Monday, June 2, 2014

Pastor Mark has asked Mars Hill Church to fire him!

Pastor Mark has asked Mars Hill Church and the elders to fire him!

This is a section of a transcript of a sermon Mark preached on Jan 22nd 2006 on 1st Corinthians 1: 10-17.

"And his third question: “Were you baptized in the name of Paul?” Is your ultimate allegiance to me, or Jesus? This is so important. I want you guys to respect me, the pastors and the leaders in this church. I don’t want you to have too low a view of leadership, too high a view of leadership – the extremes that we see in the church in Corinth. 

At the same time, your primary and ultimate allegiance is not to me, and it is not to the pastors in this church. I will say this publicly: I am one of the pastors. They can out-vote me and fire me. They have total freedom to do so.

And if at any time in the history of this church the elders discipline me, do not be loyal to me. Be loyal to them; be loyal to Jesus. And if at any point – God forbid – I should say or do something that would disqualify me from being your pastor – and I have no intentions of, and I do live a life above reproach. And I’m not a sinless man, but I do love Jesus and I do love my family and I do love you. And if by – I just shudder to say this, but if I should ever say or do anything that the elders would need to fire me, do not be loyal to me. Be loyal to Jesus; be loyal to your elders. Be loyal to the
pastors in your church. Trust them. Follow them.

And if you forget, this’ll be archived. Pull it down and listen to it again, and say, “Mark, you told us to ignore you and follow the leaders in the church and Jesus.” Do that – because at the end of the day, you’re not baptized in my name. You’re not ultimately loyal to me. You are not ultimately devoted to
me. My job is to point you to Jesus. He was crucified for your sins. He forgives your sins. He is your God and Savior. He’s the one when you are buried in baptism and raised in newness of life that you are celebrating."

In this post the first alarming thing is the fact that Mars Hill has removed this sermon from their website. I believe that has been done because Pastor Mark said "I am one of the pastors. They can out-vote me and fire me. They have total freedom to do so." With the most recent by-law changes, the elders of the church no longer have any authority to out vote Pastor Mark or fire him regardless of the sin he commits.

Pastor Mark also said "And if at any time in the history of this church the elders discipline me, do not be loyal to me. Be loyal to them; be loyal to Jesus. And if at any point – God forbid – I should say or do something that would disqualify me from being your pastor;" 
"I just shudder to say this, but if I should ever say or do anything that the elders would need to fire me, do not be loyal to me. Be loyal to Jesus; be loyal to your elders. Be loyal to the pastors in your church. Trust them. Follow them."

Pastor Mark now has dozens of ex-pastors who are calling him to repentance, for disqualifying sins. He has taken the authority from his current pastors and is lying to the church he is leading about those very sins and hiding the sins that have yet to be revealed. He has also systematically fired any elder that will not sign a unity of mission statement that prohibits pastors from working in any church other then Mars Hill within a 10 mile radius of a Mars Hill location.

Pastor Mark has pleaded in this sermon that he be removed and that you listen to the pastors that are calling him out on his sin. 
We have called him out on his sin directly. 
We have submitted in writing formal charges against him to both the Executive Elders as well as the Board of Accountability. 
We now have posted in a public forum his sin in yet another attempt to call him to repentance. 
We have submitted a letter to the EE and BOAA requesting mediation.

At what point do we all love Pastor Mark enough to call him out on his sin and do what he has requested of us?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I love you man...

I love you man...

I have heard this phrase thousands of times in my tenure at Mars Hill Church.

I as well had adopted the language, sometimes meaning it but in truth not showing it by my actions.

I must stop here and apologize, I am sorry for the people that I told I love, yet failed to live out that love in their lives. I made a mockery of the word and did not image Christ in my actions.

When a pastor tells you they love you, yet sin against you, it distorts the word love. It distorts the meaning and power of love. It becomes a manipulative tool to guilt people into following your will.

For a while it felt comforting and reassuring hearing that my leaders love me.

In fact, I continue to hear this phrase even today from leaders I have conflict with as they try to smooth over the sin that has been made public.

