Friday, October 31, 2014

Bruskas announces corporation known as Mars Hill Church dissolving

Back on October 17, 2014 Wenatchee The Hatchet took some time to look not at Mark Driscoll's resignation as such but at what Mark Driscoll's act of vacating the legal office of president for the corporation amidst a financial crisis might entail of the remaining organization.  After all, if the president and the secretary both bailed within a short span the way Sutton Turner and Mark Driscoll did and if the finances were spiraling down the drain how might the BoAA be empowered to respond?


Section 7.16. Powers
In addition to those powers required to be exercised by the board of advisors & accoutnability under the Act, the board of advisors & accountability possesses the following enumerated powers:

(a) Alter, amend, or repeal and adopt new Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws;
(b) Oversee an evaluation of the performance of the executive elder team and approve the annual compensation for each member of the executive elder team;
(c) Appoint, retain, compensate, evaluate and terminate the Church's independent auditors;
(d) Establish the annual budget for the Church;
(e) Alter, amend, or repeal and adopt a new Conflict of Interest Policy for the Church;
(f) Indemnify an officer (or former officer), or make any other indemnification other than as authorized in the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws in accordance with the Act;
(g) Adopt a plan of merger or adopt a plan of consolidation with another corporation;
(h) Authorize the sale, lease, or exchange of all or substantially all of the property and assets of the Church not in the ordinary course of business;

(i) Authorize the voluntary dissolution of the Church or revoke proceedings therefor;
(j) Adopt a plan for the distribution of the assets of the Church; or
(k) Make a material tax election under the INternal Revenue Code affecting the Church.

Any power not reserved for the full council of elders pursuant to Section 6.9 or the board of advisors & accountability pursuant to this Section 7.16 shall be reserved for and be decided by the executive elder team.

What seemed to happen in the last couple of months was Mars Hill put four pieces of real estate on the market.  Given that the president and secretary of Mars Hill had been no-shows in that season of sale the only way the activity of Mars Hill could be explained within the bylaws on record was that the BoAA might have been exercising some emergency powers.  And if the BoAA was authorizing sale of four pieces of real estate then the question of when, rather than if, the BoAA would also authorize was floating in the air.

Or at least it was.

By: Pastor Dave Bruskas
Posted: Oct 31, 2014

Mars Hill,
Historically, our mission has always been clear - to make disciples and plant churches. In keeping with that mission you have always been excited about new life and new birth. Last week I shared three values that are the driving goals during this transition period at Mars Hill.
Today, I am excited to share with you important decisions recently made about the future of the congregations of Mars Hill Church that we believe will work to accomplish these goals.
Following much prayer and lengthy discussion with Mars Hill’s leadership, the board of Mars Hill has concluded that rather than remaining a centralized multi-site church with video-led teaching distributed to multiple locations, the best future for each of our existing local churches is for them to become autonomous self-governed entities. This means that each of our locations has an opportunity to become a new church, rooted in the best of what Mars Hill has been in the past, and independently led and run by its own local elder teams.
We recognize this reorganization plan is a significant and complex undertaking on many fronts; however, our goal is to have the process completed by January 1st, 2015.

Local Decisions

Please be in prayer for your local elder teams as they contemplate the following options in the next few weeks: (1) becoming an independent, self-governed church; (2) merging with an existing church to create one independent, self-governed church; or (3) disbanding as a church and shepherding current members to find other local church homes. This decision will be made by your local church’s Lead Pastor and elder team.

Local Churches

The decision to plant independent, self-governed churches has significant ramifications for the existing Mars Hill Church entity. Our central staff members, who have served and labored so faithfully, have already begun work on establishing many of the details to enact this plan, under the following general priorities:
(1) All of Mars Hill’s existing church properties will either be sold, or the loans on the individual properties will be assumed by the independent churches, subject to approval by the lender; (2) all central staff will be compensated for their work, and then released from their employment; (3) if any funds remain after the winding down and satisfaction of Mars Hill business affairs, they will be gifted as seed money to the newly independent churches, then, (4) the existing Mars Hill Church organization will be dissolved.
Ultimately, the success of this plan, and the future viability of each of these new local churches rest solely on all of us continuing to be faithful in supporting Jesus’ mission through our attendance and continued giving.

