Ex-Mars Hill Church senior pastor Mark Driscoll is relocating to Phoenix with a mission of church-building, but not yet revealing any specific plans.
“After meeting with many former church leaders for reconciliation and closure in Seattle, our family is in the midst of a new adventure as we have moved to the Phoenix area,” Driscoll said in an email to followers.
Driscoll co-founded the Mars Hill Church in 1996, saw it grow to a mega-church 13 “campuses” in five states, only to have it implode in 2014 amidst sustained charges of staff bullying.
Driscoll became a vortex of controversy. Old remarks — such as calling the United States a “pussified nation” — came back to haunt him. He was accused of plagiarism. It was revealed that the church hired, at a six-figure fee, a consulting firm to artificially hype sales of Driscoll’s book “Real Marriage” to put it on the New York Times bestseller list.
Mars Hill and Driscoll were expelled from Acts29, a national and international “church planting” network which he helped found. Directors of Acts29 suggested that Driscoll take a leave from his ministry and seek assistance.
Driscoll resigned as senior pastor last October, and the church formally dissolved on December 31.
But Driscoll wasted no time in putting up a website, offering his sermons, and becoming a featured attraction at mega-churches around the country and evangelical church conferences in the United States and abroad.
“There are no concrete plans for ongoing local church ministry (in Phoenix) as of yet,” wrote Driscoll. “This remains a calling and desire, but my plans is not to rush into anything. Instead, caring for members of our family, seeking the wise counsel of pastors we are walking with, and building local relations with Christian leaders to help build churches locally and globally is our focus. Beyond that, we will see how the Lord leads.”
Driscoll noted that the board handling Mars Hill assets recently approved sale of assets from Resurgence Ministries “through an independent auction conducted by a law firm. Resurgence was the title of a major evangelical conference once hosted by the Seattle-based church.
“Having now gained first access to these resources, it will be some time before we catalogue an decide what will happen with the content,” Driscoll wrote.
It is unclear what Driscoll meant by “reconciliation and closure in Seattle.”
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