 churches here in the US with facilities to gather and worship for weekend services and also with the staff to care and love those who are meeting Jesus and growing in their faith. You also support evangelists and church planters in Ethiopia and India.
With your tithes and contributions, more churches will be planted, more pastors will be sent out, and more people will be saved by Jesus Christ.

But I need to hear from you by midnight next Monday night. Please go to marshill.com/give, and thank you.

I am so thankful to Jesus for your generosity and faithfulness.
Gratefully,
Pastor Sutton

Executive Elder & Executive Pastor
It's not surprising that there's no mention of what might be included in "one of the most trying times for our church in recent memory.

No mention of plagiarism controversy from Turner (seven books of Mark Driscoll's were shown by Warren Throckmorton to have citation errors of various kinds) or of the Result Source controversy, even though Sutton Turner himself signed that contract

So on the whole evidence suggests that the executive elders themselves made the "unwise" decisions that have been the cause of controversy and difficulty for Mars Hill in the last year.  It's interesting and not surprising that neither Sutton Turner nor Mark Driscoll have seemed as yet all that eager to say anything about the plagiarism controversy and have only voiced the most passive and even blame-shifting sorts of regret (via the Board of Advisors and Accountability that they are on) about the "outside counsel" that suggested Result Source.  Now while Chronicles and Samuel alternately ascribe David's late-career census as the agency of the devil or God David is the one shown taking ownership of a sin that cost the lives of thousands and thousands of people. 

To say "I’m more a prophet than a politician."  is to misunderstand the starkly political nature of prophetic activity (and also to skate altogether past its judicial role within the Torah and through the earlier books of the Old Testament).  More to the point, when men claim to be prophets and then get caught up in plagiarism controversies and controversies about rigging sales, to say nothing of "I see things" it is well past the point that when someone who appoints himself a public figure and refers to himself as a gigachurch pastor be able to handle being on the receiving end of some public criticism.  Yet time and again Mark Driscoll seems to balk or even bristle at being on the receiving end of what he has historically been willing to dish out.  Whether it's a history of publicly blasting The Shack in 2007 and before shaking hands with T. D. Jakes in 2012, or whether it's saying in 2009 he didn't start a side company to manage book royalties and then going on to set one up in 2011, Driscoll's flip-flops may be of a higher order than those alleged to have been done by John Kerry in election cycles.

And if Mark Driscoll seriously believed that in the case of Grace Driscoll out-earning him in the earlier years of Mars Hill that he had essentially denied the faith and become worse than an unbeliever then if he had any scruples or consistency about his own self-proclaimed scruples he should have resigned from ministry altogether for having denied the faith and become worse than unbelievers.  But that's clearly not what happened.  What happened was Driscoll got a salary and eventually went on in 2011 to tell Mars Hill that they have historically stunk at giving.  Maybe they have but since Mars Hill Church in the last eight years seems to have historically stunk at transparency in the wake of controversy maybe there could be a bit more give and take here. 

6 comments:

LeslieBetz said...

Interestingly enough, I have somehow been receiving these emails. I revoked my membership 4 years ago and haven't heard a peep from Mars Hill since. And now, June of 2014, I have received 3 emails asking for money. How did they even drudge up my email address?!

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Leslie, a couple of queries of archived City profile records could have ensured access to emails. Mars Hill Global started off as a donor cultivation campaign targeting on-line listeners and podcast subscribers.

Lapsed donor cultivation campaigns are par for the course in non-profit fundraising so we don't have enough to go on to be sure if this is a sign of anything just yet where Mars Hill is concerned. We'd need to see a series of emails and their wording to get a clearer idea what's going on. That said, if you want to post the body of the three emails here, post away.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Since MH has a history of pushing for a big year-end give and then sharing how they were above budget targets we can't be sure that anything is amiss in the finances. They've got a capital development officer these days and lapsed donor cultivation could just be part of fundraising as a number of major expansion projects are coming along.

If there were signs of real trouble to be gleaned from the publicly available fiscal year reports it's that while mid-tier and major donors have ramped up their giving the bottom of the pyramid has bottomed out at nearly record levels in the history of MH. As noted previously here at WtH the % of people at MH who gave nothing is higher than it's been in publicly shared reports. When nearly two thirds of attenders gave either nothing or cumulatively less than $500 in the previous fiscal year that could be cause for concern on the eve of the schools project and the addition of a sixteenth campus. But it doesn't mean MH couldn't be very comfortable regarding basic operating expenses.

