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Author Topic: Pastor Mark Darling-Pastor who abused me  (Read 112314 times)
Scout
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« on: January 06, 2018, 06:13:39 pm »

I announced on Twitter last night (January 5, 2018) as part of the MeToo movement, that Mark Darling abused me and some of the other pastors were told of the abuse and nothing was done.  Mark is still in the pulpit and the other pastors that were made aware of the abuse in 2000 are still there as well.
My hope is that there will be justice for me and the other women Mark Darling has abused.   
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 07:10:33 am by Scout » Logged
Linda
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 08:22:50 pm »

I am so sorry.

Praying for healing and that Truth will prevail.

God bless you.

Is your Twitter announcement something that is public?
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 08:52:42 pm »

I'm so very sorry this happened to you.  I hope you can find justice through and find proper channels to help you through this.  Sad
« Last Edit: March 17, 2018, 05:35:31 pm by AgathaL'Orange » Logged

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Huldah
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 09:22:44 pm »

I'm sorry you had to deal with that. He should never have been allowed to remain in the pulpit after that.
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marie
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2018, 10:27:07 pm »

Thanks Scout for sharing.

I believe that Mark Darling has been spiritually abusive to so many believers in the Evergreen and Rock church's in Minneapolis.  I hope more people will share their specific experiences with Mark D, (or other specific pastors.)  Not to just vent and bad mouth a man or men, but to expose the real abuses and stories of lives that have been damaged.  Souls that have been wounded and traumatized. 
The truth is the truth.  People who have been wounded have very real stories that need to be told, so people can have healing, and GOD's church can flourish.  God's church- not Mark's church.
 I personally know stories of many who have gone to Mark with concerns about his teachings or statements he has communicated from the pulpit. They became the problem. 
 Many of those people have since left the church, and have been labeled as " divisive", or used as a " tool of Satan" to attack Mark. 
Their is a loyalty that the elders have to each other that has harmed so many.  This vow to loyalty above truth is sin.  It is sin that needs to be repented of and renounced publicly.  God is opposed to the proud.  Is Evergreen a flourishing church anymore??  What happened to the vision of being a church planting church that would multiply in the city?  The last church plant was The Urban Refuge around 2003.  The fruit speaks for it self.
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Scout
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 03:56:17 am »

Linda,

My Twitter account is public and is @notabystandermn.

Thanks for your support.

Scout
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Huldah
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 09:01:15 pm »

It's hard to grasp that so many rank-and-file members were shamed, harassed, or driven out of the church over very minor or even imaginary infractions, while a pastor is allowed to stay in spite of a major violation of someone under his spiritual care. If anything, the pastor should be held to a higher level of accountability.

This is so backwards. This cannot be God's heart for His church.
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Scout
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 08:23:51 am »

Huldah,

I agree that many people were shamed and driven out over minor and/or imaginary infractions, as you stated. 

Mark Darling, on many occasions, when he sensed people were suspicious of his inappropriate and highly controlling behavior, would ask his "special" inner circle people to cut off ties from the person that was  beginning to see through to his abusive and controlling actions.  This, of course, was done under the guise that they were not all in for the Gospel like we were.  A good friend of mine (while I was at Evergreen Community Church and in Mark's inner circle)  seemed to see through Mark Darling.  She found him to be controlling and felt uncomfortable around him.  Mark Darling asked me to cut off all ties with her.  I sadly did so.  Years later I apologized to my friend and we are close again.  But still...It seems to speak volumes when a leader needs to remove people from his midst who "see" through him.  Mark's behavior spoke for itself. 

I was abused by him and instead of Mark Darling "being driven out", I was made to be the problem.  I was told that in light of all Mark had done for me, that I was unloving and ungrateful to bring up the abuse.  I was told I was being divisive and slanderous.  I was told I was lying.  I know now this type of response is standard for abusive organizations. 

A person abused by another human is not the problem.  A person calling out an abuser is not unloving and ungrateful, nor divisive or slanderous.  They are not liars.  These people, like me, are brave and courageous human beings. 

Thanks for your support.

Scout
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 08:53:21 am by Scout » Logged
Outtathere
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 02:10:35 pm »

Scout, I am so sorry you went through this!

I don't do Twitter. Could you clarify a bit? My understanding is that #MeToo is specific to people who have faced sexual harassment. I saw in a different post that you mentioned him asking you a very lewd question and I am assuming you are referring to that and not spiritual abuse, per se.

Again, so sorry.
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Linda
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 09:27:06 pm »

One thing that haunts me to this day is something Mark Darling said to me at our final meeting with him. This was the meeting where he asked us to leave the church rather than try to correct their flawed theology (regarding commitment for life to the church and absolute obedience to elders).

It became clear to us over our many months of conversing with ECC pastors that they are a tight knit group and very protective of each other. I was troubled by this and said to Mark Darling, "I think you should know that there is an unhealthy loyalty here and it's to the point that in my opinion, a pastor could have had an affair and no one in the congregation would ever know about it."

