Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2D – Pulling It All Together

Part 2D – Pulling It All Together


As a reminder, the source facts from which I developed these graphics come almost exclusively from official regulatory websites, required public information documents posted online, and other information freely posted publicly on organizational websites. I have used my own analysis to piece together the interrelationships among the various entities, and if there is a significant level of speculation involved, I generally try to note that.

Meanwhile, I consider all of these compilations, charts, and illustrative images to be works in progress, based on the 12 entities I know of to date. If you know of other related corporations, LLCs, or trusts, please let me know their names and/or Unified Business Identification/UBI or ID numbers. After I verify the information, I will note the addition(s) and/or correction(s), and adjust the compilation and charts to match. (And please let me know if you want attribution for adding that source or not.)

With the graphics, if you see errors in fact or relationships among organizations, please let me know, plus share verifiable sources for the correct information, so I can update my understanding and the related images.

Also, I am open to suggestions on making the graphics more “clean and clear,” so they are as accessible as possible, given the complexity of the information I’m sometimes attempting to portray.

Finally, I have created a comprehensive Table of Contents for the Research Guide series, Parts 1 and 2, for easier reference and location of your topics of interest. Because it is lengthy, I am putting it in a separate post, Part 2E.


Introduction: Sources for Research Guide, Part 2

To produce all of Part 2, I have also relied on other primary sources of person accounts from people who were insiders at Mars Hill Church, and secondary sources of investigative reporting. I noted the main primary sources in Part 1, and investigative reporting sources in Part 2A. But, I am repeating those here for easier access and also to reinforce my thanks in acknowledging their investments in sharing their experiences in Mars Hill Church and their findings about important issues raised.


Joyful Exiles

Mars Hill Refuge

Musings From Under the Bus

Practical Theology for Women

Repentant Pastor

We Love Mars Hill


James Duncan [Pajama Pages]

Becky Garrison [especially at Praise the Lord & Pass the Ammunition]

Warren Throckmorton

Dee Parsons and Deb Martin [The Wartburg Watch]


Putting Part 2 Together, and Creating Visual Versions

The following compilations bring together details from multiple online sources. I used data from those primary sources (and others not noted there) for details presented in this Research Guide Part 2A on five types of organizational forms in the Mars Hill Church complex. The compilation is drawn from three official Washington State sources, plus links from one Colorado state source.


Secretary of State Corporations Registration Data Search. Includes non-profit corporations, for-profit corporations, and limited liability companies.

Washington State Department of Revenue.

State of Washington Business Licensing Service.


Secretary of State Business Database Records Search. Put a name or ID# into the search bar, and that should take you to a Summary page. Below the summary data table, there is a link to “Filing history and documents.” Clicking on that link takes you to a chronological list of activities related to that entity. There should be a link on each line item to view the document that was filed. Note: I have repeatedly had trouble viewing the PDFs online at this site, with nothing showing up on my screen plus I receive the notice at the top of the page that “This PDF document might not be displaying correctly.” however, when I click on the download button, a download screen does show up shortly after that and allows opening or downloading the document, despite the fact that I see none of the document

The side-by-side comparison chart is an intentional selection of key details to establish a chronology of creation/registration and start tracking the trail of what individuals and entities are in control over various organizations.

Part of the problem in research writing involves moving from gathering facts and observations, to analysis and interpretations. Many people have learning styles that make it difficult to grasp material if everything is presented only by telling about concepts and relationships in words via prose. So, I have created a set of compilation and charts that present and summarize key official information, and a set of graphics that show the relationships among various entities involved with the larger Mars Hill Church system and/or with Mark Driscoll.


