One of the things that could be easily missed about the March 2012 memo attributed to Sutton Turner by Warren Throckmorton is that if it was really Sutton Turner typing up that memo then Turner may have just put on a great big game face. Why? Well, read this link at your leisure.
Sutton Turner wrote a now defunct post titled "Jesus Just Stepped on the Gas" that was published January 25, 2012.
Yet by March 2012 the memo was sounding an alarm. Even if Turner hadn't gotten a clear sense of how bad the situation was by January 2012 the tone was still remarkably triumphalist, wasn't it?
Anyone remember this post from Turner that was published at WtH?:
From Pastor Sutton Turner:
Greetings, Mars Hill Family!
I hope you’re having a great holiday week with friends, family, and neighbors—living some memories, getting some rest, and making the most of the opportunities God has given you to share and enjoy new life in Jesus. I’m very grateful for the country and the church he has blessed us with.
This week is also the first week of our new budget year and ministry cycle, so I wanted to give you a quick update on how we finished up in fiscal year 2013. Although we did not hit our annual giving target, there is still a lot to celebrate:
· Giving was up 13% over the prior year.
· We kept expenses down and finished the year with a small excess of $100,000.
· We were able to purchase two new buildings in recent months: Tacoma and Everett.
· For the third year in a row we saw over 1,000 people get baptized.
· We launched many key ministries that are off to a smashing start: Mars Hill Students, Mars Hill Music, and Women’s Ministry.
· We supported 43 church planters in Ethiopia and india, as well as five church planters in the United States, with the help of our extended family, Mars Hill Global.
Thank you for giving! Thank you for serving! Thank you for praying! Thank you to all of the Mars Hill faithful who act and care and work together as the body of Christ. God has used your perseverance and sacrifice to position our church in a very healthy state heading into our crucial fall season.
We’re in the best financial health in the history of Mars Hill Church, with ample finance staff, policies, and contingency to ensure good stewardship. [emphasis added]
We’ve got plenty of room to grow, as most of our churches have space to welcome new people to meet Jesus—invite your friends!
We recently accepted a bumper crop of stellar lead pastor residents, men who will serve in local Mars Hill churches over the next year in preparation to go plant new locations sometime in 2014 or 2015.
I’m very encouraged where God has us this summer and I’m very grateful for the people of our church. It’s an honor to serve as your pastor and see the Holy Spirit at work in you.
Keep in mind if you've read the March 2012 memo that Mars Hill Music was dubbed "not sustainable" and yet Driscoll proudly announced a launch for it months later. Note, again, the bullet point for the support of 43 church planters overseas through Mars Hill Global.
Then there's this post about the end of FY2013 and the start of FY2014.
From Pastor Sutton Turner:
Mars Hill Family,
Happy New Year! What a year 2013 was! It was great—and more importantly, our God was great (Psalm 147:5)! He was—and will continue to be—faithful, trustworthy, and generous to us. He is the reason that Mars Hill exists. His name and renown are the desire of our hearts (Isa. 26:8).
Five Official Church Plant Launches
We have much to look forward to and prepare for in 2014—a year we are praying to be our most evangelistic year ever. This Sunday, we will officially launch five new church plants into their new homes. They have been working tirelessly to make these homes ready for this important day, when they open their doors wide to people in the community, who will see the gospel of grace in the person of Christ clearly for the first time—or maybe the 501st time—and repent, be saved, and be baptized.
[picture not particularly necessary]
Christmas Eve was an incredible night. We were able to celebrate Jesus’ birthday with over 9,549 people at our live services. And 5,226 people watched online from Tuesday through Friday of that week. We are now looking forward to Easter 2014, an amazing day of celebration and victory! It will be a day when believers can remember their Savior and non-believers can meet their Savior. Both are important; both are necessary. Mars Hill, we are praying for 25,000 people to attend our live services, and 50,000 to watch online. It’s all about Jesus—he’s alive, he saves, and people need to hear that.
In August, we have the Jesus Festival—an outdoor event in Seattle that will boldly proclaim the name of Jesus and clearly announce the good news of grace. We are praying for a work of the Spirit that would lead many, many people to Jesus that day.
Mars Hill Schools
We also have Mars Hill Schools launching in the fall, as we host Corban University and Western Theological Seminary at Mars Hill Bellevue. We want to see many students of God’s Word become fully trained and equipped for the work of the ministry—no matter what that looks like for their individual calling. We are truly honored to be part of such a significant endeavor in people’s lives.
We are praying for Jesus to do so much more than we can ask, or even think or imagine in 2014 (Eph. 3:20). It’s because of faithful and generous family members that all these things are possible. Through his people, Jesus provides all that we need in order to accomplish all that he has for us.
In the final weeks of 2013, we were asking God to provide $2 million above and beyond our normal tithes and offerings in order to accomplish these exciting endeavors in 2014. Guess what, Mars Hill? HE DID IT! We received $2,991,852 above our budget by December 31! In addition, during December and January, $300,000 was given to the Endowment Fund for Church Planting, which will help us plant more churches in 2014 and, Lord willing, for generations to come.
Thank you, Jesus. And thank you so much for partnering with us as we seek to fulfill the mission of Jesus at Mars Hill Church. You are an invaluable part of what he does here. He is doing innumerable things among our Mars Hill family members and in our cities. We praise and honor him for all that he does through and for us, but . . .
Jesus himself is our inexpressible gift (2 Cor. 9:15). Thank you, Mars Hill, for making it all about him.
Here’s a full report of what Jesus did at Mars Hill Church in 2013.
Because of him,
Executive Elder & Executive Pastor
So if March 2012 featured a Turner who was alarmed at how bad the situation was what righted the boat? Or was the boat ever righted? For that matter, while it's easy for outsiders to surmise Sutton Turner has somehow vanished since he quit Wenatchee The Hatchet has noticed that executive resignations virtually NEVER indicate a formal or even informal departure from Mars Hill.