Friday, January 17, 2014

Malachi at MH, part 3: it may not be all about the numbers but ... Driscoll is convinced 2014 will be the biggest year ever

December 01, 2013


Mars Hill, I am convinced, utterly convinced that we are poised for the biggest year we’ve ever had. And we’ve got some great leaders, and I’ve got a great honor today of sharing some of them with you. I want you to see who we’re talking about, and what they’re doing, and where they’re leading. We’ve pulled up their giving. They’re all giving, OK? They’re all serving, they’re all working, they’re all caring, they’re all trying. And you are helping them by giving generously and praying faithfully.
A man that convinced that 2014 will be the biggest year Mars Hill has ever had should start sending numbers to Outreach, right?
By Pastor Mark Driscoll
On September 12th, Outreach magazine will release its annual issue listing the 100 largest and fastest-growing churches in the nation. For the first time in a number of years, you won’t see Mars Hill Church listed.

... We will continue to count things at Mars Hill, such as how many people we have on Sundays, how many people are baptized every year, how many people are in Community Groups, how many elders we have to lovingly lead our people, how many people are giving financially, how many dollars we are bringing in and sending out, how many locations and services we have, etc. But, we will use that data internally for our church and not be publishing it much externally. [emphasis added]

Of course here at Wenatchee The Hatchet the little detail about how the internal numbers attested to numeric decline has been discussed at some length in this blog post over here.  Internal numbers attested to a decline and the publicly available FY2013 annual report attested to a decline in attendance and a basically nominal rise in contracted members of just sixty people, and this despite adding 1,337 members.  It may be prudent from here on out to take whatever the average attendance is in an annual report and whittle the number down by one fifth that total to account for the potential counting of children.

But maybe the "biggest year" could refer to expenses and some kind of forthcoming capital campaign that they need a Capital Development Manager for. 

Malachi at MH, part 2: not counting but spotting the one out of sixty-four

December 01, 2013

Tracking What Leaders Give

Where your treasure is, your heart is. And God looks down and says, “This isn’t just cheap; this is evil.” And it starts with church leaders, and so let me talk real plainly. Many churches don’t even track the giving of the leaders, and then the leaders are encouraging the people to be generous, but nobody’s checking to see if the leaders are generous. I would say that’s evil.

Now, I’m not going through checking every single leader, but I’m making sure that every leader, particularly those on paid staff and eldership, give. Out of the 64 elders, 63 are generous. One, not sure about, we’ll follow up with. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances; something happened. We don’t want to be legalistic about this, but we do want to say, “Before we ask anybody to do anything, we want to make sure that the leaders are setting a good example.”

One out of sixty-four elders, eh?  Not that Driscoll's personally going through checking every single leader, there's probably a department for that. :)

Malachi at Mars Hill, part 1, Driscoll states in 2013 there weren't kids at the start of MHC, in 2006 stated co-founding pastors were good fathers

From a sermon preached by Mark Driscoll. December 01, 2013


Here’s where we’re at: Recently, 10,177 adults in attendance across Mars Hill. Fifteen churches, five states. We count people because people count. We count people because people count, and it’s not just numbers, it’s faces and names. There are also almost 2,500 kids, right? Can we say, “Praise God”? We like kids. When we started Mars Hill 17 years ago, there wasn’t even a children’s ministry—because there were no children. [emphasis added] People are coming in, getting saved, getting baptized, getting married, getting pregnant. Ideally, that’s the order, OK?

Remember that the FY2013 annual report listed the average attendance as 12,329Sutton Turner's July 2013 update mentioned the following:
* Average weekly attendance: 11,151 (8,959 adults and 2,191 kids)  [emphasis added]
  • Contributing households: 3,394 (an estimated 32% of adults at Mars Hill Church gave during July)
  • Average giving per adult: $38.33 (higher than projected)
  • Total giving: $1.61M (target: $1.48M)

  • So if there were 10,177 adults and almost 2,500 kids that would get you in the zone of the 12,329 average, wouldn't it?  It's worth noting that Turner's July 2013 update bracketed out the slightly less than 9,000 adults and the slightly less than 2,200 children.  This raises a question of whether or not it would be prudent to take whatever the average attendance is stated to be and simply subtracting one fifth of that amount to account for the children. 