Washington State Public Information Compilation

At Becky Garrison’s post, Follow the Money – Mars Hill Fellowship/Mars Hill Church Organizational Chart, you’ll find a compilation I produced on the Mars Hill Entities Washington State Compilation. [UPDATE: That linkon that blog to the Compilation seems to be broken, so I’ve posted the Mars Hill Entities Compilation here.] It puts all in one place information gathered from  Washington State public records on 12 different organizations associated in some way with Mars Hill Church and/or its current Executive Elders: Mark Driscoll, John Sutton Turner, and Dave Bruskas. Notes:

  • The organizations are numbered and listed in chronological order by date created or filed, whichever is earlier. This is because some entities were created in Colorado state and then registered in Washington state later.
  • This includes all the related organizations I knew about from Washington and Colorado, as of September 1, 2014. This does not guarantee that these are all the relevant organizations in those states or elsewhere.
  • I was as careful as possible with getting the links correct but do not guarantee they will all work exactly. See page one for the main address for the three Washington state registries this information was taken from, and the links to access them. You may need to plug in the UBI (Unified Business Identifier) for an entity to get to the correct webpage.

Side-by-Side Comparison Charts

Detailed Version of Charts

At Becky Garrison’s post, Mars Hill Entities in Order by When Created/Registered, you’ll find the Side-by-Side Comparison Chart for Organizations Related to Mars Hill Fellowship / Mars Hill Church. [UPDATE: The link on that blog to the Chart seems to be broken, so I’ve posted the Side-by-Side Comparison Chart here.] It gives essential information about 11 of the 12 organizations in the Public Information Compilation. (It does not include Future Hope Revocable Living Trust.) It contains two charts with identical information, but the second one is color coded. Notes:

  • Numbers on the organizations correspond to those in the Public Information Compilation document.
  • Organization #12 was not included on the comparison chart due to lack of space and because it was only registered in Colorado.
  • Some color codes worth noting:
    • Red = No Governing Persons (Members) listed.
    • Purple = Organization tracks back eventually to Mark Driscoll.
    • Yellow = Governing Persons are the Mars Hill Church Executive Elders.
    • Gold = Governing Person is John Sutton Turner alone.
    • Light Green = Mars Hill Fellowship, the organization, listed as Governing Person.
    • Bright Green = For Profit Corporation.

Shortened Forms of Charts

Becky divided the comparison chart in two parts to create shorter forms. Click on the image of the chart to view a larger version.

Organizations Related to Mars Hill Fellowship / Mars Hill Church.

Organizations Related to Mark Driscoll.

The original chart does have a lot of detail, and no introduction to give an orientation, so these shortened versions are more intuitive to navigate, thanks to Becky.

Organizational System Graphics

Click on the image to view a larger version.

1. Mars Hill Church Organizational System

This is what looks like an all-in-one chart. But even this is not really comprehensive. While it is packed with details about entities and activities directly related to Mars Hill Church, I can’t guarantee that I have included all elements that are organizationally a part of their system, or that their spokesmen would agree with my categories or the titles I’ve used.

Plus, I’m only presenting a few select partnerships and contracts that have been particularly relevant in 2014, for a variety of reasons. See the section below all the images for summary descriptions of those partnerships to consider why I have included them.

Here is the color code for the element boxes in this illustration:

  • Bright turquoise = non-profit corporations that are part of Mars Hill Church.
  • Light blue = campuses and constituents.
  • Dark blue = Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) that are part of Mars Hill Church.
  • Bright green = for-profit corporations that are part of Mars Hill Church.
  • Grey = Categories of activities or associations.
  • White = organic elements in Mars Hill that do not have their company or corporation – though some may have their own webpages, like Mars Hill Media, or separate websites, like The Resurgence.
  • Bright yellow = outside for-profit companies with contracts from Mars Hill-related personnel or divisions.
  • Light yellow = outside non-profit agencies and networks that Mars Hill Church has/had some kind of key association with.
Mars Hill Church Organizational System ~ Version #3 ~ December 12, 2014

Mars Hill Church Organizational System ~ Version #3 ~ December 12, 2014

[UPDATE: Changes from Draft #2 to Version #3 – I recently checked the Secretary of State’s site on the Mars Hill Church Investment Fund LLC and found that the “governing members” had been updated to reflect that this LLC is controlled by the Mars Hill Foundation for Church Planting, which is a non-profit corporation. Also, I corrected an incorrect itle from Mars Hill Foundation for Church Planting to Mars Hill Foundation for Planting Churches.]

