Capstone 2-1: Consequences

Thought #1 ~ For Current and Recent Mars Hill Leaders:

“You may only think a new race is beginning. Finish the old one well, or its consequences will continue to follow you.”

It doesn’t seem that either the Mars Hill theology or its organizational system take kindly to the idea of “mutual submission” of leaders to others, especially to subordinates and members. Are leaders above questions, above challenges, above scrutiny? Or will they take time and effort to listen to the voices of concern, and resolve what is as yet unresolved?
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Capstone Article 2 – Some Words for Discernment by Those from Mars Hill

Introduction to Capstone 2

The purposes of my “Capstone” series of articles on Mars Hill Church are to synthesize what I have learned in the last 4+ months of research on relevant subjects, and, as best I can, summarize my findings without re-documenting all the resources I used to reach those conclusions. (For my assumptions and theories about toxic systems, see the Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse series, and if you want details on Mars Hill, see my Research Guide on Mars Hill series.)

I posted Capstone Article 1 on November 2nd. I wrote most of Capstone 2 by 10 days later, but decided not to post it then. Now, another 10 days on since starting this series, it seems the right time to complete some of these and start posting them. Unfortunately, not much has changed in 10 days. It’s all been about Mars Hill splitting into independent entities, and nothing about resolving the same remaining questions about potentially unethical and/or illegal actions. So, I expect challenges to and/or consequences for Mars Hill leaders to become amplified in days to come. I doubt the dissolution of this $20 million plus enterprise to go unchallenged.

Here, then, is the first segment of Capstone 2, which I completed on November 13. I have two other segments to post shortly that were substantially done around the same time. And then I will plan to add other segments for various target audiences in days to come. Continue reading

Capstone Series – Your Chance to Add to the FAQ List

** My Capstone 3 article with responses to FAQs about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church is forthcoming. Here’s your chance to add to the list of questions. **

Months ago, I posted on my Facebook page and on my blog a list of 20 questions I was asking as I launched into research writing on the situation of Mars Hill and lessons we could learn from it. (Click that link and the list starts about halfway down the article.) I will eventually develop those into a FAQ format with short-as-possible answers, based on a lot of research and reflection between then and now.

I’ve added to that list about 10 more questions from other friends, plus 2 new ones I’ve been asking in light of the planned dissolution of Mars Hill Church:

  • What did you hope to see happen before and during the winding-down of MHC?
  • Given what’s happened with the shut-down, what consequences do you think will probably hang over the leaders and their future churches?

I wanted to open this up again. So, if you have questions you want me to consider adding to the list, you can post them here in the comments, message me on Facebook, or use the contact page on my blog. I’ll begin posting responses sometime in the near future, or perhaps just wait and post them all at once. We’ll see what develops …

Capstone Article 1 – A Critique of the Three Official Options for Dissolution of Mars Hill Church

SUMMARY. This article presents a critique of the three possibilities presented on October 31, 2014, by Executive Elder Dave Bruskas for individual campuses in the multi-campus system of Mars Hill, which tentatively will be dissolved by January 1, 2015.

  1. Becoming an independent, self-governed church.
  2. Merging with an existing church to create one independent, self-governed church.
  3. Disbanding as a church and shepherding current members to find other local church homes.

To gain the greatest potential understanding and benefit from considering this Capstone article, first read my series on Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse and the Research Guide to Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. The former series looks at the theoretical issues involved in abuse, repentance, individual restoration, and organizational renovation. The latter series provides frameworks for understanding personal and organizational problems at Mars Hill, along with extensive documentation, analysis, and interpretation. Continue reading

Synthesizing the “Mars Hill Research Guide” and “Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse” Series – Introducing the Capstone Articles and Case Study

Introducing the Capstone Articles and Case Study

In August and September 2014, I posted six segments in my Research Guide on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church (totaling over 22,000 words). I presented material on:

During that same time period, I blogged a large, 11-post series on Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse (30,000 words). It was sparked by a series of questions about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill that I’d developed weeks before, posted on Facebook, and gotten a few add-ons from friends. Coincidentally, the first article in the series – on “Culpability, Complicity, and Responsibility” – got posted earlier on the same morning that Mark Driscoll announced his six-week leave during investigations of the formal charges brought against him of character issues and abuse.

That was a lot of writing in a two-month period. Totaling over 50,000 words, those two series create the equivalent of a book of about 130 pages!

