Thursday, August 25, 2016

RICO suit against Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner dismissed without prejudice--mentions that in 2012 he sought to meet with former MH people from 2007 but was denied permission to do so.

Turner has posted an update on the recently dismissed RICO suit

http://investyourgifts.com/dismissed-whats-next/

For those who were concerned about the Global fund, Turner has published the following:
...

Mars Hill Global began in 2009 to raise money from the global audience (those who listened via podcast) to help fund the mission of Mars Hill Church: “Making Disciples and Planting Churches.” Until late 2011, Mars Hill had not significantly funded international church planting but was heavily invested in US church planting. From 2009 to 2012, Mars Hill spent $8.6M in U.S. church planting and $170k outside of the U.S.

When I joined Mars Hill in 2011, I built relationships with the Kale Hewyott Church in Ethiopia to train church planters there. My passion for Ethiopia (which existed before I arrived at Mars Hill) began to dominate the message of Mars Hill Global. In hindsight, I see how many believed that the only reason Mars Hill Global existed was to fund Ethiopian church planting.

As I've written a few times in the past, from the Munson period there was a pretty clear explanation of what Mars Hill Global was for and that it could be for anything connected to Mars Hill global expansion as, for want of a better term, a brand or organization.  Unfortunately, the sermon in which Mark Driscoll most explicitly articulated that vision from the Peter series never got transcribed and the sermon got pulled down after a while. 

Turner explains a bit more as follows: [linkage removed, emphasis original]

When I joined Mars Hill in 2011, I built relationships with the Kale Hewyott Church in Ethiopia to train church planters there. My passion for Ethiopia (which existed before I arrived at Mars Hill) began to dominate the message of Mars Hill Global. In hindsight, I see how many believed that the only reason Mars Hill Global existed was to fund Ethiopian church planting.

When people started to question the distribution of funds given to Mars Hill Global, the church brought in ECFA and independent auditors, Clark Nuber. Both groups gave Mars Hill a clear opinion that the church had done nothing wrong. In spite of these findings, we felt led to send 3765 emails and 6000 letters to 100% of donors to Mars Hill Global from 2011 to 2014 to clarify their gift intent. Less than 40 families responded; Mars Hill Church sent an additional $40,000 to Ethiopia because donors requested their donations to Mars Hill Global be for Ethiopian church planting.

A full and total timeline from 2009 to 2014 with videos, blogs and other information is stored here.
From 2012 to 2014, Mars Hill Church spent $13.7M in church planting in the US and sent $545k to Ethiopia and India. During its existence, Mars Hill Church invested over $23M in church planting in the US and around the world. This amount is over and above the general and administrative costs of Mars Hill Church’s central operations and staffing. (47% of the funds given to Mars Hill Global from 2012-2014 were large donations from a small number of donors who specifically asked prior to giving for their donations to be counted in Global.  Many of these donors did not attend one specific Mars Hill location and wanted their donations supporting all Mars Hill operations including U.S. and international church planting.)

Many have asked for these numbers. There was I time when I was restricted from providing these numbers. Now, everyone has the Mars Hill Global information that I had when I resigned in September 2014 (Eph. 5:13).
Once Mars Hill Church/Mars Hill Fellowship became inactive as a corporation ...

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2016/03/mars-hill-church-corporation-listed-as.html
https://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=601677819
MARS HILL CHURCH
UBI Number 601677819
Category REG
Profit/Nonprofit Nonprofit
Active/Inactive Inactive
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date 12/22/1995
Expiration Date 12/31/2016
Inactive Date 03/24/2016

it seemed like it would be a matter of time before Turner presented some general numbers.  I'd wondered whether the hesitation to discuss and then keep numbers up for public consideration had a connection to the active status of the corporation. 