And given how much later fiscal year reports get year after year who knows if we won't see actual publicly posted numbers until 2015.

LeslieBetz said...

Thanks for your response, Wenatchee! :)
I greatly appreciate it. I find it annoying simply because we didn't have an amicable split and I have heard nothing but crickets for about 4 years, and this is the first I hear from them. I haven't podcasted or shared my email with them in ages.
That said, here are the emails:

First email, June 5, with the subject: Thank you!
Family, view this video of thankfulness and vision for Mars Hill Church and share it with your friends.
View this email in your browser

Thank You!

On behalf of Pastor Mark Driscoll, thank you, Mars Hill Family. More of you are learning about Jesus and loving like Jesus than ever before!

The evidence is all around us—people are being saved, Mars Hill Phoenix was planted, there are now 43 evangelists spreading the Gospel in Ethiopia, you’re supporting church planters in India, and our online sermons, podcasts and blogs spread the Word to more souls than you can imagine.

Thank you! None of this happens with out you and your support so we wanted to thank you via video and show you the impacts of God’s provision and your faithfulness.

In Christ,

Pastor Sutton Turner
Executive Pastor at Mars Hill Church
Copyright © 2014 Mars Hill Church, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up for updates from MarsHill.com

Our mailing address is:
Mars Hill Church
1411 NW 50th St.
Seattle, WA 98107

LeslieBetz said...

Here's the other two:
Second email, June 18, with the subject :FIscal Year End Approaching:


Fiscal Year End Approaching

Family,

Pastor Sutton here with a quick update. I wanted you to know that Mars Hill Church’s fiscal year ends on June 30th.

The end of the fiscal year normally doesn’t matter to anyone outside of the bookkeepers and accountants.

But it does matter to you. From 2007 to 2011, I was a podcaster like many of you. My family and I would download Pastor Mark’s sermons weekly and Jesus used them to grow our family in godliness. As I think back, I don’t know if I ever received a communication from Mars Hill asking me to financially give back to the church that blessed my family and me week in and week out. That’s why I’m writing this quick email. The financial picture of Mars Hill for the rest of the year depends largely on how we finish this year. Right now we’re making plans for what we can do – and what we can’t do – next year.

Thankfully you and I believe in a God who is in control of everything. But you and I still have a role to play. In the near future I’ll be asking if you can make a special gift to Mars Hill to help the church end the fiscal year strong.

Your gift to Mars Hill means that Pastor Mark’s sermons are recorded and streamed, for free, to anyone in the world who wants to learn more about Jesus and love more like Jesus loves. You’ll also help translate study materials, equip church planters and evangelists, and plant churches in the United States and around the world.

The 30th is just two weeks away. Please pray for us so that we’ll know God’s will as we plan for next year. And consider making a gift at marshill.com/give.

Gratefully,

Pastor Sutton Turner


Copyright © 2014 Mars Hill Church, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up for updates from MarsHill.com

Our mailing address is:
Mars Hill Church
1411 NW 50th St.
Seattle, WA 98107

-----

Third email, June 26, subject Fiscal Year Ends on Monday, June 30:


Fiscal Year Ends on Monday, June 30

Family,
Just a quick reminder that Mars Hill Church’s fiscal year ends at midnight, June 30th. It’s important that we end the year financially strong, so I hope you’ll make a special gift before Monday at midnight.

Your gift to the Mars Hill Global Family helps equip church planters, translate study materials, distribute Bibles, and plant churches in Phoenix, Tacoma, Albuquerque, Ethiopia, India, and to the ends of the earth. You also make sure Pastor Mark’s sermons are available online to anyone in the world.

With your help, more churches will be planted, more pastors will be sent out, and more people will be saved by Jesus Christ.

But I need to hear from you by midnight on Monday night. Please go to marshill.com/give.

Thank you. With your help, more people will learn about Jesus and love like Jesus loves!

Gratefully,

Pastor Sutton Turner


Copyright © 2014 Mars Hill Church, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up for updates from MarsHill.com

Our mailing address is:
Mars Hill Church
1411 NW 50th St.
Seattle, WA 98107

LeslieBetz said...

not sure if you want the text of the fourth email at this point, but I'll be curious to see if this is the last email I get until the next fiscal year end.