Friday, November 29, 2013

Resurgence Publishing, the for-profit branch of Mars Hill executive elder activity

One of the details that should be highlighted in the wake of Janet Mefferd's interview with Mark Driscoll is one that could be missed, that not everything published in association with Mars Hill Church executive orders is really non-profit activity.  The Trial booklet, for instance, was published through Mars Hill Church and the copyright is owned by Mars Hill Church even though Mark Driscoll's name is on it.  It would appear to be that normally and traditionally works published by pastors through a church would be the intellectual property of the church.  This is not necessarily the case at Mars Hill Church.

And there's apparently a reason for this, which is that Resurgence Publishing, Inc is simply not registered as a non-profit.  Observe:
UBI Number 603207560
Category                      REG
Profit/Nonprofit           Profit
Active/Inactive            Active
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date           05/17/2012
Expiration Date           05/31/2014
Inactive Date 
Duration                       Perpetual
Agent Name                 JOHN SUTTON TURNER 
Address                        1411 NW 50TH STREET
City                              SEATTLE 
State                             WA
ZIP                               98107 


1411 NW 50TH ST
SEATTLE , WA 98107 

So that means that when you buy a book through The Resurgence store over here, you're probably buying a book with a copyright owned by the author and not the church said author might be a pastor at.

Let's take a look at some for-instances,  Darrin Patrick's book Church Planter, copyright owned by Darrin Patrick.  Then there's Community, by Brad House, who also owns the copyright to his book. Or Redemption, by Mike Wilkerson, who owns the copyright of the book. How about Scandalous, by D. A. Carson with a copyright owned by (no surprise) D. A. Carson?

Maybe that's because that's what we'd expect from a for-profit publishing company. The Resurgence is a for-profit corporation run by John Sutton Turner, an executive pastor at Mars Hill Church, its secretary and treasurer, and also, as shown above, the president, secretary, treasurer and chairman of The Resurgence.  That's a lot of formal titles and power centralized into a single person, a man who is the treasurer and secretary and who, by his own account, handles all the administrative responsibilities and decisions Mark Driscoll doesn't want to have to bother with on the one hand and, on the other, who has all the governing roles of the for-profit publishing arm developed by Mars Hill.  It's still fascinating how after all the public talk about kingly gifts and Sutton Turner that he's secretary and treasurer of Mars Hill while Driscoll is the president.  Let's not forget that when Driscoll described passing the presidency of Mars Hill to Jamie Munson back in an early 2008 presentation he said

"Jamie Munson is head of the elder board. Jamie Munson is executive pastor. He is legal president of the organization. And for me, to be honest, it was the most freeing, liberating thing I could have dreamed of because now I don't have all that conflict of interest. I can be friends with someone but I don't have to fire them, do their performance review, and decide how much they get paid. It's just too conflicting for me." 
So at this point we have to surmise that Mark Driscoll being legal president of Mars Hill Church doesn't involve all that conflict of interest.  Would Driscoll be open to publicly explaining what those conflicts of interest were when he was president up through late 2007?  Let's take a brief aside to consult a definition of what a conflict of interest is. Or here, for something short and simple.

At any rate, Turner is certainly the formal and practical head of The Resurgence, and Resurgence Publishing, Inc is a for-profit corporation.  A weekend research project, if you like, could be to look at how many books Driscoll and other pastors at Mars Hill have published to look at who owns the copyright, the church or the pastor. 

So there you go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How is it that these "pastors" are or were on salary, wrote their books 'on company time' so to speak, using company equipment and staff, and yet the company does not own the copyrights?

And if they were not writing their books on company time, then what were they doing?