    Speaking of children, that bit about how when Mars Hill started 17 years ago there were no children, might be hyperbolic?

    Confessions of a Reformission Rev
    Mark Driscoll, Zondervan

    page 54

    ... The church started as an idea I shared with Lief Moi and Mike Gunn. Lief is a descendant of Genghis Khan and his dad was a murderer, and Mike is a former football player. They proved to be invaluable, except for the occasional moments when they would stand toe-to-toe in a leadership meeting, threatening to beat the Holy Spirit out of each other. Both men were older than I and had years of ministry experience, and they were good fathers, loving husbands, and tough.  [emphasis added]...

    What's that again about no kids?  If Driscoll from 2006 testifies that Gunn and Moi were good fathers how can a person take seriously the claim of Driscoll in 2013 that there were no kids in the beginning of Mars Hill?  Again, perhaps Driscoll's 2013 statement is just some rhetorical, hyperbolic flourish.  Or let's propose that none of the Gunn and Moi children were so young that they couldn't participate in the earliest services at Mars Hill.  How about that?  But to say there were no children at Mars Hill Church in the plainest, most literal form, is one of the most readily disprovable assertions about the history of Mars Hill in the history of Mars Hill by Mark Driscoll's own published account.

    POSTSCRIPT: 01-18-2014

    and ... from page 145

    Jamie [Munson] came to Seattle at the age of nineteen, drinking, smoking pot, and having spent most of his life driving around in a maturity cul de sac, listening to Bon Jovi albums in the great nation of Montana. In Seattle, he lived with his sister and brother-in-law, Jen and Phil, who had been with the church from the beginning. They were the first couple who showed up with kids when we were in our core phase. [emphasis added]

    So apparently in addition to the Moi and Gunn kids not existing Phil Smidt's kids don't count now, too when Driscoll says there was no children's ministry at Mars Hill at the start because there were no kids at Mars Hill Church.  Fascinating.

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

    and a few more links

    I wasn’t worried until you told me not to worry!  It wouldn't be Slate's Double X without a piece of this sort.  The single guy's joke that he's not talked to about marriage because he's past saving might not make sense to a woman writing for Double X, but we've discussed the disposable nature of males in all societies elsewhere at this blog.  The reverse of being disposable, indispensable, may be more readily seen by some as the constraint it is but life is full of, how do we put it, opportunity costs.  Being indispensable will inevitably feel like a prison but disposability is not necessarily more emotionally or financially secure.  Still ... there can be advantages to not having anyone else depend on you for livelihood, let alone life.

    How to spot a narcissist online.

    For some reason this piece at Psyblog about how lots of sex for middle-aged rats improves brain function and restores vitality got me thinking about this polemic over at Cracked about how science is broken and a shockingly large amount of medical research is nonsense (obviously not the word they're going to use over at Cracked).

    Finally, just because ... 


    a couple of polemics about not doing what you love and about classical music and the weakness of neoliberalism

    Miya Tokumitsu declares that elites embrace "do what you love" and that it is a reflection of power and privilege.

    The piece is adapted to Slate from Jacobin, at which you can also find all sorts of polemics such as this one by John Halle, "The Last Symphony"
    ... What is needed to make sense of present circumstances is not Adorno, but rather his successor Pierre Bourdieu who argued that the high arts have historically fulfilled a crucial legitimating function for the bourgeoisie. Disparities in wealth and privilege have been justified, or at least tolerated, insofar as those benefitting from them are seen as fulfilling a necessary role in preserving artistic and cultural traditions of unquestioned sophistication, subtlety and refinement.

    Halle writes a few polemical observations about neoliberalism being inimical to cultivated art and mentions that in our time and place the wealthy have jettisoned any pretense of what was once known as noblisse oblige.  Which, apropos of a polemic in Jacobin about why classical music is something of a bulwark against unfettered evils of capital, seems like an excuse to link to my own semi-cheeky piece about Batman as the ideal one-percenter in Batman: the animated series.

    Because, why not?

