Mark Driscoll announces launch of new church in Phoenix
Mark Driscoll is to open a new church in Arizona following his well-documented resignation from Mars Hill in October 2014.
In an email to supporters, Mark and his wife Grace have announced the launch of The Trinity Church in Phoenix, Arizona, named after Grace's home church in Seattle.
In a similar leadership structure to Driscoll's former church, four male pastors are listed as providing "wise counsel". They include Larry Osborne, a former member of the board of advisers at Mars Hill, as well as Randal Taylor, Jimmy Evans and Robert Morris. Taylor, Evans and Morris also sit on the church's legal governing board, or board of directors.
The church's website contains an extensive list of other high-powered church leaders praying for Driscoll's new venture.
Although conservative theologian Wayne Gruden was initially listed on the prayer team, his name has since been removed without explanation.
Josh McDowell, author and evangelical apologist, is on the list alongside Perry Noble, senior pastor at New Spring Church in South Carolina, and Trevor Barton, lead pastor at The Creek Churck, Kentucky.
Andy Girton and Brandon Anderson, two former staff members at Mars Hill, are listed as associate pastors.
Although Driscoll's biography on the new site admits the family have had "the most challenging year of their lives" there is no explicit mention of Driscoll's former church, Mars Hill in Seattle. The church disbanded following Driscoll's resignation as accusations of bullying, plagiarism, emotional abuse and manipulation mounted against him.
"He took over a year off from local pastoral ministry to learn, repent, grow, heal, and meet with many people involved," The Trinity Church's website states.
"During this time, Pastor Mark and Grace walked with professional and pastoral counsel who have all agreed that they and their children are ready to return to local church ministry with a new season and a new church in the new city of Phoenix."
"It's the elephant in the room," said Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Pennsylvania's Grove City College and blogger who has documented Driscoll's saga at Patheos.
Nevetheless Throckmorton admits Driscoll has managed to assemble "a pretty high powered group" behind the launch of Trinity.
Brian Jacobs, a former deacon at Mars Hill, said he found it surprising so many people would publicly declare their support, despite Grudem's disappearence from the list.
The meeting point for Trinity is unknown and the church's official address is a P.O. box in Pheonix.