For those who heard the interview Justin Dean did with Carey Nieuwhof last month, you might recall Dean mentioning that people at Mars Hill were wanting to know how much Pastor Mark made, and that people on staff were leaking stuff to outsiders. Dean said it didn't seem appropriate for people to be asking how much Mark Driscoll was making.
But there's a context for the curiosity. For instance, take this communication published by Warren Throckmorton back in 2014 of content published near the end of May in 2012:
May 25, 2012 missive from Bruskas:
We Really Need Your HelpFrom Pastor David Bruskas:
From Pastor Dave:
As the final days of putting together a budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 are here, some Lead Pastors are wrestling with the reality of letting a few good people go at the local church level. And some of you have had recent conversations with your Lead Pastor regarding upcoming transitions that have been painful. I understand firsthand how hard it is to let a productive staff member go whom your church loves. I also know how hard it is for the people who have been served well to let staff go without a fight. So that makes Lead Pastors twice as vulnerable. They must face the disappointment of the departing staff member and the disappointment of the church. And much like I would expect any good leader to do, many Lead Pastors are fighting hard to keep staff and avoid cuts creatively and boldly. But we need to let go of that fight at this point. Here are a couple of reasons why.
First, we have, in reality, a single budget for all of our 14 churches. So this means for every cent in exceptions that once church receives above the $10 per adult compensation and ministry operation allotment, another church loses the same amount. So the only way for one church to win is for another church to lose. Second, the cost numbers per adult that Pastor Sutton and the Finance Team have given for targets aren’t arbitrary nor merely guidelines. They are hard targets that have been carefully researched and must be met. And if we don’t live within our means, we won’t just face the loss of future expansion opportunities, we will have to scale back our current ministry services significantly. And in the most dire circumstances, shut down a few of our churches. As of today, we are paying extra fees in financing the costs of existing buildings because of our unattractive financial condition to potential lenders. This must change for us even to be good stewards of what we already have. [emphasis added]
A couple of final thoughts. First, we know this isn’t your fault, but the result of past decisions and practices. And while we will provide you a new and helpful global narrative soon to communicate this really tough news to our members, to be critical of the past means that we have to say things publicly that might hurt good leaders with great intentions who served Mars Hill well. Some of whom are still faithfully serving along side us today. And that to us seems like a losing proposition. We also know that this process has had some starts and stops along with some conflicting information. Please forgive us for that. We are continually receiving new financial information that has caused some hiccups along the way.
Second, these are decisions the Executive Elders are making in unity. We have spent countless hours discussing together both the state of our finances and our present staffing model through face to face meetings, emails, texts and phone calls. We have worked through each of your staff rosters in an attitude of prayer thinking through every angle we could imagine to keep as many people as possible. [emphasis added] We grieve the fact that this cut is deep and results in letting go of some very good people who are performing well and helping the church. We have done the same thing with our central team reducing our costs 40%. It is super painful and we are very sympathetic towards you, your team and your church.
And more than anything, we hurt for those who have lost jobs. We would request that you abide by our spending targets per person. Please respect these decisions by not coming to us individually in the hope that they may be changed. Pastor Sutton and I are happy to clarify anything that is confusing. But we can’t devote any more time to hearing appeals. [emphasis added]
We love you all very much and appreciate your devotion to Jesus and His church in this tough season. We do feel loved and supported by you and hope you feel the same from your Executive Elders.
From Pastor Mark:
These are tough seasons. Personally we love our staff. Pastorally we are concerned for our staff. Practically we grieve for our staff. Professionally we don’t have a choice but to reduce our staff. We simply have to live within our means. [emphasis added] If we reduce staff now we can provide lead time for people to find an option while receiving severance. Had we not done this we would have had to reduce staff without severance this summer. We know this is hard but it is better than the alternative. The various leaders making these decisions across four states have prayed and labored over these tough calls. Your Exec Elders have cut first and deepest. Central is reduced 40% and working double time. We are vacating our offices reducing our staff and in contact nearly every hour every day pulling together and seeking Jesus’ wisdom. Your Executive Pastor Sutton is up at 4am everyday praying for our church. Now is a time for everyone to pray and love a lot. Lastly, without being improper we’ve frankly been through tougher times and deeper cuts before. [emphasis added] After 15 years i can say this is not the worst storm we’ve weathered. We will get through it together by Gods grace. Trust me on this fact.
Without being improper, Driscoll let it be known that Mars Hill had been through rougher times and deeper cuts before. He didn't say what those rougher times or deeper cuts were but it would have been tough to say that times seemed all that rough for Mark Driscoll personally in 2012 on the money side of things. After all ... there was a 400k advance ...
The $400,000 advance (minus agent's commission) based on the contract signed between Thomas Nelson and On Mission, LLC from February 2011.
That was just the overall amount of the advance to be paid throughout the publication timeline of the book, which was published at the start of 2012. That doesn't even count royalties from existing publications.
What's the single most viewed post in the history of this blog? Analytics has been clear about that on this end, and no less than 12,400ish views came up for the following post:
Assorted numbers indicate ...
Pastor Mark's compensation
Housing allowance was $200,000
From August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012 Mark Driscoll gave a total of $46,000 to Mars Hill Church (via On Mission, LLC)
Driscoll's salary of $503,077 was approved in 2012 by the Board of Directors, however, when a budget cut took place in February and Marh 2012 Driscoll voluntarily elected to cut his compensation and finished with a salary rate of $480,769.
So it would seem that a lot of people wanted to know how much Mark Driscoll had been making. It's fairly easy for someone like Justin Dean to talk about how it was inappropriate for people to want to know that stuff but when the executive leadership lectured the masses and told the rank and file that jobs had to be gutted and there was no room for negotiation or begging for mercy; when Driscoll explained that they had to cut people loose in May 2012 because if they didn't they'd end up cutting people loose without even giving them severance, it turns out this was just days after Driscoll bought his house in Woodway. If Justin Dean only framed concerns about Driscoll's compensation in terms of implied nosiness on the part of members or staff without a corresponding attention to the systemic layoffs in early 2012 mixed with executive leadership telling people to not plea for clemency and all this while Mark Driscoll rode a wave of popularity with help from Result Source rigging the NYT bestseller list and then buying a million-dollar home in Snohomish county ... then Justin Dean might have a problem of not wanting to fully appreciate that for people who gave of their time and money it could come off like the executive leadership culture was employing a callous double standard. It's not like we have not since learned a few years past 2012 that even those severance packages had conditional strings attached.