2. Mars Hill Church Campuses

Mars Hill Church has multiple campuses. Current campuses are in the sections under light blue heading boxes. Defunct campuses are in the section under the blue-grey heading box.

There is no further detail on the graphic about Mars Hill “Global” as a sort of virtual campus, as the description of this entity has been in flux due to controversy over whether:

  • Mars Hill Global was/is a restricted Global Fund which was solicited by Mars Hill with that designation (and no disclaimer originally that the Church could put those donations into the General Fund to use for other purposes).
  • Mars Hill Global was/is merely a name for those outside of a brick-and-mortar Mars Hill campus and who “participate” by reading Mars Hill materials, listening to the podcasts, donating to the Church, etc.
  • Both of the above, and/or some other explanation.

For an overview of the dispute over the Global Fund designation, see the Research Guide Part 2C, at the end of the major section on Restricted/Designated Solicited Funds.

Mars Hill Church Campuses ~ Draft #3 ~ September 7, 2014

Mars Hill Church Campuses ~ Draft #3 ~ September 7, 2014

In the most recent updates of September 7, 2014, Mars Hill Church announced plans to shutter/transition three campuses (Seattle/Downtown, Seattle/U-District, and Phoenix, AZ), put one on notice (Huntington Beach, CA), and continue with plans to plant in Spokane as finances allow. Draft #3 of the Campus organizational chart reflects these changes.

If you are interested in historical research on what happened with various campuses, here are the links to tags on Warren Throckmorton’s blog:

Mars Hill Church (category). Mars Hill Church (tag).





FORTHCOMING – Links to Mars Hill campus tags on Wenatchee The Hatchet’s blog.

3. Mark Driscoll and Related Personal Trusts, LLCs, etc.

This illustration captures my understanding of the interrelationships among Mark Driscoll as manager, member, and/or beneficiary of seven financial entities that I know of that relate more directly to him, and another one indirectly. Four are LLCs, two are Revocable Living Trusts, one is a CRUT/Charitable Remainder Unitrust, and one is a non-profit corporation. There is an overwhelming amount of detail populating this image. And while all these entities seem to be legally constituted from what I have researched thus far, they tend to mask underlying questions. Such as, Should a local church pastor – even of a multi-campus mega-church – be making the amount of money that allows him to live in a “preferred zip code” neighborhood? And afford a house which cost over $1 million and then had tens of thousands of dollars of renovations?

Here are the color code and line codes for this illustration:

  • Different colors of purple = the more close the link is directly to Mark Driscoll, the darker the purple color of the heading box. The lighter the purple color, the more diluted the connection is, meaning the farther away it is from a direct connection with Mark Driscoll.
  • White = events, properties, or products.
  • Tan = outside trust or other entity that has an indirect/mediated connection with Mark Driscoll or any of his financial organizations.
  • Pink = outside individuals who takes care of insider business.
  • Bright blue = non-profit corporation, in this case, it is Mars Hill Church and it is apparently one of two beneficiaries where payments from the On Mission Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT) go, the other beneficiary being the Driscoll family.
  • Unbroken Line = direct link, such as full ownership, or a relationship as a trustee.
  • Broken line = partial ownership.
  • Dotted line = conveyance of property, so that the entity holds the title on behalf of the actual owner and does not truly own the property itself. This provides a layer of privacy that tends to shield the actual owner from publicity – but may actually cause more interest for exactly that reason, otherwise known as The Streisand Effect.
  • Double line = contractual obligation.
Mark Driscoll and Related Trusts LLCs ~ Draft #2 ~ September 6, 2014

Mark Driscoll and Related Trusts LLCs ~ Draft #2 ~ September 6, 2014

4. Following the Funds …

I may be adding some additional images here to illustrate what it means to – in the key focus of Becky Garrison and some other investigative reporters – “Follow the money.” Here are a few images to get things started.

