CASE STUDY Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll

NOTE: Much of the research material on laws, organizational systems, non-profits, etc., from throughout this case study has had an updated version posted at Futuristguy’s Systemic Abuse Researcher Notes. For details of what that site covers, see the Table of Contents page there. It gives an overview of the main topics and pages, plus a complete list of pages and sections. The text in this case study has been left unchanged here.

Six months of research on the Mars Hill Church Meltdown ~ vastly reorganized and easier to navigate.

On This Page:

  • 00-0. Mars Hill Case Study ~ Table of Contents
  • 00-1. Introduction
  • 00-2. Notes
  • 00-3. Resource Sites with First-Person Accounts and Analysis
  • 00-4 General Research Sources

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00-0. Mars Hill Case Church Study ~ Table of Contents

Mars Hill Church Case Study

  • 00-1. Introduction
  • 00-2. Notes
  • 00-3. Resource Sites with First-Person Accounts and Analysis
  • 00-4 General Research Sources

01 Lawsuit Background

  • 01-1. Articles About a Potential Lawsuit Against Mars Hill Leaders
  • 01-2. Resources about RICO – Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations – Civil Lawsuits and Criminal Cases
  • 01-3. Additional Research Sources
  • 01-4. A Lawsuit Against Mars Hill Church Could be a Just Cause Because …

02 Organizational System

  • 02-1. Research Sources – State Regulatory Agencies
  • 02-2. PDF Charts of Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll-Related Entities
  • 02-3. Overview: Five Types of Organizational Forms Related to “Mars Hill”
  • 02-4. Type #1 – Tax-Exempt Organization (EO) – 501(c)(3) Non-Profit
  • 02-5. Mars Hill Church Compilation Reports and IRS Forms 990
  • 02-6. Type #2 – Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • 02-7. Type #3 – For-Profit Corporation
  • 02-8. Type #4 – Charitable Remainder UniTrust (CRUT)
  • 02-9. Type #5 – Revocable Living Trusts
  • 02-10. Official Source Links and Summary Profiles
  • 02-11. Mars Hill Church Organizational System Graphic
  • 02-12. Mark Driscoll and Related Personal Trusts, LLCs, etc.
  • 02-13. Mars Hill Church Campuses
  • 02-14. A Critique of the Three Official Options for Dissolution of Mars Hill Church

03 Legal Issues Background

  • 03-1. Introduction to General Non-Profit Issues
  • 03-2. IRS Requirements for Non-Profit Compliance
  • 03-3. Consider Top 10 Legal Problems of Non-Profits

04 Specific Legal/Ethical Issues

  • 04-1. Probable Defendants, Possible Issues
  • 04-2. Introduction to Five Potential Legal/Ethical Problems for Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll, and Its Other Leaders
  • 04-3. #1 Inurement
  • 04-4. #2 Restricted/Designated Solicited Funds
  • 04-5. Following the Funds …
  • 04-6. #3 Spoliation of Evidence
  • 04-7. #4 Governance Policies and Practices
  • 04-8. #5 Conflicts of Interest
  • 04-9. Trademarks and Mars Hill Church

05 Leadership Problems

  • 05-1. Background on Leadership Issues at Mars Hill
  • 05-2. Mark Driscoll’s Personal Issues and Leadership Disqualification: Formal Charges and Asking Key Questions

06 Partnership Problems

  • 06-1. Key Associations and Contractual Partnerships
  • 06-2. Acts29 Network
  • 06-3. Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)
  • 06-4. The Gospel Coalition
  • 06-5. ResultSource, Inc.
  • 06-6. Tyndale House Publishers
  • 06-7. Concluding Thoughts

07 Related Abuse and Recovery Issues

  • 07-1. Capstone Series
  • 07-2. Deconstructing the Christian Industrial Complex
  • 07-3. Emergent Village/Emergent Movement
  • 07-4. Recovery from Spiritual Abuse
  • 07-5. Responsibility for Spiritual Abuse

08 Conclusions: Mark Driscoll’s Culture of Contempt

09 Conclusions: Lessons to Learn from the Meltdown of Mars Hill

10 FAQs (responses to be added)

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00-1. Introduction

I have compiled this information of select resources to provide what I think will be a helpful guide to those who want to research and decide for themselves about the serious set of issues involving Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church, and other present and former leaders there. I have been tracking many aspects of this situation since at least 2008, some even earlier. This represents my best attempts to synthesize what I have learned and present it in an organized way that can help introduce the concerns to others.

Much of this information previously appeared in my series of posts in the Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Research Guide, and the related Capstone articles on my findings. The materials represent my research work and analysis from the last half of 2014. Much happened with Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll that is not covered in this material, or that may make details here out of date or possibly incorrect now, even if they were accurate at the time written in 2014. I have not substantially changed the content between those posts and these pages, other than reorganizing the material, cutting out duplication, and making a few edits and updates. Because of other writing projects that take precedence starting in 2015, I have no plans to regularly update this case study at this time.

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00-2. Notes

Federal non-profit and state official business/corporation filings are all considered part of the public record.

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00-3. Resource Sites with First-Person Accounts and Analysis

These sites share personal stories of enduring spiritually abusive behaviors from Mark Driscoll and/or at Mars Hill Church, and may also include documentation, research materials, and analysis.

Joyful Exiles

Mars Hill Refuge

Musings From Under the Bus

Practical Theology for Women

Repentant Pastor (Updated February 2020 to Internet Archive address. You will likely need to search that stored website for the relevant articles.)

We Love Mars Hill (Updated February 2020 to Internet Archive address. You will likely need to search that stored website for the relevant articles.)

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00-4. General Research Sources

The following are key bloggers who have posted research and analysis materials about the situation at Mars Hill Church..

James Duncan [Pajama Pages]. For a listing of his articles on Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll, see his tag for Driscoll.

Becky Garrison [especially at Praise the Lord & Pass the Ammunition]. See article listings about Mars Hill Church in her archives.

Warren Throckmorton. See his categories on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. He also uses an extensive set of tags for sub-topics, and those are listed under various issues below. (NOTE: Warren Throckmorton previously blogged at Patheo. I updated the three links in this paragraph to his new site, as of February 2020. I have not updated all links to his current blog. You may need to search his new site for links to relevant posts.)

Dee Parsons and Deb Martin at The Wartburg Watch. See their category for Mark Driscoll.

WenatcheeTheHatchet. Most of his blog is about Mars Hill Church history issues. I will categorize his extensive set of label links later.


One thought on “CASE STUDY Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll

  1. It very clear to me that MH is not a Christian church as advertised. I read several accounts demonstrating that MH is really Scientology for Christians. Demon trials and Elders approving of the word “d–k” in reference to parishioners, claiming to be the one-true-church, shunning of former members, taking piety and accountability to the Nth degree when it comes to members sin but ignoring the log protruding from their own eye…all of these things to keep members under the heavy thumb of church leadership while so called Community Groups keep the natives in line at the local level…Nothing Christian about that.

    I have no doubt thousands have come to Christ and now that MH has dissolved under false leadership and irresponsible and unbiblical financial practices aside from the cruelty listed above, these false profits have been used by Christ in spite of themselves. My prayer is for the former churches rise above the fackery and get right with God and form a truely Biblical form of government for its people.


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