It’s been over six weeks since I finished those two series. Meanwhile, I’ve been working on capstone pieces that synthesize my research findings and my interpretations of their significance. So far, I’ve come up with three probable posts. These tentative capstone articles synthesize my theories about toxicity and responsibility, my research findings on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill, and some of my interpretations about their significance. Continue reading

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2E – Research Guide Table of Contents

MARK DRISCOLL AND MARS HILL ~ POSTS IN RESEARCH GUIDE SERIES

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 1 – Research Guide to Mark Driscoll’s Personal Issues

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2A – Five Types of Organizational Forms at “Mars Hill” (UPDATED)

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2B – General Background on Top Legal Problems for Non-Profits

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2C – Five Potential Legal/Ethical Problems for Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll, and Its Other Leaders

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

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2E – Research Guide Table of Contents

Synthesizing the “Mars Hill Research Guide” and “Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse” Series – Introducing the Capstone Articles and Case Study

Capstone Article 1 – A Critique of the Three Official Options for Dissolution of Mars Hill Church

Capstone Article 2 – Some Words for Discernment for Those from Mars Hill

Capstone Article 3 – Answering the Original FAQ List About Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

RESEARCH GUIDE ~ TABLE OF CONTENTS

NOTE: Blue headline titles are links to that post.

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

Part 2D – Pulling It All Together

INTRODUCTORY NOTES

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. Continue reading

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2C – Five Potential Legal/Ethical Problems for Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll, and Its Other Leaders

PART 2. RESEARCH GUIDE TO MARS HILL CHURCH ORGANIZATIONAL/INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

Part 1. Research Guide to Mark Driscoll’s Personal Issues

Part 2. Mars Hill Church Organizational/Institutional Issues

  • Part 2A. Five types of organizational forms found in “Mars Hill.” Official source links and summary profiles.
  • Part 2B. General background on top legal problems for non-profits.
  • Part 2C. Five potential legal/ethical problems: inurement; misappropriation of funds solicited with a specified designation; spoliation of evidence; constitution, bylaws, and board structure; and conflicts of interest.

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

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2E – Research Guide Table of Contents

Synthesizing the “Mars Hill Research Guide” and “Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse” Series – Introducing the Capstone Articles and Case Study

Capstone Article 1 – A Critique of the Three Official Options for Dissolution of Mars Hill Church

Capstone Article 2 – Some Words for Discernment for Those from Mars Hill

Capstone Article 3 – Answering the Original FAQ List About Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill

 

Part 2C. Five Potential Legal/Ethical Problems for Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll, and Its Other Leaders

Step 3 – Tutorials for Five Core Problems with Mars Hill Church

The deeper I study into what the IRS, non-profit consultants, and researchers list as top legal problems that put tax-exempt status at risk (see Part 2B), the starker my questions about the Mars Hill Church complex. Have their leaders’ ongoing patterns of actions and inactions demonstrated they’ve already succumbed to some of those issues? Are they doing these unethical and possibly illegal things because of blind spots – or with eyes wide open?

I keep unearthing evidence that suggests five of the more common non-profit issues may jeopardize their status:

  • Inurement – misusing a public non-profit for private benefit.
  • Misappropriation of restricted donations that were solicited for a designated project.
  • Lack of transparency including intentional obfuscation or alteration of evidence.
  • Governance policies and practices.
  • Conflicts of interest especially by board members and employees.

Could it be that the longer Mars Hill leaders fail to respond to such challenges, the stronger case they make for the “reasonable belief” standard the IRS needs to conclude that such allegations as might be filed against Mars Hill MAY indeed be true? If they do, that could therefore lead the IRS into potentially pursuing an investigation. And that in turn could potentially lead to loss of tax-exempt status. Continue reading

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2B – General Background on Top Legal Problems for Non-Profits

PART 2. RESEARCH GUIDE TO MARS HILL CHURCH ORGANIZATIONAL/INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

Part 1. Research Guide to Mark Driscoll’s Personal Issues

Part 2. Mars Hill Church Organizational/Institutional Issues

  • Part 2A. Five types of organizational forms found in “Mars Hill.” Official source links and summary profiles.
  • Part 2B. General background on top legal problems for non-profits.
  • Part 2C. Five potential legal/ethical problems: inurement; misappropriation of funds solicited with a specified designation; spoliation of evidence; constitution, bylaws, and board structure; and conflicts of interest.