  1. Three General Types of Donations to Nonprofits
  2. Handling Donations with a Premium or Gift

Note: These represent my best effort to communicate what I understand to be accurate about fund-raising concepts that sometimes get complex. So, I would greatly appreciate any feedback for corrections. You can contact me using the form on the Contact page.

Three General Types of Donations to Nonprofits ~ Draft #1 ~ September 22, 2014

Three General Types of Donations to Nonprofits ~ Draft #1 ~ September 22, 2014

Three General Types of Donations to Non-Profits. This image is relevant to the issues raised about the Mars Hill Global Fund and the Jesus Festival. (See the section in Research Guide Part 2C on Restricted/Designated Solicited Funds.) If gifts were solicited by Mars Hill with their own designation that they were for specific projects, those funds collected would be restricted in their usage — unless there was a disclaimer issued at the time of solicitation that funds collected could be used for other purposes, or the non-profit asked donors after the fact for permission to release their donations to use those funds for other purposes than the original restriction.

Handling Donations with a Premium or Gift ~ Draft #1 ~ September 22, 2014

Handling Donations with a Premium or Gift ~ Draft #1 ~ September 22, 2014

Handling Donations with a “Premium” or “Gift.” This image is relevant to the process required for donations and receipts related to the Mars Hill promotion for donations to receive a “free” copy of the Real Marriage book by Mark and Grace Driscoll, for a minimum donation of $25. To start tracking how this fits in with other issues, such as inurement and conflicts of interest, this post by Warren Throckmorton will be helpful: Memo: Mars Hill Church Staff Worried That Real Marriage Campaign Would Benefit Mark Driscoll More Than Church. Also see in Research Guide Part 2C, in the sections on Inurement and Conflicts of Interest, for material on the contract with ResultSource, Inc., and the Real Marriage promotional campaign.


In this section, I will give summary descriptions of situations existing that three non-profits and two for-profit entities have with Mars Hill Church. My tentative plan is to give additional descriptions of the organizations and specific issues involved in Part 4 – Research Guide and Recommendations for Issues Related to “Commenders” of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. That may well change due to time constraints and other deadline projects that may need to take priority. Hopefully these overviews and key links will give the flavor of the situations.

Non-Profit Associations

ACTS29 NETWORK. In 1998, Mark Driscoll was a co-founder with David Nicholas of this network of church-planting churches. So, there is a long history of influence and interactions among Mark Driscoll (who served as its President), Mars Hill Church (which supplied a large portion of the budget at times), and Acts29 members (with many church planters being highly influenced by the “cultural and spiritual DNA” of Mars Hill). Mark Driscoll stepped down as President on March 28, 2012, and Matt Chandler replaced him. The Acts29 Board removed Mars Hill Churches from membership on August 8, 2014, over a series of accusations and confrontation – with a lack of “repentance, change, and restitution” that led to the Acts29 Board’s conclusion that Mark Driscoll was unfit leadership due to “ungodly and disqualifying behavior.” This is why there is a broken line for the Acts29 Network box; the relationship is broken.

The Acts29 Board has received some criticism for not having dealt decisively in the mid- to late-2000s with ongoing allegations about Mark Driscoll’s apparent abusive behaviors and character disqualifications. They are also recipients of questions about the influence of Mars-Hill-like strong-arm tactics taken by other Acts29 members.

