This evening Mars Hill released the following statement on the book marketing story, which I’ll copy here with a few interjections and comments.
In 2011, outside counsel advised our marketing team
They begin weakly by blaming an anonymous third party. Whatever the advice, the marketing team accepted the advice, as did Mark Driscoll, who solicited donations to God’s work so that he could build the huge mailing list that Result Source needed.
to use Result Source to market the Real Marriage book and attain placement on the New York Times Bestseller list. While not uncommon
That others do it isn’t a defense that a pastor ought be using.
I’m not so sure. Tax-exempt donations to a charity were repurposed to purchase a commercial product for the benefit of the charity’s leader. I’m reserving judgment on this for now, but I’m leaning towards doubt on its legality. [Update: I'm now sure that it is illegal.]
this unwise strategy
Why do they think it unwise? It achieved the results they wanted, and they’ve promoted Driscoll since then as a #1 bestselling author. The problem is that it’s deceptive and immoral. Not just unwise.
is not one we had used before or since, and not one we will use again.
No kidding. I’ll bet we’ll never see any reference to the New York Times on any future Driscoll books.
The true cost of this endeavor was much less than what has been reported,
OK, but why not share details? The reports have been around $210,000. Is “much less” $100,000 or $10,000?
and to be clear, all of the books purchased through this campaign have been given away
This doesn’t really solve the stewardship problem. The church purchased Driscoll’s books with tithed money. To whom were the books given, and was that the wisest use of God’s treasure?
or sold through normal channels.
For a profit or a loss? What is a normal channel, assuming these are the bulk books that weren’t distributed through Amazon?
All monies from the sale of Pastor Mark’s books at Mars Hill bookstores have always gone to the church
OK, but does it come close to matching the money that went out from the church?
and Pastor Mark did not profit from the Real Marriage books sold either at the church or through the Result Source marketing campaign.
Sure he did, in two ways. If Driscoll was paid an advance for the book, which he surely was, he wouldn’t be banking royalty checks on these sales, anyway. The question is whether Driscoll gave his advance money back to the church in proportion to the artificial sales from this campaign.
Driscoll has also profited from the speaking fees he has earned by marketing himself as a #1 bestselling author. That’s probably more profitable than the book anyway, and is the reason that the $200,000 was considered an “investment.”
To correct a statement in a recent article, Pastor Sutton Turner was the General Manager, not the Executive Pastor or Executive Elder as reported, at the time he signed with the referenced agreement with Result Source. In the time since this campaign we have established a new Executive Elder team, new Board of Advisors and Accountability, as well as a new marketing team.
At the very end of the statement comes this humdinger:
We are confident that God is preparing Pastor Mark and the ministry of Mars Hill Church for a great harvest of souls in the days ahead.
So what does this mean? Has this story just been a preemptive attack of the Devil because he knows Driscoll’s gearing up for great things?
Whatever repentance would look like from Mars Hill, this isn’t it.
(This post has been updated to reflect that the Result Source campaign cost $210,000, not $220,000.)