Warren Throckmorton has gotten his hot little hands on a copy of a flowchart showing Mark Driscoll’s church structure, compliments of a former church employee who forwarded it along.
With a heading of “The ministry of The Trinity Church is ruled by God, influenced by Wise Counsel, governed by a board, led by the Senior Pastor, run by staff, and carried out by Team Trinity” we see that there are no elders in sight, confirming what we wrote a few days ago in our “Mark Driscoll Shuns Elders and Accountability at New Church” post where we explained that by not having elders, Driscoll has created a power structure that removed any of the limiting factors that previously constrained him.
This is to ensure that what happened to him at Mars Hill, where he resigned in disgrace after his elder board finally grew a spine and held him accountable for years of abusive behavior, can never happen again.
Instead of elders, we see five other pastors, Brandon Anderson, Eden Fine, Darien Bennett, Carl Steele, and Landon Chase. None of these men function in the office of an elder with the accountability and decision-making process that goes with it. The “wise counsel” he refers to is likely his small corporate board made up of a handful of people like Randall Taylor and Jimmy Evams, some who don’t even go to his church, and others who aren’t even pastors.
As for the reason this matters, Throckmorton explains:
A consequence of Driscoll’s control of the church is the blurring of lines between the church and his personal nonprofit ministry – Real Faith (formerly called Mark Driscoll Ministries). When you go to the Real Faith website, you find all the same sermon content that is also hosted at The Trinity Church. Driscoll uses the material he preaches at the church to raise money for his personal ministry. Last year, according to his 2020 990 IRS submission, Real Faith took in $555,182 in contributions.
Because Real Faith is a nonprofit organization, Driscoll has to file a 990 form which allows public disclosure of some aspects of his tax exempt activities. However, since The Trinity Church is considered a church [is it really, without elders? – Ed.], no such disclosure forms are required. Thus, there is no public accounting of the church finances. According to former staff and members I spoke with, no financial statements are available to church members.
Not only are financial disclosures not available to church members, but the church’s bylaws are apparently not available to congregants either. Add this to the fact that staff members are forced to sign non-disclosure agreements and you have the making of Mars Hill 2. [Editor’s note: the sequel is rarely any better than the original, and this is looking like a perfect-storm level of disaster coming.]
All this has led one woman, Dee Holmes, to show up at The Trinity Church and kick up a storm, blitzkrieging the congregants in a one-woman protest by talking with them and loudly bemoaning Driscoll’s lack of elders while holding a slew of handmade signs. (The first and second signs are a reference to this story, where Mark is alleged to have called authorities on a congregant and kicked the family out of the service because their son shared a consensual kiss with Mark’s daughter.)
The sound is not so hot on this, but by memory he said “two elders.” Hope this helps. pic.twitter.com/SAOoDYRnIF— Dee *Professional Cat Herder* Holmes (@mmmirele) May 3, 2021
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