The bottom line in this is that the church - any church - is not the property of any particular pastor. The church is the Bride of Christ, and belongs to God. Mars Hill is not Mark Driscoll's church to do with as he pleases. These members are trying to help him recognize that, and to act accordingly. I hope that he does.
From the letter, here are a few of the steps these members say that they would like to see implemented in order to put Mars Hill back in order:
- Fire the PR firm. Churches need to tell the truth, not spin it. Please tell us that members aren’t paying for the PR firm?
- Hire an independent CPA firm. They should be experienced with churches/non profits; have them thoroughly audit Mars Hill financial records for the past 5 years. Then publish their findings in plain English so we can all read them. Forget about the ECFA endorsement; that doesn’t seem to provide much real accountability. At this point, we don’t know what to believe about the money; however there’s enough funny sounding stuff to make us feel pretty uncomfortable and not be very excited to give more money. Time to put all speculation to rest and just lay out the facts to us.
- Scrap the current governance system. Come up with a new governance system; pretty obvious to everyone but you that this one ain’t working.
- Report All Progress Through The Patheos Blog. You’ve made us all daily readers of the Patheos blog. Why? Because we feel ‘spun’ when we read much of the Mars Hill official stuff. Patheos may not be 100% Mars Hill friendly; however it does seem to give us more of the straight scoop on what’s going on than the official Mars Hill information channels.
- Report monthly on the progress with the 21 former pastors/elders on Patheos. It appears that you have an independent arbitrator handling the process with the 21 former pastors/elders, which is great. Now have each of the 21 report back directly through Patheos as each case is resolved. We just want to hear it directly in their own words that “things are fixed”. We want to see progress.
- Give up your current 6 week “stepping down” review process. Most of us average members don’t really think this review process is that independent, even the newly announced BoE (Board of Elders). Both the BOAA and the BoE are hand picked boards judging those that picked them. What happens to those who disagree in this process? Of the nine men who signed the now infamous letter, eight are gone. Eight very good men. It’s tough to trust a process where dissenters seem to just disappear. Time is too precious; stop this process so we can focus on real solutions.
- Tell us what the Executive Elders earn. We all saw the outside of your house on KOMO TV news recently Pastor Mark. Million dollar house KOMO said, which was new information to many of us. Looking at your million dollar home, it does raise questions in our minds. You are telling us to contribute more since giving is down. That’s fine; however first show us the money trail, including all EE salaries, book deals, everything. No hiding money in special trusts or backdoor channels. Complete transparency.
- Show us a current up to date Mars Hill balance sheet. We want to know what assets Mars Hill owns and what it owes. People are being let go and campuses closed to live inside budget. Fine. You are asking us to give more, fine. But if we have assets that can be tapped into or sold, we would like to know what they are. Sources on the internet say that Mars Hill owns real estate valued at over $10 million. If you want shared sacrifice, we need to understand the full picture of what we have to work with. Publish this on the Patheos blog for all to see; if we are walking in the light, what do we have to be afraid of?
- Hire Paul Tripp. Let him set up a process to fix the ministry culture at Mars Hill. When Mars Hill sent us the email recently saying how angry the elders were that the 9 pastors’ letter was leaked, it kind of missed the point that we all saw plain as day: Paul Tripp thinks our church is the sickest he has ever seen and we are hung up on how the letter got leaked? Doesn’t that kind of prove Tripp’s point a bit? Don’t we all just want the truth here? Paul Tripp needs to have a secure role in partnership with a new elder board of some type to do what he and they think needs to be done, and then report back to us about progress independently.
- Voluntarily Step Down Pastor Mark. For as long as Paul Tripp and whatever new elder board that is created think you need to. You don’t get to decide your fate at Mars Hill, they do............You’ve said you want to be at Mars Hill the rest of your life; now prove it. Have the [courage] to voluntarily step down now and submit to Paul Tripp and a new elder governance system so you have the time to get your own internal house in order. We don’t know what’s wrong with you Pastor Mark, but you and the Executive Elders seem to be the only ones who are not seeing the obvious: you need some help. No more hiding behind the skirt of self appointed internal review boards and governance rules you wrote yourself. No more PR firms. No more videos. No more explanations about how detractors are anonymous or blaming ‘negative media attention’ for our woes. We’ve had enough of that; it sounds like unmanly whining.***The letter can be read in its entirety here, but there is some language in the letter that might cause offense***
Documenting The Problems With Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll [UPDATED]
Mark Driscoll's Failed Publicity Stunt That Ended With Him Lying About What Really Happened (with video proof)
Mark Driscoll Repents? Not So Fast, Say Phil Johnson and Chris Rosebrough
Will John Piper Publicly Address The Mark Driscoll Virus That He Unleashed Into the Church by Keynoting Mark Driscoll at the 2006 Desiring God Conference?