We'll skip over the compensation parts for the time being.  There's something else Turner mentions that's worth quoting:
...
Many staff heard me say during my tenure, “It is a miracle this church still exists.” Jesus was saving people and growing the church in spite of issues with organizational structure, dissension within the staff, and dissension with former members. A 2007 bylaw change had split the church. The issues that led to that bylaw change and its implementation heavily impacted the culture of Mars Hill. In 2012, I asked permission to meet with those directly affected by the events of 2007; permission was denied. Those events in 2007 had unfortunately begun the cycle of distrust and a lack of transparency. [emphasis added] One fed upon the other to build an unhealthy culture.

The Result Source contract decision was made within the context of this successful, but unhealthy church. As I have stated before, I was not a part of that decision making process back in the summer of 2011. Because of the Result Source mistake along with other cultural issues, Pastor Dave Bruskas and I began to campaign for greater outside accountability. I wrote two long blogs about the resulting new board (Result Source 2 & Result Source 3). This new Board decided to never use Result Source again and rightfully so.

For those who didn't instantly catch the import of the bolded section, Sutton Turner stated that he asked permission in 2012 to meet with those people directly affected (effected?) by the events of the 2007 re-org but permission was denied.  By who?  Based on the by-laws that were in place the only person who seems could have outranked Sutton Turner as a legal officer would have been Mark Driscoll himself.  It's a little difficult to imagine Dave Bruskas forbidding such a thing, in any case, because Bruskas wasn't even a part of Mars Hill in 2007.  Since Bruskas couldn't have plausibly had any material interest in forbidding Sutton Turner from meeting with former members and staff and since no one else seems to have been higher up the hierarchy than Turner, it seems that either one person above Turner insisted that he not speak to former members or the Board forbade it.  But none of that explains why whoever outranked Turner would have done so.

Remember this comment Driscoll made in 2014?

http://web.archive.org/web/20141031232443/https://marshill.com/2014/07/21/the-weekly-7-21-14
https://gist.githubusercontent.com/anonymous/b1dd5d1b6b3a14b6e7f3/raw/6c9dfc093dda78bb1a6b7ae29a9909045ad2a9e3/MHMW20140718

Mark Driscoll from a video statement July 21, 2014

"If I’m real honest with you, at first it was just a little overwhelming and a bit confusing. We, and I were not exactly sure what was happening and so it took a little while to sort that out... As well, one of the things that has been complex is the fact that a lot of the people that we are dealing with in this season remain anonymous. And so we don’t know how to reconcile, or how to work things out with, with people because we’re not entirely sure who they are [emphasis added], and so that has, that has made things a little more complex and difficult as well."

And yet this very day, Sutton Turner published, "In 2012, I asked permission to meet with those directly affected by the events of 2007; permission was denied." How could Turner have been denied permission to contact people from the 2007 debacle if, according to Mark Driscoll in 2014, they weren't sure who was trying to meet with them to reconcile with them.  Based on Turner's account published today, it seems that when someone from the Mars Hill side proposed meeting with former MH people he was denied permission to do so from within the Mars Hill side.  For those not already familiar with the officers listed for Mars Hill circa 2012:

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/06/mh-governance-in-2013-and-in-2012.html

Who are the officers of Mars Hill Church?
For state law purposes, Mars Hill has a president, Mark Driscoll; a vice president, Dave Bruskas; and a secretary/treasurer, Sutton Turner. Mars Hill also has a chief financial officer, Kerry Dodd; and a chief legal officer, Chris Pledger.

Of those officers exactly one of them was even at Mars Hill in 2007.  So if Turner has reported things reliably whoever denied him permission to meet with former MH people had to know who they were or at least had to stake out a general principle of forbidding Turner from meeting. 

But if the leaders of Mars Hill Church weren't sure who those people were, according to Mark Driscoll from July 21, 2014, what's the explanation from Team Driscoll as to why, according to Sutton Turner's recent account, he tried to meet with people who were at Mars Hill in 2007 but was denied permission to do so?  You can't forbid someone like Sutton Turner from meeting with people when you're not even sure who they are, can you?

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