Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Throckmorton: Bruskas has recently sounded off on Strange Fire, Result Source and other stuff


There's a video and about 2:15 Bruskas described himself as having been part of a leadership culture that was "heavy handed and domineering".   He also described these problems as still being within the community (though the audio is a bit muffled). 

Throckmorton notes in the reent post Bruskas describes regretting participation in the Strange Fire stunt.  That Bruskas was at the Strange Fire stunt Driscoll seemed to spearhead has been documented generously via social media and if you want a synopsis of that ... there's a post here:


Last Wenatchee can readily recall discussing things at much length in connection with Bruskas would have been ...


The time Bruskas told leaders "we need your help" facing down a layoff season days after Driscolls finalized buying a million-dollar home in Snohomish county. 

Throckmorton's recent post adds some new elements to consider about what Bruskas may or may not have been in a position to know in 2011 when Real Marriage was getting drafted and RSI was being contacted.

For himself the three things he felt grieved about were the New York Times best-seller scam, the Strange Fire conference, and the performance driven culture of ministry.

Bruskas said he was a new executive elder in 2011 who was informed about the ResultSource contract by Jamie Munson in a car ride to work one morning. He asked if the approach had integrity and was financially feasible. Bruskas said Munson answered yes to both. After that, according to Bruskas, he didn’t ask any more questions.

Bruskas disclosed to friends that he was going to take the #2 position at Mars Hill in July 2011. That was about a month after Mark and Grace Driscoll and their agent Sealy Yates met at Thomas Nelson to discuss the ResultSource approach to scamming the best-seller list.  This June 27, 2011 note from Sealy Yates to Kevin Small was included in a Mars Hill memo on the ResultSource-Real Marriage campaign.

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/12/16/mars-hill-church-executive-elder-dave-bruskas-on-mark-driscoll-nyts-best-seller-list-strange-fire-and-more/#ixzz3M7cQyLS9
Of particular note ...


There's a partial correspondence Throckmorton quotes from regarding Jamie Munson interacting with the Mars Hill Board about Result Source.  Throckmorton has lately asked who might have been on that board.  Well, absolutely not Rick Melson, though Rick Melson had a role at Mars Hill.

Long ago before it was scrubbed from something like a LinkedIn Profile it was said of Melson that:

President/Campus Network Director
Resurgence/Mars Hill Church
January 2009– June 2010 (1 year 6 months)

And it couldn't have been Tim Beltz, who stopped being an executive leader in 2010.

Executive Pastor
Mars Hill Church
October 2007 – November 2010 (3 years 2 months)|Greater Seattle Area

So if Melson and Beltz were both gone by the middle of 2010 who was still on the executive team? The accounts about and by Sutton Turner about his joining executive leadership raise some questions about whether he ever intended to become an executive elder at Mars Hill.


Turner was brought on during a period in which Munson was still an executive elder and president. Driscoll was technically vice-president and while Turner was on the executive team he was not yet an elder.  It was conceivable that during this time to ensure the bare minimum of three executive elders required at the time that Dave Bruskas may have been added, whether by invitation or self-nomination.  Given the pattern of men who played roles in acquiring real estate landing prestigious jobs at Mars Hill Bruskas' possible role in getting City on a Hill in Albuquerque to Mars Hill in 2009 may or may not have been part of a possible pattern.  Driscoll had expressed some interest from the pulpit in the New Mexico site being a hub for further interstate expansion in 2009.


As preserved at the above post there's some indication that the summer of 2011 was when Bruskas transitioned out.

a quick note about Dave Bruskas

August 16, 2011

Mike DeLong

Yes, Dave Bruskas, now-former pastor of City On A Hill (now Mars Hill Albuquerque) has apparently [link] left Mars Hill Albuquerque for a position in the Seattle area [link]. The transition was apparently an amicable one [link], although I have not seen an official announcement for those of us outside the Mars Hill Church circle of light, etc. We wish the Bruskas family all the best in their new situation.
So summer of 2011 seems to match up across the board.  With Turner on the executive team but not yet installed as an elder and with there having been just Munson and Driscoll as official executive elders it's not clear even to Wenatchee The Hatchet whether between November 2010 and August 2011 there were the bare minimum three executive elders required by the by-laws Jamie Munson drafted.  Was Scott Thomas still in executive eldership in 2011, possibly?  Wenatchee The Hatchet can't recall him being on the executive leadership side of things in MH in 2011, though he had a significant role in Acts 29.

The excerpt published by Throckmorton involving Yates and Small is interesting not just because it raises a question as to who the full roster of executive elders would have been in June 2011 when Rick Melson and Tim Beltz were both definitively out of executive eldership, leaving open the question of who the third executive elder required by the bylaws would have been if it wasn't Sutton Turner (yet).  There might have been some executive elder in there for the third slot Wenatchee The Hatchet just forgot about.