Local Mission

Mars Hill Church has never been about a building or even an organization. Mars Hill is a people on mission with Jesus, and that singular focus continues as these newly independent churches are launched. It’s still all about Jesus!
As you consider next steps for you and your family, let me encourage you to join us in three critical pursuits:
  1. Stay with your church family as we embark on a new expression of the same mission.  
  2. Pray for Jesus to be honored in everything we do as we begin this season of transition.
  3. Give generously, as your gifts in November and December of this year will make a critically important difference in our desire for 13 churches being healthy and sustainable from launch-day and thereafter.
Thank you so much for your prayers and patience with us as we work out the details of this transition. We are thankful that God has a plan that is bigger than we can imagine and we are thankful that he has always been in control of our future. It has always been his mission, and he still has work for each of us to do–for his glory and our good.
Pastor Dave Bruskas

This decision must no doubt be difficult but in light of the circumstances was probably one of the only options.  This might explain Justin Dean explaining to Throckmorton that Mars Hill did not plan to file for bankruptcy.  Why file bankruptcy for the corporation if the plan all along may have been to dissolve the corporation? 

For those who were never inside Mars Hill it would be difficult, though not impossible, to explain how Mars Hill went from a small church with a an elder-led government system to the megachurch that became a multi-site venue.  In ten years Mark Driscoll managed to become pretty much everything he preached against from the pulpit circa 2000-2004.  How and why this happened may be explored and unpacked later on.  Whether the individual churches that have been constituents of Mars Hill can survive remains to be seen.  A number of them may and we'll just have to see.

But Mars Hill Global is still a morass of unanswered questions; the report by the BoE regarding Driscoll's sin isn't necessarily published or complete and this will need to be addressed since the more that comes to light the more it seems that Mars Hill leadership is mixed on whether Driscoll is fit for ministry; Mars Hill has still made no statement of apology to those who in the initial wake of Mefferd's plagiarism accusations were passive aggressively made scapegoats over plagiarism that had only Mark Driscoll's name on it; and the fact that Mark Driscoll was allowed to resign his membership from the church rather than deal with Driscoll the way Mars Hill dealt with Andrew Lamb reveals that the Mars Hill leadership culture has a cloud over it, the cloud of double standards and preferential treatment regarding leaders.  If Mars Hill no longer exists then the constituent churches that survive the dissolution of the corporation need to be exceptionally wary about the leadership cultures that evolve in the wake of the dissolution.

And while Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner have abandoned Mars Hill they cannot escape their words and actions within Mars Hill as their legacy. 


Those who have wondered whether Driscoll might head down to California might want to remember that the Orange County eviction involves claims that the executive elders in 2012 (which would have included Driscoll and Turner) KNEW of zoning issues and allegedly played chicken with a city on ordinances.  Driscoll might not want to go near California for a while. 

It's not clear whether Driscoll and Turner will even stay in the state at this point, in the long run.  California is probably not a good place of refuge with the 2012 Orange County eviction situation having been broached in public, particularly with claims that the executive elders (i.e. including Driscoll and Turner) knew there were ordinance issues but were claimed to be willing to play chicken over eviction.  But Driscoll's appearance at a Texas conference ... well ... maybe Driscoll might move east.  But, of course, no one knows what the future holds.  Still, after the OC eviction debacle and the unanswered questions it seems imprudent for Driscoll to get near OC.


James 5:16 said...

WtH, that last line gave me chills. Happy Reformation day!

Anonymous said...


I was a member of North Coast Church (NCC) lead by Larry Osborne as head pastor. My wife and I attended from 2006-09. I think a serious missing link in the Driscoll narrative is how much Osborne influenced his philosophy of ministry.

NCC was the national pioneer of the multi-site church. Much of the reasons why this happened were random and organic, owing to NCC's (former) limited space. However with the success of their multi-site model, and the ensuing explosive growth of NCC, Osborne gained a national platform as he touted the multi site model as a new way of doing church.

Driscoll's narrative of changing MHC's structure in '07, along with the firings of Meyer and Ptery make a great deal of sense when Osborne's influence is factored in. MHC essentially adopted NCC's model, and interposed its terminology (BOAA, Executive Elders, BOE) on what was NCC's ecclesial structure, much to the protest of some (e.g. Meyer Ptery).

I could elaborate more if that would be helpful. I would also echo the sentiments of some in saying Driscoll's next move may be to CA. Don't be surprised if it part of Osborne's church for at least a while

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

that would be helpful, jed, thanks. It brings to mind how at the close of Confessions of a Reformission Rev Driscoll mentioned that a conversation with Osborne seemed to force Driscoll to rethink his entire approach to his ministry and the development of the church, which might be something WtH will have to revisit.

But for this weekend, at least, we're revisiting the 2008 spiritual warfare series, at least in posts. However, additional clarification on the Osborne/Driscoll history is welcome.