SEATTLE -- A group of former pastors from Mars Hill Church have filed formal charges against the church's Senior Pastor Mark Driscoll.
All 21 pastors have left or been let go from the church. The 11-page complaint filed with the executive elders at Mars Hill alleges Driscoll's abusive and intimidating behavior toward church leaders, staff and members.
"For me it was hard. I had been silent for seven years," said Lief Moi, who is one of the 21 pastors who lodged the complaint with the church.
Moi was also one of the co-founders of Mars Hill Church in 1996. He left the church in 2007 after what he calls controlling and manipulative behavior of his own.
Moi said he was not happy with the direction of the church and quietly resigned. After seven year of healing and reflection, he felt like it was time to come forward about his concerns for the future of Mars Hill.
"Part of me felt relief. The biggest thing is a deep compassion and concern for Mark and his family," said he said.
The charges allege 25 instances over the last four years where Driscoll is accused of inappropriate behavior, including bullying, threatening, domineering and shaming of church leaders and members.
The charges filed by the pastors includes:
• "Pastor Mark exhibits lack of self-control by his speech and by verbally assaulting others."
• "Pastor Mark exhibits anger and ungraceful ways of dealing with those with whom he disagrees and who he disagrees with. He does this by (among other ways) putting people down, caricaturing and dismissing.
• "We believe that the way Pastor Mark leads has created a culture of fear instead of a culture of candor and safety. People are often afraid to ask questions or challenge certain ideas."
• "Pastor Mark is verbally abusive to people who challenge him, disagree with him, or question him."
An incident was also noted in the statement of charges where Driscoll used profanity in discussion with a church elder.
In recent days Driscoll was let go from the ACTS 29 Network, and removed from two other Christian conferences.
Mars Hill church released this statement to KOMO 4 News:
"We take these allegations seriously and we are thankful that we have a process in place where allegations will be reviewed by our Board and our elders. As it is relatively new that these former elders submitted this, at this time we don't have any information on how long that process will take or what the outcome will be, but we look forward to having Pastor Mark back from vacation this Sunday."