The former pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Mark Driscoll, has announced his move to Phoenix, Arizona, but says there are "no concrete plans for ongoing local church ministry as of yet".
Driscoll resigned from the church last October 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."
The planned move to Phoenix was revealed by blogger Warren Throckmorton in May. Throckmorton's sources told him then Driscoll aimed to plant a new church in the area, though plans were "at an exploratory stage".
In his email, Driscoll said he has gained "first access" to material sold by The Resurgence ministries, an archive of material from Mars Hill designed to help churches engage in culturally relevant evangelism. He says that the Mars Hill board "approved the sale of the assets of The Resurgence ministries through an independent auction conducted by a law firm". Driscoll implies that he bought the material – which includes an extensive mainling list – saying: "Having now gained first access to these resources, it will be some time before we catalogue and decide what will happen with the content."
In his post, Throckmorton says: "In any case, I wonder where the independent auction was advertised. Who knew about it and participated? And what does 'first access' mean?"
Driscoll recently appeared in a video interview with Hillsong founder Brian Houston. Hillsong conferences in Australia and London were picketed by protesters objecting to his return to public ministry without an evident process of repentance and discernment.