I believe that there is a systemic and cancerous culture at Mars Hill. Don't get me wrong, there are many wonderful things that happen there and many people are saved. But, this word Love for example is one indicator of the deep systemic problems in leadership.

Paul describes love as patient, kind, not envying or boasting, not arrogant or rude.
In my experience some of the leaders at Mars Hill have lived out personally those qualities, however, most have not.

When a leader tells you that they love you, a good question to ask would be how?
How do you love me?

1 Corinthians 13:1-7
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing."

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

I personally have stopped telling people that I love them if in fact I don't or have not shown it by my actions. Jesus sets the bar in what it looks like to love someone in John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends."

If you are a pastor who tells people that you love them, the first thing you should be doing on a regular basis is repenting of your own sin. Show them that you love them by living out the Gospel of Jesus

"It is all about Jesus", unless you are within 10 miles of a Mars Hill Church

We have heard for years from Mark Driscoll that Mars Hill Church is "All about Jesus". I absolutely believed that and witnessed many ways that Jesus was and is working in that church.

So, if the mission of being all about Jesus, is truly at the heart of the church and its leaders, then why issue a "non compete" policy to your pastors where it states that you can not plant a church within 10 miles of a Mars Hill location, and if you don't agree, as Donald Trump says, "YOU'RE FIRED".

In a city that has millions of people and at one time was one of the least church-ed cities in America, it seems that there should be enough "sinners" to go around.

When I read policies like this one, it causes me to question the authenticity of leaders who would issue such a policy, and if they really are all about Jesus and HIS Church.

It seems to me the greater issue at hand is the desire to keep the people who attend Mars Hill at Mars Hill.

Read it here:
"Together this day, we commit that our next church ministry will not be within ten miles of any location of Mars Hill Church. We are, as Ephesians 4:3 says, “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” We care about the church, the testimony of our church, and the dear people who attend our church.

We would not want our actions to cause confusion or harm by making the people of Mars Hill question our love for the Lord, the purity of our church, or their decision to worship Christ here."

Read more:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Liar, Liar...

When someone calls you a liar, it calls your character into question.
It cuts into you in one of the most painful ways words can. It leaves wounds that are slow to heal and scar deeply. Even when the accusation is false, it overshadows you and causes doubt.

When it comes from a spiritual authority, it causes you to question at least your faith in the leaders of the church, and at most your faith in God Himself.

So, what do you do when your pastor calls you a liar?
What do you say when your pastor lies about you to others?
What recourse do you have? After all you have been branded as a liar.

The Biblical qualifications of a pastor in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1 are simple, and I will tell you that lying to leaders, lying to members, lying to your church is not a qualification. In fact it is a disqualifier.

I communicated my  charges against my leaders verbally, in writing and now publicly in hopes that they would repent. I am still hopeful for repentance but have been discouraged lately when I have heard rumor that in fact more lies have been told about me even still.

I have been hesitant to do anything other than call the leaders to repentance, but now I see that others have searched for the truth and have documentation supporting my call to repentance.

I know my reputation is shot, my hope is not that I would be justified or that my reputation would be cleared. My hope is that our leaders would REPENT of their sin, just like they lovingly call their people to do. When you repent, you experience forgiveness and the immeasurable grace of God.

The most loving thing our leaders in church can do is call us to repent, why would we not do the same for them?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Are Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner repenting; or strategically covering up the evidence?

As I wait for word on if Mars Hill leaders are willing to come forward into mediation to repent of their sins against myself as well as countless others, I am troubled by what they are doing behind the scenes.

Mars Hill Leaders are communicating to their members that they are in the process of repenting and finding a mediator, yet they have enacted two policies many are not aware of:

1) Now every email that is over 90 days old must be deleted. "If you have previously stored emails on external hard drives, offline storage, cloud storage, or other media, you are required to delete those emails by the same deadline" The Policy

2) If any elder wants to make formal charges against the Executive Elders, you are free to do so, just include your letter of resignation as well. If your charges are found to be true then no worries. If they are found to be false then you are being divisive and are fired. Any volunteers? The Policy

Mars Hill leaders say they are "repenting," yet their actions scream cover up and damage control. 

