Mark Driscoll's Books in a Mars Hill Ballard Graveyard

Mars Hill Ballard Campus was put on the market in October 2014 and then sold in early 2015 for $9-million. When the building changed hands to Quest Church in Seattle, the contents were abandoned by Mars Hill’s leadership. One casualty was Mark Driscoll’s book A Call to  Resurgence, left behind in bulk during the Mars Hill rapture.

Use by permission of Alex Rozier
Use by permission of Alex Rozier

That is a lot of money in books. It is surprising that Mars Hill’s leadership did not either donate or sell these books. Most likely, they were purchased originally with funds donated by individuals who attended Mars Hill.
Based on conversations I had with former marketing and communications staff back in 2014, I believe this book did not use Result Source to game the New York Times system but still involved bulk purchases in house. To my knowledge, this book did not make the NYT bestseller list. It is hard to make a case that this bulk book purchase benefited Mars Hill Church when the books died in a dumpster.
Thanks to Alex Rozier with King5 in Seattle who sent this picture to me after he obtained it recently.

About That Resurgence Auction Mark Driscoll Won

Earlier this week, Mark Driscoll sent an email to a mailing list that he won at a Mars Hill Church auction. He said it this way:

The Mars Hill Church board also very recently approved the sale of the assets of The Resurgence ministries through an independent auction conducted by a law firm. Having now gained first access to these resources, it will be some time before we catalogue and decide what will happen with the content.

However, if you are newly receiving this email it is likely because you were part of The Resurgence mailing list.

These assets were valued at $100,000 last year and were being offered to the public for sale via attorney Steven Goodspeed, the same attorney who registered Mark Driscoll’s short-lived Learning for Living non-profit trademark. The pitch ran like this:

You are being contacted because it is my understanding you have inquired about purchasing select assets related to the website and domain name.  We appreciate your expression of interest and are reaching out to interested parties and soliciting offers for this website content, technology, accounts, etc.
The asking price is $100,000 and the Resurgence content will be sold to the best offer subject to an undisclosed reserve.  Your offer may be more or less than the asking price.
  • We will be taking offers until 1/05/2015
  • We will choose an offer on or before 01/15/2015
  • Please direct any questions and offers to me, Steven Goodspeed
This could be the auction Driscoll is referring to. Emails to Mars Hill and Steven Goodspeed attempting to verify it were not returned.
Mars Hill did get some offers but turned them down. In March, the Resurgence mailing list resurfaced as the main product offered by an anonymous entity called “Church Leaders List.” Actually, former Mars Hill Church spokesperson Justin Dean illegally sold the list to Craig Gross. Dean later apologized to Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church and everybody else. I confirmed with sources that the list was still owned by Mars Hill as of late March.
Sometime between April and this month, Driscoll apparently purchased The Resurgence assets from what he says was the “Mars Hill Church board” (who is still on that board?). I cannot verify if there was a renewed push to offer the assets on the market as Driscoll’s description implies. I am aware of individuals who expressed interest or made offers who were not contacted to offer a bid or make a counteroffer. This may have been a backroom deal or it may all be fine. I am skeptical that anyone who knows will ever say.

Apparently, Justin Dean Apologizes for Using Mars Hill Church's Mailing List

Former Mars Hill Church’s public relations spokesperson Justin Dean has apparently apologized for selling Mars Hill Church’s mailing list. I say apparently, because he doesn’t say exactly what he did.

Because there has been much speculation about this online, and people I love have been hurt because of my actions, I wanted to provide some further clarity regarding my earlier blog post about the list of church leaders.

I want to be clear that what I did was wrong, and that I did not work in concert with or in cooperation with anyone else, including current or past employees of Mars Hill or Pastor Mark Driscoll. I operated on my own accord, without their knowledge, and without their authority. I exercised terrible judgment and I regret my decisions. I am hoping that by posting this the speculation around them will stop.

I neglected to think how my actions would affect the outstanding men and women who stayed behind at Mars Hill, some of them volunteers, who manage and protect the remaining assets as they wind down the organization. Nor did I realize how my actions would harm their families or their reputation. This was certainly not my intention, and I am deeply sorry for the trouble I have caused them.

Under no compulsion other than my conscience and the Holy Spirit, I have admitted in detail my wrong doing and repented to current Mars Hill leadership, and by God’s grace I have received their unconditional forgiveness. I am also very sorry to everyone on the email list and I please ask for your forgiveness as well. Please note that any further use of this list is forbidden and would be illegal without the permission of Mars Hill Church.

From the context, it appears that he is admitting selling the list. However, if this is not what he is admitting, I hope he will contact me with the details.

His twitter account is also back up.

For the background on this story, see this post and this post.

This apology doesn’t address who was actually selling the list or how they got it. According to the Church Leaders List website, the list was maintained by a group of unnamed Christian leaders.

This website is managed by a group of Christian leaders, however we are not able to provide support at this time. If you have questions you can contact us on Twitter @listchurch.

We still don’t know who they are. The owners of the are hidden behind a domain privacy service and Dean doesn’t make it clear whether or not he is one of the leaders or if he just referred buyers (e.g., Craig Gross) to the leaders.


How Did Church Leaders List Get Mars Hill Church's Email List?

