Years ago, when Wenatchee The Hatchet commented on the announced shift from "campus" to "church" it seemed like a distinction without a difference. It was another case of Mars Hill yet again seeming to be a denomination in the closet.
However, WtH was considering the local campus functionality as an end unto itself, not the significance of treating each individual Mars Hill site as an independent church in terms of finances or membership in Acts 29.
So props to commenter Mike over at Warren Throckmorton's blog has brought up something in a recent post at WT's blog that seems worth quoting.
In many ways this was an attempt to avoid diligently fulfilling Mars Hill's frequent promise to tithe 10% of giving to church planting. Easy to find many places, but here's one from 2008: https://marshill.com/2008/06/2...
In August 2011 Jamie Munson announced via The City that Mars Hill campuses were being re-branded as individual churches It was not mentioned that they would actually individually belong to the Acts 29 network. As a member at the time this sounded good and correlated with what Driscoll said here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... which also sounded good. Deceitfully though, this shift allowed MH to spend their 10% internally on new location plants rather than giving outside the organization.
If new locations are considered individual churches, then the expenditures from setting them up were fair game to gobble up the 10% proclaimed to be used for church planting. The Global Fund strategy further dug into this idea as a way to convince donors that MH was mission minded, while in reality the mission was building an empire. Being cool simply cost too much money to give anything to other churches. And, even if you didn't attend Mars Hill church locally, you were a potential source of revenue once MH could convince you that it was "helping the helpless."
The video mentioned above also mentions church strategy that is hugely different than what we've seen play out. Clearly, Mars Hill Churches are not stand alone. They are not autonomous. It seems like Driscoll and the leadership shifted from the idea of local lead pastors preaching 25% of the time sometime in 2011. That shift was not really made public, but was a massive change in strategy. Not long after that Mark stepped down from leading Acts 29, and also resigned from the Gospel Coalition.
Wenatchee differs a bit on some matters of interpretation but the March 2012 Turner memo seems to reflect a train of thought that giving to Acts 29 was "not sustainable" without explanation while it was also established that this was the period around which Global was considered a "sleeping giant". Nixing A29 giving from MH as not sustainable seems crazy if there were actual considerations of the mission of Mars Hill and Acts 29 (i.e. church planting) given primary consideration. But if the decision was fueled by desperation or ambition surrounding the bottom line then it might make sense, at least to someone with a bottom line mentality.