Home Christian News New Church, Similar Stories: Is Mark Driscoll an Abusive Leader?

New Church, Similar Stories: Is Mark Driscoll an Abusive Leader?

Former Trinity Employees Also Speak Out

Chad Freese, who previously worked as Trinity’s head of security, is among the sources who tell Roys that “what happened to the Manueles is the tip of the iceberg.” The church hired a private investigator to track that family 24/7, Freese says, and now disparages them as “a bunch of crazy conspiracy lunatics.”

Freese also describes Driscoll berating staff during meetings and maintaining a loyalty ranking. “It’s disgusting, like a cult,” he told Roys. “The more trust you have on the spectrum, the higher the number, the more access you will get to the family.” He adds, “Everything is about the Driscolls” at Trinity.

Ben Eneas, another former security staffer at the church, said he resigned to avoid being “associated with men of this character.” He described hearing Trinity pastors talk negatively about church members and says he personally experienced being downgraded on Driscoll’s “sliding scale of trust.”

Joey Manuele, Vince’s brother and a former paid intern at Trinity, shared an organizational chart that lists everyone at the church reporting to Driscoll. He also indicates that current church employees—and former ones who signed NDAs—are scared to come forward about the ongoing abuse. “They hide in the shadows because they think [Driscoll] is going to come after them and destroy them and take away their pay,” Joey Manuele told Roys. “That’s basically taking a bribe because he’s paying you to be quiet.”

Another internal document refers to Trinity as “a family business,” but Joey Manuele says any talk of budgets or salaries is off-limits. Neither Trinity nor Driscoll responded to requests for comments.

Warren Throckmorton: New Reports Are No Surprise

Throckmorton, who has blogged about Driscoll for years, wrote, “It should come as little surprise that Mark Driscoll’s new church apparently has solved the elder problem which led to his demise at Mars Hill: Just don’t have any.” He added, “As extensive as Roys’ report is, there are more stories to tell.”

The blogger said former Trinity members have recently begun telling him accounts that sound “remarkably similar” to those from Driscoll’s Mars Hill tenure. The only difference, which Throckmorton calls “major,” is that now “there are no elders who are putting on any brakes” or offering any accountability.

Throckmorton urges current Trinity members to take a close look at what’s happening, including why some churchgoers “simply disappear from attendance without comment.” To those who say Throckmorton shouldn’t dig up the past, he urges them to compare the charges against Driscoll in Seattle and the new allegations in Arizona. “To quote Yogi Berra,” he writes, “it feels like deja vu all over again.”

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Stephanie Martin, a freelance journalist, has worked in Christian publishing for 28 years. She’s active at her church in Lakewood, Colorado, where she lives with her family.