Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Warren Throckmorton publishes March 2012 memo on Mars Hill in financial trouble: part 3 "... Mars Hill has a culture of entitlement."

Executive Elders
Current Financial Situation
Saturday, March 17, 2012

It is my belief that the reason we have such poor giving by our Church is the lack of stewardship in the Church staff. Churches with excellent stewardship see greater giving because people know that every dollar they give will go towards the mission of the Church. It is very clear this has not been the case at Mars Hill Church.

Secondly, Mars Hill has a culture of entitlement. This goes back to the beginning when church staff was poorly paid. When a staff is poorly paid, leaders feel convicted that they are not rewarding staff for their work. So the leaders then take the church credit card and give additional benefits to the underpaid staff. As this buying staff "presents" and "rewards" became the environment, people began to feel entitled to buy things on the church credit cards for others. This culture has grown and is the predominant culture within Mars Hill Church.

There's almost nothing, really, to add to that set of statements.

But Wenatchee The Hatchet shared with someone in Mars Hill leadership in later 2008 that he had a concern, the pastors and leaders at Mars Hill made quite a point of warning against consumerism on the part of the rank and file while in reality it seemed the biggest risk was a growing culture of consumerism on the part of the leadership toward the congregation, like the leaders would get this idea and the congregation was just supposed to pony up.  Having bitterly discovered that the up-for-sale real estate that became Mars Hill corporate headquarters was bought without the elders having bothered to look carefully into zoning and land use issues before spending $1.5 million, Wenatchee got a nagging sense that the elders couldn't have gotten into that snafu without some overconfidence about how "Jesus will build His church" regardless of whether or not a certain thing was observably a good idea.

Churches (and other non-profits) that have a strong donor base "can" tend to have that because they can demonstrate the money goes to effective causes.  At this stage Mars Hill leadership may not want to reveal where all the money has gone.  If even among executive leadership there was some concern about a sense of entitlement on the part of the leadership culture that might retroactively cast light on the whole point of the film God's Work, Our Witness, which built up to Driscoll gently chiding the entirety of Mars Hill for sucking at giving.  The March 2012 memo, by contrast, seems to imply that the entire film production process and finished project were "unsustainable" and that it was one of a variety of kinds of projects taken up by Mars Hill leadership that contributed to the financial mess.

And yet ... Turner signed the Result Source contract in October 2011.  To this day no one on the Board of Advisors and Accountability has displayed any interest in stating who the "outside counsel" was that came up with that idea.  Was that outside counsel given freely ... or was it paid advice?  That, too, might be a question for regular members to ask.

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