EVANGELICAL COUNCIL FOR FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY (ECFA). In September 2012, Mars Hill Church became an accredited member of ECFA. and they noted that “Mars Hill is the third fastest-growing and 28th largest church in the United States.” This gives some idea of the attention ECFA has given Mars Hill. ECFA also states elsewhere that “21 of the 100 largest churches in the U.S are accredited by ECFA,” and advertises that Mars Hill is one of these (ECFA: Enhancing Trust for Churches, page 32). Their 3rd Quarter 2013 Focus on Nonprofit Accountability newsletter (page 8), features Mars Hill Church and a quote from Mark Driscoll because they became ECFA’s milestone 1,700th member:

“At Mars Hill, we are dedicated to utilizing the resources entrusted to us in faithful adherence to our mission to make disciples and plant churches in the name of Jesus. In proactively submitting ourselves to the scrutiny of ECFA, we openly state our commitment to proclaim Jesus to our communities with utmost ethical honor.”

Pastor Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church – Seattle, WA

Although apparently ECFA has commented on the unethical nature of the Mars Hill/Real Marriage contract with ResultSource, Inc., it doesn’t seem there’s been any other notice or censure or action made public about scrutiny of Mars Hill by ECFA. And, as of September 15, 2014, that same quote from Mark Driscoll appears elsewhere on the ECFA website, such as “Read what others are saying about ECFA.”

In 2014, Mars Hill Church Executive Pastor Sutton Turner is noted in the acknowledgements section as one of only 10 members of the ECFA’s 1st Annual Church Stewardship Survey Advisory Panel. The attention given to Mars Hill is understandable. However, has it also put ECFA into a conflict of interest when it comes to potential “policing” of a member who pays to belong to this certification network?

THE GOSPEL COALITION. Mark Driscoll was a founding member of The Gospel Coalition, which began in 2005. He was also part of its Council. He resigned from its Council on March 28, 2012, as part of his revision of priorities that also included his stepping down from the Presidency of Acts29 Network. One reason The Gospel Coalition (TGC) is included here is the important role Mark Driscoll played as one of the prominent pastors involved, but also because TGC seems to have a track record of defending their own vociferously at times, but remaining relatively silent about standing with and advocating for any alleged victims of spiritual abuse by those in their network. For instance, this pattern seems to have been applied to support for C.J. Mahaney of Sovereign Grace Ministries and  Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church, and against Tullian Tchividjian. Also, TGC co-founder Tim Keller made a most remarkable statement that was included in an August 23, 2014, article from the UK magazine, Christian TodayAs 21 former Mars Hill members file charges against Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller says brashness was ‘obvious to many’.

Tim Keller, a distinguished evangelical and senior pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, was quoted by the paper as saying: “He was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously.

“But the brashness and the arrogance and the rudeness in personal relationships — which he himself has confessed repeatedly — was obvious to many from the earliest days, and he has definitely now disillusioned quite a lot of people.”

There has been significant criticism of Tim Keller and The Gospel Coalition as a result of this statement. If this was so “obvious to many” about Mark Driscoll “from the earliest days” (and he co-founded Mars Hill Fellowship in 1996) and Mark Driscoll was a founding member of The Gospel Coalition (giving Tim Keller connections with Mark Driscoll since at least 2005), why was no disciplinary action of any kind apparently taken by TGC with one of their own? Couldn’t their apparent inaction amount to complicity in the harm that came to hundreds precisely because of his personal relational style which Tim Keller doesn’t quite call out as sin, but seems to imply? To my knowledge, Tim Keller has not  amended or expanded upon his extraordinary statement in any way, nor have I seen any kind of public response to the criticism of him or TGC as a result of the quote.

Contractual Partnerships

RESULTSOURCE INC. This is the company that apparently was paid over $200,000 to purchase sufficient books in specific numbers of small and medium lots to ensure that Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll would achieve New York Times Bestseller List status – which it did, for one week only. But then the achievement could be tauted elsewhere, gaining prestige for Mark Driscoll and his ministries in teaching and writing.

