Capstone 2-2: Restitution

Thought #2 ~ For Current and Recent Mars Hill Leaders:

“If you do not show genuine pastoral care now for parishioners harmed in your past, why should anyone think you will do anything different or better in the future?”

From the number of personal stories, articles, and comments posted in social media, it seems obvious that Mars Hill Church has produced a lot of “walking wounded.” Some remain inside the system. Others have gone out or been forced out. While disciples must discern and decide for themselves where, when, and how they will move forward, what do we do if we see they have been hurt in a situation – or will be harmed if they enter it or stay in it? And what will you do if you were part of the system that harmed them? Continue reading

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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?
Continue reading

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

Conducting Restitution When Our Leadership Causes Damage

Introduction

In May 17, 2014, I wrote a guest post for Zach Hoag’s blog, The Nuance. It expanded on a series of tweets that I had posted for the #IStandWithSGMVictims (Sovereign Grace Ministries) hashtag campaign to challenge their leaders about allegations on multiple kinds of abuse. The entire post shares what I believe “restitution” means for the leaders who caused damage to take personal responsibility, how to develop a safer congregational setting, and how to deal with leaders who refuse their responsibility.

I previously only posted a section of this article on my blog, plus other snippets of articles and tweets related to the Sovereign Grace Ministries hashtag campaign. You’ll find that at Thoughts on Abuse, Position, Power – and Restitution. I am now posting the entire guest article on restitution here, because I will refer to it in my Capstone series that synthesizes and summarizes my research findings about toxicity in the Mars Hill Church system. Its leaders seriously need to take responsibility and make restitution, so this article’s suggestions for similar needs by leaders at Sovereign Grace Ministries is even more relevant now. 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

Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse – Part 3F – Step 5, Layer 2. Abusive Leaders Need to Deal with Interpersonal Issues

Part 3 – Concepts, Questions, and Continuums for Building a Comprehensive “Remediation Plan”

Part 3F. Step 5, Layer 2.

Abusive Leaders Need to Deal with Interpersonal Issues

ABUSIVE LEADERS

Layer 1 – How to determine the levels of personal growth and recovery needed by leaders who harm others, regardless of how gifted they are or how much they help others.

Layer 2 – How to identify what levels of peace-making are needed in personal relationships where a leader has caused damage.

AFFECTED GROUPS

Layer 3 – How to ensure individuals qualified for roles to lead the organization stay, when those disqualified should be removed, and when/if they should ever be restored to a former position.

Layer 4 – How to discern whether an organization that is toxic can be repaired, or should not even survive. Continue reading

Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse – Part 3G – Step 5, Layer 3 – Affected Groups Need to Deal with Toxic Leaders

Part 3 – Concepts, Questions, and Continuums for Building a Comprehensive “Remediation Plan”

Part 3G. Step 5, Layer 3.

Affected Groups Need to Deal with Toxic Leaders

ABUSIVE LEADERS

Layer 1 – How to determine the levels of personal growth and recovery needed by leaders who harm others, regardless of how gifted they are or how much they help others.

Layer 2 – How to identify what levels of peace-making are needed in personal relationships where a leader has caused damage.

AFFECTED GROUPS

Layer 3 – How to ensure individuals qualified for roles to lead the organization stay, when those disqualified should be removed, and when/if they should ever be restored to a former position.

Layer 4 – How to discern whether an organization that is toxic can be repaired, or should not even survive.

[Click on the chart to view a larger version.]

Step 5, Layer 3 ~ Affected Groups Need to Deal with Toxic Leaders

Step 5, Layer 3 ~ Affected Groups Need to Deal with Toxic Leaders

Introduction

At this point, we switch from a focus on the individual leader with problems to address, to move to the organizations they’ve built. These are influenced by and infused with toxic strategies and structures, processes and procedures. Addressing them means shifting from individual responsibility to corporate discernment and decision-making. To put it bluntly: At this Layer, the sidelined leader is no longer in the driver seat. Period. Continue reading