Monday, January 04, 2016

Driscoll marketing strategy doc from 2011 spelled out goal with respect to Real Marriage, "In short, the goal is to sell books around preaching campaigns ... ."
From "Mark and Grace Driscoll Marriage Book Marketing Plans", 2014

... The campaign will begin at Mars Hill Church with invitations to the more than 400 Acts 29 churches Pastor Mark leads in the US alone plus those churches he leads in 12 other nations through Acts 29 as well as an open invitation for any church/ministry in the world to join us. In short, the goal is to sell books around preaching campaigns in a way that has never been done with multiple levels of resourcing and state of the art media technology. ...

The magnitude of that might need some spelling out.  The marketing plan presents Mark Driscoll as if he were somehow, personally, leading 400 churches through Acts 29 and additionally churches in twelve other countries besides the United States.

Let's keep in mind that based on the Acts 29 web presence during July 2011 Mark Driscoll was the "founder and lead visionary" but was not actually president of the organization. He wasn't even one of the vice-presidents or a secretary to Acts 29 in the middle of 2011 when Result Source was being discussed and plans to promote Real Marriage were getting written about. Now to be sure the A29 board came to be at a point where about two thirds of the board consisted of people who had been or were executive leaders at Mars Hill.

Matt Chandler at one point was even talking about how it was sometimes difficult to know where Mars Hill ended and Acts 29 actually began.

But still, on what basis could anyone say that Mark Driscoll was actively or even indirectly leading 400 churches affiliated with Acts 29 in the middle of 2011?  Or even the entire year of 2011?

Now it's worth revisiting some things reported by Warren Throckmorton about when it seems Mars Hill leadership got some idea of what Result Source was and toward end its strategy could be employed.

In June 2011, Kevin Small wrote to then Mars Hill Church executive elder Jamie Munson to provide details about how ResultSource could get Mark Driscoll on the New York Times best-seller list. He gave him the details of what later was reduced to writing in the contract signed by Sutton Turner on behalf of Mars Hill Church.

The marketing strategy lately published here at Wenatchee The Hatchet featured mention that it was desired by the Driscolls that pre-sales be channeled into Acts 29, Mars Hill, and Resurgence in way that would provide incentives for purchases that could count toward the New York Times bestseller list.

Of course we can recall that inside MH leadership there were some concerns raised about the wisdom of the arrangement prior to the contract signing in October 2011.
According to sources aware of the situation, the Mars Hill communications staff raised questions with the executive elders (Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas) about the wisdom of the ResultSource agreement prior to October 2011.  The above memo was written in September 2011, prior to the ResultSource contract dated October 13 and signed by Sutton Turner, apparently on October 17. In May 2014, I posted October 18, 2011 invoices from ResultSource which were addressed  to Mark Driscoll.

[also presented here at]

This document is designed to show the two main questions that will help Pastor Mark decide whether he would like to proceed with the Real marriage giving campaign.  It is one of our goals to serve Pastor Mark the best--we believe in him as a leader and want to increase his influence for the good of the church and the Kingdom.

That wording seems peculiarly passive voice.  There's uses for the passive voice, of course, but the meaning of the wording is hard to escape.  The memo was formulated as seeking to help Driscoll decide whether HE would like to proceed with the Real Marriage giving campaign.  The goal of the team that presented the memo, as stated, was to serve Pastor Mark the best, wishing to increase his influence for the good of the church and the Kingdom, whichever Kingdom was meant may remain open to debate.

Then the questions, already discussed recently, as to the effectiveness of Mars Hill having to foot the bill for 11,000 copies of a book that coud be purchased at a lower cost if purchased by On Mission. 

It's owrth remembering that based on a sermon he gave in the 1 & 2 Peter sermon series, the side company to manage book royalties was something Mark Driscoll explicitly said he had not set up because though pastors did that it was a sign of selfish greed for gain.

Prophets, Priests and Kings
 Trial: 8 witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter
May 3, 2009
1 Peter 5:1-5

... So in all of this, as well, I've had people ask, "So what about the book sales?"  Here's how it works, I didn't start a separate company. One of the ways that guys work this, they become a leader in a church and they have a company on the side and they use the church to funnel business into their side company and I didn't start a side company (like a lot of guys do) for my book writing. Instead I publish under Mars Hill.

So the way it works, I don't get all the money. Mars Hill gets a huge take. Mars Hill gets all the marketing dollars, they get paid by the publishers. Mars Hill gets half of all the royalties so the books that I publish, about 75% of the revenue goes to Mars Hill Church, not me. Not me.  Because I'm worried about this issue, greed, shameful gain. Just using Mars Hill as a platform so I can start a business to rake in massive dollars. I don't think it's a sin for a pastor to get a salary but we're now at the point where the books and the marketing, that a huge portion of my salary is covered by income that I generate.  And, I'll be honest with you, I hope one of my books pops or I get enough books on the shelf, titles in print , I'd love to see the day where I'm basically working for free and that the book sales and royalties and such let me generate enough money for Mars Hill that I can work free of charge. That's my hope and my goal. I don't know if we'll get there but that's what I'm trying to do.
Well, a few years later a side company was set up.  The more documents have been shared the more it begins to look as if a side company got set up, and the church could be construed easily as having been moved in the direction of promoting book sales for a book owned by the pastor's side company. 

It's also worth noting that while Mark Driscoll said he published "under Mars Hill" he registered the copyright for his books to himself and/or his side company that he said he didn't have and hadn't made back in 2009. 

Now back in 2009 perhaps it was possible that Mars Hill got half the royalties and 75% of the revenue went to Mars Hill.  But what about moving forward from 2011?  And who can actually prove whether any of these claims made in 2009 were even the case in 2009?  Anyone? 

The part that sticks out now was the "I hope one of my books pops ... where I'm basically working for free ... "

What working for free by being able to live of f of royalties can sound more altruistic than it might always be.  After all, anyone who can live entirely off of the royalties of books is someone who's capable of being completely independent of any disciplinary overtures taken by a board. 

Taken together it seems that while the memo that raised questions about the wisdom of the Result Source campaign got written, the leadership at Mars Hill ultimately decided to go with the plan.  Initially Mars Hill leadership and PR discussed how it wasn't that unusual, really, within the industry. 

If Driscoll didn't know about the Result Source plan, as has at times been proposed, then why did the mid-summer 2011 marketing strategy stress that pre-sales get channeled into contexts where they could count toward the New York Times bestseller list?  Why would that matter?  The memo with the two questions suggests at least someone inside Mars Hill had questions as to why Mars Hill had to get 11,000 copies for a giving campaign that didn't seem set to net the church much of a net profit. It could all, were it discovered, look sort of like an entire church apparatus being directed to the benefit of an individual.

It does seem to look like that at times, doesn't it?

It does seem to look as though some of the writing suggests that the plan was to channel the resources and technology and people of not just Mars Hill but also Acts 29 and Resurgence toward the sale of a book owned by the kind of side company Mark Driscoll said in 2009 he didn't have and hadn't set up because, well, it kinda sounded like he thought rigging an entire church culture toward promoting and selling  apastor's book was a sign of selfish greed for gain.

Which makes it all the more striking to review the sum of documents associated with the promotion and publication and sale of Real Marriage.


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