Mark Driscoll will resurrect his ministry with Easter Sunday “gathering” in Arizona
Ex-Mars Hill Church senior pastor Mark Driscoll, relocated in Arizona, will launch the first “gathering” of his new Trinity Church on Easter Sunday at the Glass and Garden Drive-In Church in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The newly launched Driscoll congregation has signed a rental contract for the 50-year-old church, which opened on Easter Sunday in 1966. The official launch of the church has not yet been announced.
The resurrection of Driscoll’s ministry at Easter comes less than two weeks after four former members of his now-defunct Mars Hill Church filed a racketeering suit against Driscoll and a top aide.
The suit seeks to know how millions of dollars in donations, raised for a planned Jesus Festival and for church “planting” in Ethiopia and India, were actually spent.
Internal documents have indicated that Mars Hill Global used the money to support a few showpiece foreign ministries but spent much of the money in the United States. The church boasted of raising more than $2.1 million for the Jesus Festival and related activities. But the planned festival was called off.
In an email to Religion News Service, Driscoll responded to the racketeering suit by saying: “Unfortunately, false and malicious allegations continue to be made against me. I’m certain the most recent examples are without any merit.
“I remain focused and devoted to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, loving others and praying for my enemies.”
Driscoll has reportedly done little reaching out to those from Mars Hill who have publicly requested reconciliation. He has instead been busy relocating to Arizona.
In Scottsdale, he will be preaching under a concrete dome in an auditorium that seats 1,400. The drive-in portion is gone. Driscoll believes that God has “supernaturally provided” the new home to his newly formed church.
On its website, Trinity Church quotes Driscoll as saying: “God is planting The Trinity Church and we are following his leadership. God has a plan that has been 50 years in the making.
“My youngest son and I first walked around the building after baseball practice late one night. Still in his uniform, under the moonlight of a warm and clear evening, my little buddy folded his hands and prayed that Jesus would provide us the building to worship Him in. God answered his prayer.”
It is hard to believe that two years ago, Mars Hill Church under Driscoll was imploding. The 18-year-old, Seattle-based church once drew 13,000 regular worshipers to 15 “campuses” in five states.
The megachurch came tumbling down in 2014. Driscoll faced charges of plagiarism in his book “Real Marriage,” and using church money to hire a firm that set up ersatz sales that would scam the book onto The New York Times bestseller list.
A church-planting group that Driscoll helped found, Acts 29, expelled Driscoll and struck Mars Hill from its membership. Its directors wrote to Driscoll, calling on him to take leave of his ministry and seek professional counseling.
The end came when 21 former pastors and elders brought misconduct allegations against Driscoll. The allegations were sustained by an internal investigation, in a report that has never been released.
Driscoll resigned as senior pastor on Oct. 15, 2014, and Mars Hill announced its pending dissolution two weeks later. The church formally went out of business on Jan. 1, 2015.
By that time, however, Driscoll had already set up a website, offering his past sermons. He had already appeared at the Gateway Conference, a megachurch gathering in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Driscoll has made regular appearances at evangelical Christian events, at churches from Anchorage to Amarillo. He moved with his family to Phoenix, as a place to rise from the ashes of Mars Hill.
Warren Throckmorton, a Pennsylvania college professor who writes about Driscoll for the Patheos website, is not surprised at the “modest open house and prayer meeting” slated for the Feast of the Resurrection.
“When Mark Driscoll ran Mars Hill Church, Easter Sunday was a big deal on the church calendar,” said Throckmorton. “It is no surprise then that the first gathering of The Trinity Church will be on Easter Sunday in their new/old location.”
Source: By Joel Connelly, Mark Driscoll will resurrect his ministry with Easter Sunday “gathering” in Arizona, Seattlepi.com, http://www.seattlepi.com/, http://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Mark-Driscoll-will-launch-ministry-resurrection-6885689.php, Published 11/03/2016. (Accessed 13/03/2016.)
Categories: Mars Hill