Mark Driscoll finally made it official: He’s starting a new church in Phoenix. The culmination of a comeback that has been gaining steam over the past year, the former Mars Hill pastor announced the news of The Trinity Church on Monday by email, Twitter and a new website.
In a folksy video on the site, which begins with a “howdy” from Driscoll, the pastor said he and his wife, Grace, sitting by his side, were “hoping, trusting, praying, planning and also a little” — he made a jokey grimace — “worrying about planting a church here.”
But aside from those remarks, there’s no reference to Driscoll’s troubled and controversial history at Mars Hill. Indeed, there’s no direct mention at all of the megachurch he presided over for 18 years in Seattle, until snowballing allegations of plagiarism, emotional abusiveness and misogyny led him to resign in October 2014.
“It’s the elephant in the room,” said Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Pennsylvania’s Grove City College who has diligently chronicled the Mars Hill saga on the Christian website Patheos.
The absence is all the more strange because Trinity’s website lists two other former Mars Hills’ staffers, Andy Girton and Brandon Anderson, as associate pastors of the new church. Their bios also neglect to say where, exactly, they once worked.
For folks who want a snapshot of Girton's early role.
there is currently no sign of Girton on the page for local staff and leadership.
Were you to plug in any random tweet status into Google to find out what Girton's twitter handle might say, you might run into this:
Andy Girton · @AndyGirton. Andy Girton Follower of Jesus, husband of Darlene, daddy to Cole and Reagan, associate pastor of creative and technology @
But if you go to https://twitter.com/AndyGirton now you'll see:
Andy Girton Follower of Jesus, husband of Darlene, daddy to Cole and Reagan.
So the associate pastor part isn't in the description any longer.
Sometimes guys just vanish from ministry roles at churches founded or co-founded by Mark Driscoll. These things are known to happen. What happened is not clear, obviously.
Things at the former Mars Hill Portland seemed to be in some kind of transitional time earlier this year, for instance, but exactly what has been transpiring down there is not yet spelled out, either.
So, for folks who keep tabs on these things, Andy Girton is gone. In the midst of Mark and Grace Driscoll promoting the forthcoming Spirit-Filled Jesus this question about one of the two men who were described as part of local leadership at the start of The Trinity Church might be an interesting question to get an answer to if it seemed possible that an answer could be provided, or would be.