And it all makes it seems as though RSI was more connected to Thomas Nelson and BOTH Driscolls than a reader might have previously imagined.  "The Driscolls and I" leaves little doubt that Grace seemed to be involved, too.  By "The Driscolls" it seems a reasonable guess to refer to just Mark and Grace Driscoll.  One Rick Sprull is described as agreeing to work with Mars Hill and Result Source to make the campaign work. 

There's a question lurking in the paragraph quoted by Throckmorton and it has to do with Jamie Munson.  Since Munson was in 2011 still the legal president of Mars Hill based on the bylaws that were voted through in 2007 it would make sense that Munson would have necessarily played an active role in dealing with Result Source and in discussing the viability of using Result Source on a Driscoll book with boards at Mars Hill in 2011.  And yet ... let's revisit something in a memo credited to Sutton Turner from March 17, 2012.


One of the greatest and most harmful events was Pastor Jamie resigning and leaving me in this job as

General Manager/Executive Elder. From early June until he resigned in August, he had basically checked

out. So I had less than 6 weeks as General Manager before becoming #1 King without being an Elder.

Then finally in November, I was made an Executive Pastor without have any creditability with the staff.

This single fact hindered my ability to really even understand the organization or the people, much less

see the problems as they had existed for a long time.

How was this "basically checked out" possible if in the midst of the summer of 2011 Munson has been described as talking with the Mars Hill board about the viability of the Result Source Inc deal?   If by "checked out" the reference was to the ordinary operating processes of the corporation known as Mars Hill was there evidence?  Or was "checked out" something that has to be modified by our increasing awareness that Munson played a role in the Result Source deal? 

And if Thomas Nelson people were meeting with the Driscolls and with Kevin Small of Result Source then ... how much disavowal from the publisher holds up?  If a paragraph of correspondence suggests Thomas Nelson people agreed to work with Result Source people then it doesn't seem to matter if it wasn't the idea of someone at Nelson if they at some point agreed to go along with the idea, does it?

And for those who don't recall, the book that came to be known as Real Marriage had been incubating since at least as far back as later 2010.

For those who didn't spot this, way back in January 2011 Driscoll tweeted the following:
Talking w/Grace about our book. Big idea God has hit me with is that marriage is about being a best friend so that's my top goal for 2011

And even earlier:
Grace & I are writing re sex & marriage is making progress. With the 2 publisher finalists in town. Title is unsettled - Your Best Wife Now?          

So based on the late 2010 tweet the Driscolls had narrowed the publishers down to two finalists and Driscoll cracked a joke about a working title.  Two finalists by December 6, 2010.  According to the statement by the MH BoAA this year ...


In 2011, outside counsel advised our marketing team to use Result Source to market the Real Marriage book and attain placement on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Of possible interest for the incubation of Real Marriage may be cross-referencing the Result Source collaboration with the financial instrument developed to purchase a million dollar home in Snohomish County.


Let's review the chronology in its bare bones.  It seems we've learned that BOTH Driscolls had to have known about the RSI deal by at least June 27 2011.  By this time On Mission LLC had been incorporated in Colorado in January 2011. The financial instrument Future Hope Revocable Living Trust was created in February 2011 according to the deed of the house in Woodway purchased May 2012. So in December 2010 the two publisher finalists had been chosen.  In January 2011 the side company to manage book royalties was incorporated in Colorado.  In February 2011 the financial instrument that was used to buy the Woodway house got created.  Some time in 2011 "outside counsel" advised RSI and by the end of 2011 the deal was inked.  The rest was history.

At the moment what's not clear to Wenatchee The Hatchet is who the third executive elder from November 2010 to June 2011 would have been.  If Bruskas was on board as an executive elder in August 2011 he wasn't on the executive team yet and yet there's no clear documentation as to who the necessary third executive elder would have been.  We know Driscoll and Munson were there but perhaps alert readers can explain who the third executive elder at Mars Hill was from the months of November 2010 through July 2011 was?  Even Wenatchee The Hatchet forgets stuff.   If Bruskas became an executive elder some time in August 2011 then his connection to RSI and knowledge of it may have been minimal if it was Munson and/or Turner doing a lot of the meeting.  But if Bruskas wasn't on the scene in the executive eldership yet in June 2011 and Sutton Turner was in the executive leader circle but not yet an elder there needed to be a third man.


C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

re: Bruskas' troubled conscience

I wouldn't send anyone to a church where Bruskas was in a leadership position.

BTW, inklingbooks commenting on this Throckmorton thread was a member at Ballard for a few years. There is some history with inklingbooks and the Driscoll extended family that even Driscoll wouldn't know about. It is deeply ironic that inklingbooks would be attending MHC. Last time inklingbooks came into contact with extended family was the Bruce Waltke lecture on Proverbs early 80s at QueenAnn pres church. I was there. Gib Martin was their. Rev. Martin didn't recognise inklingbooks which was good because he would have had coronary.

C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Bruce Waltke lecture on Proverbs early 90s