Initially, the story of Craig Gross buying an email list from Church Leaders List seemed like a marketing story gone sideways. However, there appears to be much more to the matter.
At the end of Christianity Today’s article on this, Bob Smietana wrote:

On Tuesday, Dean apologized for his part in the drama over the list. He admitted that he’d been involved the initial sale of the list to (screen cap of page now removed from the web).

Now Justin Dean’s website is down (and his Twitter page has been removed) and so that statement is not available (except via Google cache) and screen cap below.
According to Craig Gross’ explanation, Dean’s involvement may have been that Dean was I asked Dean yesterday and today about his dealings with Church Leaders List but have not heard back from him. Gross wrote:

I found  it interesting that as soon as I posted this that Justin Dean posted a blog on his website that he somewhat apologized for distributing the list to me. Lets be clear, he sold the list to me. He didn’t broker a transaction. He sold me the list along with several other people who paid $1350-$1500 for the list.

I asked the lawyer that was in charge selling the assets for 100k earlier in 2014 and he said that no one has purchased the rights to sell these assets yet.

I have seen communications which indicate to me that Mars Hill Church has not sold The Resurgence email lists. Thus, if the lists have not been sold by Mars Hill Church, then how did Church Leaders List get them?
From my conversations with former Mars Hill staff, I believe there is a limited group of people who have access to the lists.
Mars Hill Church is still a viable entity but has not responded to repeated requests for information or comment. Given the non-profit status of the church, the public and former members still have an interest in their operations. If the church is selling member emails without permission, then they should come forward and acknowledge this. If not, then the question remains, how did Church Leaders List get that information?

Anti-Porn Ministry Buys Mailing List; Turns Out It Includes Mars Hill Church's The Resurgence Emails

UPDATE: It appears that the website used to purchase the list is now down and went down after Craig Gross pointed out where he got the list. I have a screen cap of it and it still exists on Google’s cache. The website does not identify the mailing list as being The Resurgence’s list. It seems Craig Gross didn’t know what he was getting into when he purchased the list at the recommendation of Justin Dean. I am wondering how Church Leaders List (which is now gone from Twitter — see the cache — and the web) got the emails.
See screen caps at the end of the post.
(Beginning of original post)
There is some irony in this story.
Craig Gross, founder of has purchased the mailing list of Mars Hill Church’s training ministry, The Resurgence. In an email forwarded to me by several people (thanks Joe, Brandon and others), he offers a book called Open. Then, in his pitch for accountability software, he specifically identifies Mark Driscoll as an example of someone who was not open to accountability. From the email:

From: Craig Gross <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 4:53 PM
Subject: Mark Driscoll – The Real Story
my name is Craig Gross. I started 15 years ago to help people with porn addiction. We then created an accountability app called about 9 years ago and have been helping people stay accountable and safe on the internet ever since. In fact, X3watch now has over 1 million users and counting!

Two years ago, we partnered with Mark Driscoll and the Resurgence to be a major sponsor at the R13 conference, meaning we were able to have our logo and product talked about from the stage. The conference was great, our team met Mark and his staff, and we were able to help hundreds of pastors stay accountable to one another, their spouses, and their church staff.

This is where the story gets hard. I’ve seen a lot of pastors come and go because of extramarital affairs, flirting, porn addiction, gambling addictions, and a whole mess of other stuff. It’s never easy to see a pastor, leader or friends shipwreck their life because of bad choices. Usually they lose their spouse, respect from their kids, their extended family, and their job.

With Mark, the details are different but the core truth remains the same: he didn’t have people speaking into his life to help him make the best choices. This was his downfall. He didn’t let anyone in to help guide him, to speak truth to him, to coach him, to tell him when decisions might be a bad idea.

He didn’t make himself accountable.

As a leader, if you don’t have accountability, your time is coming. You will fall. I’m not saying this to scare you (okay, maybe I am), but it’s for your own good. I hope you all are choosing to be a leader that’s OPEN.

I wrote a book called “OPEN.” It deals with people coming to terms with all their sins and living a life that is transparent and honest.

I want to give you this book FREE. Also I want to give you 50% off of our premium accountability software. This will help you stay accountable online, filter the internet for your family, and help create a legacy worth talking about for generations to come. Simply use the code “resurgence” when you check out at You will get a link to the book once you create your account.

Keep the Faith and Stay OPEN.

Craig Gross

A follow up letter was mailed to the recipients of the first clarifying how xxxchurch got the email addresses:

On Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 6:33 PM, Craig Gross <[email protected]>, wrote:

Hey Guys and Gals, 

I sent you an email earlier. Just to be clear.
I apologize if my email caught you off guard. I bought an email list from Mark’s right hand guy at Mars Hill told us that this list was the Resurgence list. 


So the Resurgence mailing list is being used to promote marketing that uses Mark Driscoll as an example of what not to do.
Gross called on Driscoll to step down in early August of 2014.

Sounds like it could be an interesting book.
The Resurgence domain was for sale for $100k; the email list at the time was nearly 60k.
Below is the screen cap of the Church Leaders List Twitter account:
A pdf of the website (now down) is here. A check of it will show that the source of the emails is not identified. How did people get on this list? It appears that whoever is behind Church Leaders List doesn’t want anyone to know. Another unanswered question is did the people behind Church Leaders List have permission to sell these emails to any willing buyer?