Monday, August 17, 2015

West Seattle follow up once again the church that has met at that building seems to have had to buy back its own building

7551 35th Avenue SW
Seattle, WA 98126
as of July 22, 2015 Trinity West (formerly Mars Hill West Seattle which was formerly Doxa) now owns its own real estate. Gross sale price was a bit under 2 million. The officer on behalf of Trinity West on the transaction is named as David Lee, one of the directors in the WA SOS listing.
What was once Mars Hill Seattle has the most comprehensively documented history, at least here at Wenatchee The Hatchet. You can peruse the other tagged posts with "west seattle" at your leisure.
There's a peculiar way that history has repeated itself here with the church at the formerly Doxa real estate that may be best summed up by words in a sermon from 2006 preached by Mark Driscoll.
Since Mars Hill yanked so many sermons over the last calendar year, and since it's not clear whether Mark Driscoll Ministries will feature this content it seems, once again, that Wenatchee The Hatchet has to quote something that was documented by Wenatchee The Hatchet:

Part 26: One Body, Many parts
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
Pastor Mark Driscoll
July 30, 2006

… In the meantime, we also picked up another miracle. This is West Seattle. This is on 35th at the top of the hill in West Seattle as you head toward White Center. I grew up in this neighborhood. This is a church building that is an absolute miracle. I’ll tell you the story on this space. I tried to launch Mars Hill Church in that building ten years ago, and we were rejected, and I’ve always wanted to be in there since. And what happened was, is we were growing. I went to Pastor Bill Clem, who was leading that congregation. He planted it for Acts 29 Church Planning Network [emphasis added], him and James Noriega, who is the other elder there and I said, “We’re maxed out. You got a fat building, 50,000 square feet, 1,000 seats.:” It’s a bigger building and the one you’re sitting in right now. I said, “Is there any way we to use it?” They said, “Well, we wanna reach as many people in West Seattle as possible. How about if we give it to you and work together?” we prayed about it for a second and said, “Yes.”

That is a $5 million gift. That is a $5 million gift, right? And I don’t know if you’ve been tracking the real estate market, people aren’t giving away a lotta real estate right now in Seattle and so we have – we’ve taken Pastor James and Pastor Bill on staff at Mars Hill. We have taken their members through the Gospel Class and they’re now members of Mars Hill. [emphasis added] They’ve been meeting as a core group over there. As we speak, there is $1.5 million of construction going on at the West Seattle campus, with the intention of opening in October in time for our ten year anniversary, and we want to expand over to West Seattle as well. We were thinking, “Well, we can borrow $8 million from the bank. We can spend $3 million and for $11 million, we can open up a 40,000 square foot location.” Well, we can now open more square feet for $1.5 million. So obviously, you take that opportunity.

The two cool aspects of this particular campus is one, is already zoned as a church, so we don’t need to fight use permits. We don’t have to bring it up to code. We can just walk in and use it immediately and it saves us, literally, a few years of permitting. Secondly, the lot that it is on is only zoned for 15,000 square feet of building and it already has 50,000 square feet, and because as grandfathered in, we could use it all. We could never build this building today as it exists.  And the cool thing with this building, a very Godly church that loved the Bible – started this church, built it, their denomination went liberal, dropped the doctrine of the inerrancy or perfection of Scripture and this building went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and was the test case for who owns the church building, the congregation or the denomination. The congregation lost and these people actually bought their own building back, because they refused to drop the authority of Scripture as their value. [emphases added] And so, there were some Godly older saints who paid for this building twice. It then went into decline but there is still a core of these people, like in their 70s and 80s, that are now members of Mars Hill. Grandmas tithing, waiting for us all to show up and fill that thing up again, and they’re praying us in. It’s a really cool God story and what God has done is pretty amazing.
Last October Mark Driscoll resigned and as Kerry Dodd has mentioned via LinkedIn he's been successfully overseeing new entities emerging away from the corporation known as Mars Hill Fellowship, Inc.  Once again faithful churchgoers have apparently had to pony up the money to buy back the building of their own church.  Plus or minus a few fees it looks like Mars Hill bought the real estate from Doxa for a gross sale price of slightly over 180,000 ... so it looks like anyone who stayed at what was Mars Hill West Seattle through it's Doxa-to-Mars-to-Trinity stage got to see the people at that church sell the real estate to Mars Hill for about a tenth of what they recently had to pay to get the same building back.

So ... basically, it looks like what was once Mars Hill West Seattle is re-incorporated in some fashion where the Mars Hill corporate/board leadership required Mars Hill West Seattle turned Trinity West to have to BUY BACK ITS OWN REAL ESTATE.  Why?  ...

