Mark Driscoll signals launch of new church as comeback continues

Mark Driscoll is to start a new church.

Mark Driscoll, the former pastor of the now-defunct Mars Hill Church in Seattle, appears to be on the verge of launching a new congregation.

He is listed as a director of The Trinity Church in Phoenix, Arizona, which was recently incorporated and uses the same correspondence address as his Mark Driscoll Ministries.

The incorporation document says that the church will be a "Bible based Christian Church".

The move was noted by blogger Warren Throckmorton, who also posted the articles of incorporation.

Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill in October 2104 in the wake of a string of revelations about a coercive and bullying culture, plagiarism and allegations that donations had been improperly applied. The church closed at the end of the year.

In an email to supporters Driscoll says that local church ministry "remains a calling and desire, but my plan is not to rush into anything. Instead, caring for each member of our family, seeking the wise counsel of pastors we are walking with, and building local relationships with Christian leaders to help build churches locally and globally is our focus. Beyond that, we will see how the Lord leads."

He announced his move to Phoenix, Arizona in July but said then there were "no concrete plans for ongoing local church ministry as of yet". Throckmorton's sources told him then Driscoll aimed to plant a new church in the area, though plans were "at an exploratory stage".

Driscoll was widely criticised after leaving Mars Hill for a return to public ministry that was seen as too soon after his failings were exposed.

In 2013, before the collapse of the church, Mars Hill counted a weekly attendance of around 12,000. According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Phoenix has 10 'megachurches' – with congregations of more than 2,000 – the largest of which, Phoenix First Assembly of God, has 21,000 members.

Lifestyle