Sin that is repented of declares the glory of the Gospel of Jesus. Sin that is covered up declares self preservation and a lack of understanding of the Gospel.
Why don't their words and actions agree?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What do you do when your pastor lies?

Over the past several weeks, I have noticed an increased awareness of the "false truths", or for a lack of a better term, lies that Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner, Dave Bruskus and the Board of Accountability have told to their church.

These are lies that I am not digging up but rather are lies that are coming to light. In this day and age where for Mark at least, everything is recorded and documented, if you choose to lie, it is only a matter of time before that lie is reveled.

So what do you do if your pastors are not repentant and they are lying to cover up their lies? What if they have positioned themselves with no accountability, because Michael Van Skaik who is the chairman of the board that is commissioned to keep them accountable, is lying as well?

My response is to continue to call them to repentance. Here are some ways that you as members who have no voice, can have a voice that these rouge leaders will listen to.

If you love these men like I do, please call them out on their sin, just like they are suppose to do for the people they love and pastor. I don't want Mars Hill to fail and I don't want Revelation 3 to come to pass on Mars Hill because Mark has lost the love he had at first. I don't want Jesus to remove His lamp stand from Mars Hill like He did to the Ephesians. My fear is, with no repentance, these things will likely come to pass and I will be in tears watching it happen. But if it does need to happen, then Jesus will be glorified as He reclaims His church.

Friday, March 28, 2014

My official charges against Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner

The following are the official charges I made against Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner and gave to the BOAA in the Fall of 2012. 

The BOAA asked me in a letter they sent out:
“Do you have grievances or complaints against any Elder or Leader of Mars Hill Church?”

The following was my official response to them:

Pastor Mark;
  • You have led Mars Hill with a culture of pride, fear, and intimidation.
  • You preach grace from the stage but don’t extend that same grace to the staff you lead.
  • You have developed a culture where sin is not tolerated, therefore it is not confessed.
  • You have led the staff in bitterness and rage for years because of your unforgiven sin that Grace committed against you. (This was very obvious in the abusive tone during staff meetings and trainings for several years, leading to demoralization and fear.)
  • Your thirst and ambition to see your church grow have come at the cost of the very pastors and leaders that God has put in your care.
  • The pastors are not being pastored, they are just employees that are expected to produce results.
  • There is not honesty in why key leaders are leaving the church. It is always spun to be a politically correct “calling” vs the truth of why they are leaving, to include me.
  • You have either not been aware of or ignored the fact that one member of the EE, Pastor Sutton, has been breaking the law and tarnishing the name of Jesus to unbelievers, thus disqualifying him from being a pastor of Mars Hill Church.
  • You never communicated to the other Pastors of Mars Hill that I had left not only the staff of MHC, but the elder-ship and the church entirely.
  • You have used threats and intimidation tactics with me to produce results.
  • You have shared with me that you fully intended to fire another Pastor because he didn't fit the mold that you need for that position and then months later carried out laying him off.
  • You have preached living a balanced life of God, Family, Ministry, but require your staff to work 70+ hours a week, neglecting the very things you preached about.
  • You have forced anyone who needs to get a severance package when leaving to sign a gag order, preventing them from being able to speak about why they left Mars Hill.

Pastor Sutton;

  • You have set your ambitions for the church above the people and leaders of the church.
  • You have engaged Jesus’ bride with a business model and its pastoral leaders as pawns to be discarded when no longer needed.
  • You have broken the law by requiring us to stay in a place when the city had issued official notices for us to leave, even when we had other places to go.
  • You have broken the law by prohibiting me from getting a business license as required by Santa Ana because then they would discover we were still breaking the law by meeting illegally.
  • You have tarnished the name of Jesus in the eyes of our non-Christian landlord to whom we were trying to be a witness by being in direct defiance of the local government, breaking the law and inviting him to participate with us to the extent of paying the fines that he was incurring for breaking the law.
  • You made it clear that we would not move, even though we had other options, until the city kicked us out and then you would launch a negative ad campaign against the city, showing that they were persecuting the church, when in fact we are the ones in the wrong.
  • You have made false accusations against me, another pastor of the church, calling me a liar, accusing me of stealing from the church and missing meetings with no evidence, witness, or proof.
  • You have not treated me as a fellow pastor with respect, dignity, and honor, but as a dictator with an agenda.
  • You have abused your spiritual authority and role against me, carrying on a legacy of fear in Mars Hill Church.
  • You have disqualified yourself from pastoral leadership in the church according to (1 Tim 3:2-7) “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach... respectable.... not quarrelsome....”. “Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” (Titus 1:7) “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered...”