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

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2E – Research Guide Table of Contents

Synthesizing the “Mars Hill Research Guide” and “Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse” Series – Introducing the Capstone Articles and Case Study

Capstone Article 1 – A Critique of the Three Official Options for Dissolution of Mars Hill Church

Capstone Article 2 – Some Words for Discernment for Those from Mars Hill

Capstone Article 3 – Answering the Original FAQ List About Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill

Part 2B. General Background on Top Legal Problems for Non-Profits

The Process in The Next Two Posts

Parts 2B and 2C together create a step-by-step tutorial to help take you to a basic level of understanding on relevant legal and ethical standards regarding key non-profit problems. This base is intended to equip you with a set of “system indicators” for healthy/toxic organizations, so you can evaluate for yourself various allegations of improprieties against Mars Hill and its leaders.

Part 2B covers general legal/ethical background from two sources:

  • IRS requirements for non-profit compliance,
  • An article on Top 10 Legal Problems of Non-Profits.

Part 2C focuses in on five specific potential problems for Mars Hill Church, most of the five being considered both unethical and illegal.

  • Inurement.
  • Misappropriation of funds solicited with a specified designation.
  • Spoliation of evidence.
  • Governance: Constitution, bylaws, and board structure.
  • Conflicts of interest.

At the end of each of these five issues is a do-it-yourself case study section. This features links to primary source original documents by those currently or formerly at Mars Hill Church, and/or to secondary research and analysis posts about Mars Hill Church. Here you can apply the discernment frameworks to specifics about Mars Hill’s organizations (from Part 2A), leaders, and activities and come up with your own conclusions about the relative health or toxicity of the its church system, and what potential consequences you think could and/or should ensue.

Regardless of your eventual findings about Mars Hill Church, if you are involved in a church or ministry non-profit organization yourself, the information in this tutorial could spare you from some potentially disastrous consequences. The problems discussed are ones that harm people. They also waste an organization’s resources. Some can also potentially put the non-profit’s tax-exempt status at risk. So, this information can help your organization to do good plus do no harm, and maintain its tax-exempt status as a corporation created to serve the public interest. Continue reading

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2A – Five Types of Organizational Forms at “Mars Hill” (UPDATED)

PART 2. RESEARCH GUIDE TO MARS HILL CHURCH ORGANIZATIONAL/INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

Part 1. Research Guide to Mark Driscoll’s Personal Issues

Part 2. Mars Hill Church Organizational/Institutional Issues

  • Part 2A. Five types of organizational forms found in “Mars Hill.” Official source links and summary profiles.
  • Part 2B. General background on top legal problems for non-profits.
  • Part 2C. Five potential legal/ethical problems: inurement; misappropriation of funds solicited with a specified designation; spoliation of evidence; constitution, bylaws, and board structure; and conflicts of interest.

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

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide – Part 2E – Research Guide Table of Contents

Synthesizing the “Mars Hill Research Guide” and “Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse” Series – Introducing the Capstone Articles and Case Study

Capstone Article 1 – A Critique of the Three Official Options for Dissolution of Mars Hill Church

Capstone Article 2 – Some Words for Discernment for Those from Mars Hill

Capstone Article 3 – Answering the Original FAQ List About Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill

Purposes and Sources for Part 2

The purposes of Part 2 in this series are to:

  • Give concise definitions and a few links for five different kinds of organizational entities involved in the multi-faceted business of “Mars Hill.”
  • Lay out the landscape of the greater Mars Hill horizon – “as best I can” because it’s complicated. There are at least eight active entities in four different organizational forms with separate governing regulations for each form. In addition, there are at least two active entities in one other organizational form, and at least four inactive LLCs, and an unknown number of other active/inactive related entities.
  • Lay out the background for five specific legal/ethical problems that I believe Mars Hill Church and related entities could be facing – some of which could potentially lead to the loss of Mars Hill Church’s tax-exempt status. These are:
    1. Inurement.
    2. Misappropriation of funds solicited with a specified designation.
    3. Spoliation of evidence.
    4. Constitution, bylaws, and board structure.
    5. Conflicts of interest.
  • Explore some of the crucial questions about these five problem areas that arise from issues of practices at Mars Hill.

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