A turning point on this came with a March 8, 2014, article by James Duncan on Pajama PagesOn Driscoll, it’s called inurement, and it’s probably illegal. This exposed the contract with ResultSource, Inc. This was followed up on March 16, 2014, with, How Mark Driscoll pockets the money he gives to Mars Hill. This new post examined Charitable Remainder Unitrusts (CRUTs) and how the Driscolls’ On Mission CRUT plays into the picture. (See a series of links at the bottom of the second article for additional related articles.)

Not long after questions began being raised about the process and payments made for this status, ResultSource, Inc., pulled down most of their website other than a notice of a contact email address, which is still there as of September 7, 2014. The ECFA eventually responded to questions and challenges to them about whether this Bestseller status scheme was illegal and/or unethical. (See Warren Throckmorton’s March 14, 2014,  article, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability: Buying Place on Best Seller Lists Violates Standards.) Mark Driscoll’s eventual response was noted in a March 17, 2014, article from Christianity Today – Mark Driscoll Retracts Bestseller Book Status, Resets Life. The entire situation raises questions/allegations of potential inurement, including whether tax-exempt donations were used for this contract that provided “private benefit” to Mark and Grace Driscoll by achieving a bestseller status what would increase prestige and, assumedly, sales of their book and thus higher levels of royalties.

TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS. Tyndale House Publishers is apparently a for-profit enterprise (I could not verify yet whether it is a corporation, LLC, etc.) that is “substantially owned by Tyndale House Foundation.” It figures into the organizational system of Mars Hill because of its publishing partnership with Resurgence Publishing, Inc. Tyndale House’s publishing of TITLE  by Mark Driscoll brought them under scrutiny when Janet Mefferd raised questions about plagiarism, and she and then others provided more extensive documentation about citation errors, unattributed copying of material from the work of others, etc. Tyndale House stood behind Mark Driscoll and their partnership with Resurgence Publishing, noting in this July 1, 2014, press release that they still intend to publish Mark Driscoll’s latest book, The Problem with Christianity.

If I remember correctly, there have been about eight different publications by Mark Driscoll (and one from Mars Hill Executive Elder Sutton Turner, which he states he will correct) with alleged problems of plagiarism. Tyndale House was the only one to essentially deny any problem; the others all took steps to correct problems with attribution, copying, etc. To research the exact numbers for yourself, and to list what other publishers and publications were involved, use the search function for “Tyndale House” on Warren Throckmorton’s blog. It will give you over 15 articles from December 2013 through August 2014. And see a summary here: Mark Driscoll’s Citation Errors At A Glance.

Concluding Thoughts

An organizational system involves more than just internal divisions within an enterprise. It involves associations with outside entities, such as business companies, networks, collaboration partners, the IRS, other regulatory agencies and civil authorities. In an organic system, what affects one part of the body affects the whole body, for better or for worse. Some of the organizations mentioned in this section can be seen as “Commenders” of Mars Hill Church organizationally and/or Mark Driscoll personally. I would suggest that those bear at least some complicity in propping up people and systems that inflicted harm on others. Those in their leadership may need to consider what responsibility they do and don’t bear for the roles they have played. (See the series on Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse, dealing with topics of culpability, complicity, recovery, and taking responsibility.)

Also, if my schedule forces me to take a break from this Research Guide series, let me stress again that I hope it helps you search for resources to answer the questions you have about the situations of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. Be a Berean – search these things out for yourself, sift and sort the documentation, process your thoughts with others, discern and decide what it means you believe you must do as a response. You may come to different conclusions than I have, but I believe I will have fulfilled my role if I have equipped you to think critically about these important concerns for all who follow Christ and for all involved with churches or other kinds of non-profit ministries and agencies.


09/11/2014 – Updated to replace links that no longer work.

09/15/2014 – Links added to section on ECFA.

12/12/2014 – Replaced Draft #2 of the Mars Hill Organizational System graphic with Version #3.

01/08/2015 – Link added to article on Mark Driscoll’s citation errors.