Mark's reply? "I'm sure it has happened."

What?! He's SURE it has happened? For a group that prides itself on the way they choose elders with the emphasis on CHARACTER, what kind of an answer was that? If he was sure it had happened, he should have done something about it.

I would encourage any pastor who is aware of any disqualifying sin that has been kept from the congregation to man up and bring it to the light so healing, forgiveness, and restoration may begin.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 09:54:31 pm by Linda » Logged

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Scout
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2018, 05:14:02 am »

Linda,

I'm speechless and I'm not, regarding Mark Darling's response to the conversation you had with him (stated above), "that a pastor could have an affair and no one would know about it".

AND that you were asked to leave the church instead of Evergreen correcting flawed theology, it is the standard Evergreen way-"don't like the messenger, then shoot the messenger".

I'm so very sorry.  I imagine it was confounding and hurtful.

Scout
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Scout
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2018, 05:20:49 am »

Scout, I am so sorry you went through this!

I don't do Twitter. Could you clarify a bit? My understanding is that #MeToo is specific to people who have faced sexual harassment. I saw in a different post that you mentioned him asking you a very lewd question and I am assuming you are referring to that and not spiritual abuse, per se.

Again, so sorry.


Outtathere,

I'd love to answer your question.  Can you give further explanation as to the particulars of your question, it may help me to know how to respond.

Scout
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Linda
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2018, 08:27:52 am »

Because you have identified yourself, I am reminded of something that happened. There was an all church meeting to explain your situation regarding your return from the church plant. At this meeting, we were all told many things about you ending with WE SHOULD NOT CONTACT YOU TO ASK WHY YOU LEFT. While not specifically stated, the implication I got was that you might take legal action should someone ask you about your departure.

This hits close to home because when we left, we were surprised and saddened that no one asked us why we left. Many years later at the grocery store, someone asked me. I gave my reasons and then, through tears, said, "Thank you for asking me. You are the first person to ever ask me why we left." She said, "Well, when you left, we were told not to ask you why." I was shocked, but had a lot of questions answered.

I am so sorry I did not contact you to hear your side of the story.

Lesson learned: When a pastor tells you to not read a forum, or go to a web site critical of them, or contact anyone to hear their side of the story, head right on over to that site and/or call the other person.

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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2018, 11:11:19 am »

Hi Scout,

I was just unsure if when you said Mark Darling abused you,  you were meaning sexual abuse or spiritual abuse. On a different thread you mentioned him asking you a vulgar question, which in my opinion, is definitely sexual harassment. Sexual abuse is usually defined as molestation and forcing unwanted sexual contact or behavior on another person.

Most of us are in agreement that spiritual abuse takes place in different times and in different forms throughout the movement. This should, in my opinion, lead to the process of resignation amongst leaders, unless they are willing to repent. Sexual abuse demands a forfeiture of ministry. If Mark Darling has done this, it should lead to his removal. Sexual harassment, if proven, also needs to be exposed and should lead to appropriate discipline.

In the church I was involved in, Pastors were often referred to as rock stars. Even musicians and bible study leaders were treated with a certain aura. It would not surprise me if there have indeed been other instances of sexual abuse or harassment or downright infidelity. However, I have learned of only one instance where it had been exposed.

The other question I would have and am unable to answer is whether or not others have been exposed and if there is a mechanism in place to cover it up. That is speculative, but I do wonder.
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Scout
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2018, 02:04:07 pm »

Because you have identified yourself, I am reminded of something that happened. There was an all church meeting to explain your situation regarding your return from the church plant. At this meeting, we were all told many things about you ending with WE SHOULD NOT CONTACT YOU TO ASK WHY YOU LEFT. While not specifically stated, the implication I got was that you might take legal action should someone ask you about your departure.

This hits close to home because when we left, we were surprised and saddened that no one asked us why we left. Many years later at the grocery store, someone asked me. I gave my reasons and then, through tears, said, "Thank you for asking me. You are the first person to ever ask me why we left." She said, "Well, when you left, we were told not to ask you why." I was shocked, but had a lot of questions answered.

I am so sorry I did not contact you to hear your side of the story.

Lesson learned: When a pastor tells you to not read a forum, or go to a web site critical of them, or contact anyone to hear their side of the story, head right on over to that site and/or call the other person.



Linda,

We never told the pastors of Evergreen that we did not want to be contacted.  In fact, we would have welcomed the opportunity to explain our experience with Mark Darling and Evergreen.  Insinuating that we would take legal action if someone asked about our experience is, yet another example of using coercive control and threats to dictate their narrative; that we were the problem, and Mark and ECC were not.  Those that have been abused typically welcome the opportunity to share their story.  It can be very healing and therapeutic.  Additionally, abused people want their story told so as to possibly prevent others from being abused by the same people. 

