Blog Theme: Mars Hill Church – Interview with Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas, Part Two

In this concluding video, former Mars Hill Church executive elders Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas talk about incidents not discussed publicly before. They also describe more personally their feelings about their actions at the church and their hopes for the future.

In this portion of the interview, we cover Mars Hill Global Fund, how public relations were handled at the church, their perspective on Mark Driscoll’s leadership style, James MacDonald’s and Paul Tripp’s resignation, being evicted from the Acts 29 Network, the findings of the investigation of formal charges against Driscoll, his resignation and move to Phoenix. They also weigh in on whether or not they ever saw Driscoll wear a bulletproof vest. There’s a special Easter egg for those interested in James MacDonald.

For those who are interested in Mars Hill because you lived it, or because you want to know how to prevent it, these are important discussions. Here is part two.

CORRECTION (8/20/20): In this interview, Sutton says he doesn’t believe there was enough money to pay Mark Driscoll a severance, and he never saw Driscoll wear a bulletproof vest. After this interview, former Mars Hill staff approached Sutton with new information to correct those points. Please see this post for the details. In short, the staffer said there was a substantial severance and Driscoll wore a vest once in 2008.

Watch part one here.

For all posts on Mars Hill Church, click here.

For all posts on Mark Driscoll, click here.

For all posts on Mars Hill Global Fund, click here.

To watch all interviews reflecting on 15 years of blogging, click here.

10 thoughts on “Blog Theme: Mars Hill Church – Interview with Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas, Part Two”

  1. When I think of people who find their way into positions of power that bring with it high paychecks, and people who play both sides of the fence defending the indefensible while they are in power and being paid nicely, and then turn and claim a false humility and throw rocks at the men and institutions that they were formerly defending, I think of one word:

  2. Found the interview informative. Helpful to be able to identify lessons learned. I had been observing the situation with Mark Driscoll and the growing Mars Hill situation. Mars Hill did seem to be reaching a segment of the population with the Gospel in Seattle. It seemed that Mark was finally growing up when everything “hit the fan” and the consequences of his choices caught up. I found Sutton and Dave’s responses to be humble and didn’t blame Mark for everything. It appears they have learned some lessons as well. Thanks

  3. I lived outside of Seattle through the whole Mars Hill story. But I moved to Spokane in 2011. Soon after I moved they bought an old church here and declared that they were starting up here. I remember a news story where they claimed Spokane, a city filled with Catholic Churches and Presbyterian churches and a university for each of them, was lacking in churches. I never knew what happened to the debt they left here from purchasing the church. My take away from listening to both parts: 1. I’m very happy to be a Presbyterian where we have established paths for recourse when a pastor or anyone is abusive. 2. Also happy to be in a church that has ordained women for over 100 years. When “elders” are all men stuff like this seems more likely. 3. Probably most importantly I bristled at them all having the title of “Pastor “ when none of them seemed to ever pastor anyone. These two only mentioned the congregants a couple of times. And then it was to lament that people were leaving in droves. What has happened to all of the people abandoned by Mars Hill? Did they find another church home where they could heal or did they abandon the church altogether? That’s the story I want to really hear.

    1. Bruskas I can see being called a pastor, he was teaching and leading during that time. I agree w/ you re: Sutton. He seems to have been more of a COO than a teacher / pastor

        1. I should clarify! I agreed w/ the part about the pastor title (from my limited and distant pov). I have no opinions as to the personal interactions / character judgements that Barb made. As I said in a different comment, I think you and Dave gave an excellent interview and appreciated the answers, it made things much more clear. Thanks (and gig’em! 🙂

  4. Haven’t watched this … yet. The first part angered me and also made me very sad. So many thoughts on the words that came out of those men’s mouths

    I have respect for Bruskas. He preached well and seemed to have a love for the Lord and held His word in high esteem. Never spoke with him even to say “good morning”. In the first interview he seemed to be naive about conversions and I say that because he spoke so much about MH music just prior to all the “numbers” of so-called conversions. At one point in this history of MHC you had to show some understanding and not from hearing some song. Then it all became numbers.

    Sutton is an entire different creature. Him I knew. And the farthest example of a pastor you could ever encounter. Manipulative and mean — in spirit and action. I don’t believe a word he says.

    And that’s my attitude before watching part 2. Yet will watch with an open mind.

  5. Seems the guys have acquited themselves fairly well and that all the spin and obfuscation during those times was, if not direclty written by Mark, definitely had his imprimatur which, for me, is also disqualifying behavior. Thanks to all three of you – very good stuff.

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