The BOAA then asked: “What other feedback do you have?”
My response was as follows:

         I forgive each of you just as Jesus has forgiven me.
It is my hope and prayer that the words in this letter would be considered.
That there would be a season of repentance that would not stop until Jesus comes back. That the fruit would be a people who love to repent because the Gospel comes alive every time they do as they are reminded of the power of the Gospel of forgiveness and grace.

It is my prayer that each of you would spend the same amount of time and energy, if not more, focusing and working on the church and its leadership (staff) being above reproach in God’s eyes, as you do in efforts of growth. I totally understand that every church is run by fallen sinners to include myself. Despite all these sins and circumstances that caused hurt, we have felt God’s continuous hands leading and protecting us. We are thankful for our time at Mars Hill and are experiencing God’s grace in being able to forgive. It is a blessing to see God moving in other churches, and we are experiencing Jesus’ redemptive grace from the leaders of our current church who lead from grace rather than fear. May God’s grace and mercy be abundant for His leaders who repent often of their sin and lead their people to the foot of the cross, not just in word, but on their knees.

I love each of you and Mars Hill Church and pray for great health for each of you and the church. I ask The Holy Spirit to lead each of you with great clarity and encouragement, making the yoke light in the servant hood of Jesus’ Church.

In response, I received a letter from the BOAA that simply said thank you for your response. I have not heard anything from the BOAA or the Executive Elders since. 

Most recently, the BOAA posted a communication to their community group leadership stating; 

We received eighteen responses. While some were very positive, every response was read and reread, looking for anything that would disqualify Pastor Mark and any other Mars Hill leaders from serving, or that would require further investigation. Additionally, the Board looked for repetitive patterns that may also lead to potential disqualification. After a thorough review, the charges were determined to be non-disqualifying. 

The Biblical Qualifications of a Pastor are clear. The violations listed above are direct quotes from the letter I sent the BOAA and EE. 

If the BOAA states that "After a thorough review, the charges were determined to be non-disqualifying." 

Please let me remind you of what the Biblical qualification for elder is:

1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1: 5-9, are the qualifications that I and so many others have seen, heard and experienced that Pastor Mark does NOT possess.

  • Therefore an overseer must be above reproach
  • He must be sober-minded
  • He must be self-controlled
  • He must be respectable
  • Not violent but gentle
  • Not quarrelsome
  • Not a lover of money
  • Not be arrogant or quick-tempered
  • Not greedy for gain
  • Self-controlled
  • Disciplined

There will always be sin in leadership, but where you have continued sin for years and years against hundreds of leaders and countless members, yet claim that it is "non-disqualifying" Your standard is clearly not coming from Scripture and I now know that there is truly no accountability for Mark and Sutton and this BOAA is a sham. 

Another quote from the same letter states;

However, we are hungry for reconciliation and are continually grieved that many offenses and hurts are still unresolved. We want to seek out and hear the hurts in a biblical manner.

You need to know that I and the other Board members have witnessed the Holy Spirit’s work in Pastors Mark, Dave and Sutton as they’ve grieved deeply over the hurts and sorrows that they’ve been the source of. Their hearts yearn for repentance and reconciliation with those that have been hurt and offended.

My question is simply this, if they are "grieved and hungry for reconciliation," why have they not responded to another letter that was sent on March 17th by 20+ ex elders, myself included seeking their repentance and a mediator to help in this process?

Why if they "yearn for repentance and reconciliation" have they still not responded to either Dave Kraft or myself, the two most vocal advocates of repentance.