We each had a sibling that was at the meeting you refer to.  The pastors who led the meeting were Mark Darling and Mark Bowen.  Mark Bowen told the ECC members to not contact our siblings and their spouses to ask any questions.  He did not inquire whether our siblings and their spouses wanted to be asked questions or not.  Another example, of trying to manage the "story"  through coercive control tactics.

In the end, these are actions of people that are hiding something.  If there is nothing to hide, then there was no need for Mark Darling and Mark Bowen to publicly tell their church members to not contact us or our siblings.

I accept your apology Linda.  Thanks.  I did the same thing to those that left before us.  Sad

Scout

« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 05:13:44 am by Scout » Logged
Linda
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2018, 03:32:41 pm »

I do remember them telling the congregation not to contact your siblings. My recollection is it went something like this, "As you can imagine, this is difficult for _____ and  _____ since they are family, so we would respectfully ask that you not ask them questions about this situation." It was framed in such a was as to appear to protect your siblings from having to answer troubling questions.

The meeting to explain your departure was necessitated by the fact that they had done the huge fundraiser for the Berlin church and suddenly it had fallen apart with people leaving en masse. We all left the meeting going, "Huh? What was that about?," because nothing was truly explained. Everything was stated with smooth, yet vague words. They said they should never have sent you to Berlin, and mentioned vague things like counseling (probably that meeting they referred to in the Twitter reply), I think even marriage problems, but most stuff was vague. Even at the end where they suggested no one contact you it was clear that we shouldn't, but stated more like, "It would be very unwise for anyone to contact them. We don't know what might happen in a situation like this and it might not be pretty..." My mind went to thinking they were suggesting you might take legal action, they never said that. Maybe they just meant you might punch us in the nose! But the message was DON'T CONTACT THEM AND DON'T TALK TO THEIR FAMILY.

The other thing I remember from that meeting is Mark Darling saying, with great emotion, how difficult it is to be a pastor and then said, "The sheep will kill you." I thought, "Wow, a shepherd who dislikes the sheep," and was reminded that a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.

Correction: My husband thinks this was said at a different leader's meeting. I just remember being startled when it was said. One thing I have noticed with past abuse situations I have witnessed is that the abuser often tries to do "preemptive" discrediting of the victim.



Blessings to you for bringing things to the light. May others feel empowered to tell their story.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 05:24:51 pm by Linda » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2018, 04:28:34 pm »

I do remember them telling the congregation not to contact your siblings. My recollection is it went something like this, "As you can imagine, this is difficult for _____ and  _____ since they are family, so we would respectfully ask that you not ask them questions about this situation." It was framed in such a was as to appear to protect your siblings from having to answer troubling questions.

The meeting to explain your departure was necessitated by the fact that they had done the huge fundraiser for the Berlin church and suddenly it had fallen apart with people leaving en masse. We all left the meeting going, "Huh? What was that about?," because nothing was truly explained. Everything was stated with smooth, yet vague words. They said they should never have sent you to Berlin, and mentioned vague things like counseling (probably that meeting they referred to in the Twitter reply), I think even marriage problems, but most stuff was vague. Even at the end where they suggested no one contact you it was clear that we shouldn't, but stated more like, "It would be very unwise for anyone to contact them. We don't know what might happen in a situation like this and it might not be pretty..." My mind went to thinking they were suggesting you might take legal action, they never said that. Maybe they just meant you might punch us in the nose! But the message was DON'T CONTACT THEM AND DON'T TALK TO THEIR FAMILY.

The other thing I remember from that meeting is Mark Darling saying, with great emotion, how difficult it is to be a pastor and then said, "The sheep will kill you." I thought, "Wow, a shepherd who dislikes the sheep," and was reminded that a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.

Blessings to you for bringing things to the light. May others feel empowered to tell their story.

Linda,

Thanks for your continued posts and remembrances. 


WE LEFT EVERGREEN COMMUNITY CHURCH BECAUSE OF THE ABUSE.
WE LEFT EVERGREEN COMMUNITY CHURCH BECAUSE OF THE ABUSE.

Mark Darling saying, "The sheep will kill you"...How about, "The shepherd will try to kill you?"

Scout
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Linda
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2018, 05:22:09 pm »

Words of comfort from Ezekiel 34

The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; 6 they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.

The Lord God Will Seek Them Out
11 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.[a] I will feed them in justice.
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Linda
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2018, 09:31:41 am »

FYI:

The Tweet.

ECCs reply.

https://twitter.com/notabystandermn/status/949408385480486912
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Huldah
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2018, 12:01:16 pm »

Oh, my gosh. So they're painting you, Scout, as someone who pocketed a million-dollar gift, given to you in good faith for the benefit of others, and then walked away with the money and cut ties arbitrarily.

And they have the gall to say that this forum is slanderous.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 01:26:17 pm by Huldah » Logged
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