    Warren Throckmorton consults anti-plagiarism campaigner regarding Mark Driscoll's books and citation errors

    Monday, January 13, 2014

    The Elephant's Debt decides its season is done

    Driscoll preaches James 1 and talks about his submission and the vetting of his calling

    HT to reader Andrew O'Brien for pointing this upcoming excerpt out earlier.

    The sermon and transcript were made available January 12, 2014, the weekend of Ken Hutcherson's memorial service (January 11, 2014, for those who kept track of the death of the pastor of Antioch Bible Church, without whom/which there may not have been a Mars Hill.
    I’m not just in authority; I’m under authority. I have pastors do my performance review, can rebuke me, can terminate me, whatever the case may be. It’s important to know that everyone needs to be under spiritual authority, including those who are in spiritual authority.

    When I felt called to start Mars Hill, I went and met with elders. When I felt called into ministry, I went and met with my first pastor. I said, “I think this is what God’s telling me to do.” He said, “I think that’s right, but you’re nowhere near ready. It’s going to be a really long time.” “OK, I’ve got a lot of work to do.” When I felt called to plant, I went through a full assessment. Pastors oversaw me, a team interviewed me, a church sent me, an overseer had authority over me.

    Are those pastors that keep him accountable and can terminate him the ones that apparently never noticed anything amiss with all those publications that got mentioned in the plagiarism allegations of 2013?  There's a whole lot of preventative medicine that could have happened there instead of adding Dan Allender's name in the acknowledgments of Real Marriage retroactively in a Kindle edition because multiple people who have no formal connection to Mars Hill Church pointed out Allender's work was indisputably an influence on at least one Driscoll and should have been credited.

    And those elders who Driscoll met with about his calling were ... ?  Driscoll didn't see reason to mention their names but we might be able to go find some clues or even actual names here in a bit.

    Ken Hutcherson's memorial service was this last weekend, by the way, and he apparently played some kind of role in the earlier days of Mars Hill Church.

    In the second season, Grace and I began attending Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, where we volunteered our time working with their college ministry. We then located in Seattle to be closer to students and after a few months I was brought on staff as a part-time intern to oversee the college group. I served in that position for nearly two years and learned a great deal in my first position of ministry leadership in a church. At that time I met Mike Gunn who had moved from a pastorate in Southern California to begin a ministry to athletes at the University of Washington. I also met Lief Moi, a local radio show host, who came in to teach a class for us. These two men and their wives and children became like family and together we began dreaming about the possibility of planting an urban church for an emerging postmodern generation in one of the least churched cities in the U.S. We began praying, studying the scriptures, reading a great deal on postmodernity, and dialoging together to formulate a philosophy of ministry appropriate for our context. Helping us formulate our launch plan was Dr. Greg Kappas, who graciously mentored us and provided wise insight and counsel.

    In the third season, we began a small Bible study in graciously loaned space from Emmanuel Bible Church in Seattle. The original small core of about a dozen people was a Bible study comprised largely of twenty-somethings from the college group, the Gunn and Moi families, and Chris Knutzen who had joined the Campus Crusade for Christ staff at the U.W. We began meeting weekly in an extremely hot upstairs youth room, and after a few months outgrew the space and began meeting in the sanctuary. It was during this season that the rest of our current elders - the Browns, Currahs and Schlemleins - and some singles and families joined us. It was also during this season that Pastor Ken Hutcherson and our friends at Antioch Bible Church began their generous financial support to cover my salary to ensure that I would not be a financial strain on the young church.

    In the fourth season, we launched the church in October 1996 at 6pm with an attendance around 200, which included many friends and supporters. The attendance leveled off shortly thereafter, somewhere around 100 adults, and we continued meeting until the Christmas season.

    In the fifth season, we moved to a church building in the Laurelhurst district one mile east of the UW. We had been searching for space in the University District with no luck, but this move got us closer to our desired area. The location afforded us an opportunity to launch small groups, classes, dinners and other events throughout the week. We also opened a small office at the church and hired some office staff to begin formulating more infrastructure to organize our continued growth. ...

    Whether or not Driscoll attended the memorial service hasn't been established