Thursday, November 06, 2014

about Dave Bruskas' future, Mars Hill real estate past, and who has gotten what jobs after real estate was acquired

you know ... amidst word that Dave Bruskas will be interim lead while Mars Hill dissolves ...

if Bruskas goes back to New Mexico we might as well raise a question about what Bruskas has ever done in the history of Mars Hill.  Was he the one who got City on a Hill to Mars Hill in 2009?  Then he became an executive elder?  You know, that's gotten Wenatchee The Hatchet thinking.

Let's review elder roles and real estate for a bit.

Paradox, purchased and renovated by Lief Moi in the late 1990s.

Let's skip ahead to Ballard, which was acquired in 2002.

The corporate headquarters was acquired in 2005. 

West Seattle was acquired in 2006 and that acquisition came about through the signatures of Bill Clem and James Noriega.  By Mark Driscoll's account he'd wanted that piece of real estate for ten years and Clem had been tending a wife who was dying of ovarian cancer, while Noriega had come to Christ in 1999 and in 2006 was a newlywed on his second marriage and had a press-documented history of felonies.  For some reason Noriega was greenlit for eldership at Mars Hill when he may not have been ready.  Then again, he was already an elder at Doxa in 2006 and that should raise questions on who was in charge of church planting scout activity in the formative years of Acts 29.  That would have been Mark Driscoll in 2001. 

Bill Clem ended up being lead pastor at Mars Hill Ballard.
James Noriega was put on the Board of Directors and given co-leadership of what became recovery ministries and Redemption Groups.

Tim Beltz was Chief Operations Officer at CRISTA ministries during the period when Mark Driscoll boasted Mars Hill was able to use Schirmer Auditorium completely free of charge. Precisely how this arrangement was brokered has never been explained but it does raise a question about what happened.  Did CRISTA do everything with respect to Mars Hill as a write-off?  It might have been possible but Tim Beltz was installed as an executive elder almost immediately after the 2007 by-laws were passed and Beltz was part of the executive elder team until about 2010 when, for no reasons known at hand, stopped being an executive elder.  Under the pre-2007 bylaws Beltz qualifications for eldership might have been spotty but after the bylaws got voted through he could be instantly assimilated to the highest level of eldership. He was also a consultant during the re-org that involved setting salaries.

In 2007 Lake City/Wedgewood and Downtown were acquired/given soft launches but it's not clear there were any notable people in those acquisitions as yet. 

Mars Hill Eastside was originally The Vine, planted by Jesse Winkler, and was reabsorbed back into Mars Hill. The Vine was planted in 2005 and re-absorbed in 2009. In 2009 City on a Hill was brought in, too. It seems Bruskas was the one who got the church into the fold of Mars Hill and it wasn't long, apparently, before Bruskas became one of the executive elders.  Sutton Turner seemed to be the end point (rather literally as well as figuratively) for an executive elder whose background in real estate acquisition may have been considered a basis for elder qualification.  If so then there may be some evidence (if a bit circumstantial) that elders in the history of Mars Hill may have been selected partly out of concern for elder qualification and partly with some eye toward what kind of real estate they could bring along with them. 

In fact the first acquisition in the history of the multi-site phase of Mars Hill Church in the wake of the 2005 HQ purchase not working out seems to have been West Seattle.  Mark Driscoll has mentioned his credentials as a professional journalist (never mind evidence for that) and as a kind of seer over the years.  What did he see in two guys at an Acts 29 church plant where one guy was facing burn-out tending to a dying wife on the one hand and the other was a relatively new convert fresh into his second marriage?  Did he see two guys eminently qualified to tackle on the challenge of multi-site or ... is it possible he also saw that these two guys needed to literally sign off on giving the real estate he'd always wanted for Mars Hill for a decade to the corporation that was known as Mars Hill Church?  Driscoll then let Noriega get fast-tracked into running what became the biblical counseling department. 

And Bruskas ... Driscoll made no secret his hope for what became Mars Hill Albuquerque would be that it could be a hub for continued church planting and expansion and that he was glad to have Bruskas on the team.  And Bruskas became an executive elder ... Wenatchee forgets the year.  But by 2012 Bruskas was apparently one of the players in 2012's A Call for Reconciliation. Bruskas' assistant (who was also chief of security) was apparently contact for that call, which might be a question all unto itself.  Why did Mars Hill get the idea that having the chief of security fielding responses to the call for reconciliation?  And if Bruskas met with former members what did he have to say to them if they expressed reservations about Mark Driscoll's fitness for ministry?  Did Bruskas ever tell anyone that he considered Mark to be qualified for ministry? 

If Bruskas plans to go back to New Mexico and just pick up where ever he left off ... well ... Bruskas has a few things to answer for, too.  Just because he wasn't the president of Mars Hill like Mark Driscoll was, or its secretary like Sutton Turner was, doesn't mean Bruskas doesn't have some questions that may be coming his way if he makes his way back to the old school grounds. 

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