Here's an excerpt from Driscoll in 2004.
1 Timothy
Part 12: 1 Timothy 6:1-10
Pastor Mark Driscoll
March 21, 2004

These silly, stupid, little denominations, what they do is this. Hank in Dubuque, Iowa, is a union farmer. He goes to his local church, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, whatever mainline liberal denomination it might be. Hank loves Jesus. Hank gets radically saved. Hank takes 10 percent of all the money from his plumbing job, and he gives it to his church 'cause his pastor there loves Jesus, and he doesn’t know any different. The pastor’s a good guy, and Hank’s a good guy, so Hank gives 10 percent to the church. Hank thinks it’s going to the church.
Well, it doesn’t go to the church. Hank’s 10 percent goes into some fund that’s far away from Hank in some bureaucrat’s office. And that bureaucrat’s paid by Hank to sit around and make decisions and write silly little books that’ll govern Hank’s church. And if Hank doesn’t agree with it, that’s just tough 'cause Hank doesn’t have a Master’s degree. [emphasis added]He only loves Jesus. He’s just a plumber. He should shut up. He’s like Jesus. He’s a blue collar guy, not really fit to do doctrine.

And so this guy over here and his bureaucrat friends who get their salary paid by Hank’s 10 percent and his buddy’s 10 percent from the union hall, they decide that all the sudden Hank’s gonna have a homosexual pastor. All of the sudden, Hank’s not gonna believe that the Bible’s the Word of God 'cause they took a vote.

All of the sudden, they’re gonna send theologians in to do a conference telling Hank that maybe Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. And Hank wonders, “Why do I gotta put up with this? Am I not paying your salary? You don’t seem to love Jesus.”

And then those guys say, “Well, you know what, Hank? We own your building. You and your kids and your grandkids and your friends, you guys worked really hard, and you’ve given sacrificially to pay off that building? Ultimately, Hank, we own your real estate, so Hank, you gotta put up with this, meaning you gotta keep paying our salary to abuse you. And if you try to rebel, we’ll steal the real estate that you paid millions of dollars for, Hank.” That’s how mainline denominations work. You wonder why people don’t leave their denomination? Because the denomination – the liberal ones – own the property. Guys, think about that.

We bought this building a year ago. You guys are giving sacrificially. We’re paying for this building. Can you imagine working very, very, very hard as a church to pay this off and we don’t own it? Some bureaucrat in office somewhere that you never met, that doesn’t know you, that when you get sick won’t be at the hospital laying hands and praying over you, won’t baptize your kids when they get saved, won’t officiate your wedding, won’t sit down and study the Bible with you? A guy you can’t even meet with, you’ll never know, just some guy pushing paperwork somewhere who’s not your pastor, he control your building that you paid for. [emphasis added]
And where does the money netted from the sale go?  Kerry Dodd can boast that he's overseeing the dissolution of Mars Hill Fellowship, Inc. and the liquidation and distribution of its assets.  But where's all the money for the sale of Mars Hill Ballard to Quest going?  Where's the money for selling West Seattle to Trinity West Seattle going?  If as Sutton Turner explained earlier this year Mars Hill is basically just a holding company what is the company holding the returns for the real estate purchases for? 

2745035 20150723001577 6/24/2015 $1,711,768.00MARS HILL CHURCHTRINITY WEST SEATTLEStatutory Warranty DeedNone
2212348 20060606001775 6/2/2006 $180,236.00GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCHMARS HILL FELLOWSHIPStatutory Warranty DeedNone


Mike said...

I'm just wondering who gets the money?

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Good question. It's not clear anybody knows and the likelihood of an answer that isn't in the form of a paper trail possibly a year or more after the fact seems low.

Anonymous said...

If anybody knows who gets the money, Kerry Dodd does.
Kerry Dodd is the "experienced, results-oriented, and tenacious" President and CFO of Mars Hill now.

Kerry Dodd touts himself as a "versatile, highly effective leader with keen attention to detail and outstanding analytical, communication, organizational, and problem-resolution skills." He should know who gets the money, along with the $9million from the sale of the Ballard building to Eugene Cho's Quest Church. Why not ask him?

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

the chances of Dodd saying anything other than how great he is on his LinkedIn profile seem pretty low. It's easy to wonder whether any of the top dog leaders at Mars Hill have ever realized Proverbs 27:2 is actually in the Bible!

pc said...

I think I'm beginning to appreciate these "silly, stupid, little denominations" that Driscoll complains about with their rules. I imagine the pastor can't just give everyone the finger and take off with the money or at least the control of the money.