Mark Connelly, Phoenix-Area Megachurch Pastor, Resigns Over Alleged Affairs

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stained-glass-jesus.jpg
MAMJODH via Flickr


The lead pastor at one of the largest megachurches in the state resigned after leaders at the Gilbert church heard he'd engaged in multiple extramarital affairs.

In a note posted on the Mission Community Church website, lead Pastor Mark Connelly resigned after he "confessed to the affairs."

mark-connelly.jpg
mission68.org
Pastor Mark Connelly.
According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, the Mission Community Church is the seventh-largest Protestant megachurch in the state, with an average attendance of nearly 6,200 people.

The church, which has existed since 1995, moved into a new, $10 million facility at Elliot and Power roads in Gilbert nearly four years ago.

"This past week, we received information that Mark Connelly had engaged in extramarital, physical affairs with women," the church says in an explanation on its website. "Mark has confessed to the affairs. In following the Biblical teaching in 1 Timothy 3:2-7, on Monday December 30th, 2013, the Board of Servant Leaders asked for, received and accepted Mark's resignation as Lead Pastor of MISSION."

A sermon posted on the church's website shows another pastor explaining to churchgoers how to deal with the situation of the affairs.

Read the church's entire statement below:
This past week, we received information that Mark Connelly had engaged in extramarital physical affairs with women. Mark has confessed to the affairs. In following the Biblical teaching in 1 Timothy 3:2-7, on Monday December 30th, 2013, the Board of Servant Leaders asked for, received, and accepted Mark's resignation as Lead Pastor of MISSION.

Effective immediately, former board member and current executive pastor of ministries Gary Sutliff will be interim lead pastor.

As a church whose vision is to do justice, love, mercy, and walk humbly with God, we have offered counseling and mercy ministry resources to Mark, his family and the other individuals involved. We ask during this time that you respect Mark's privacy and give him and his family time to heal.

During this time, we are calling on the people of MISSION and all followers of Jesus to join with us in praying for wisdom and healing. All are welcome to join us this Tuesday, January 7, at 7p in the Worship Center for a time of prayer.

Grace and peace,

Board of Servant Leaders and Staff Leadership of MISSION
UPDATE January 7: Here's a fairly popular YouTube video of Connelly describing a need for more "mighty men" who supposedly protect women:



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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.



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52 comments
Gotcha
Gotcha

“If they can just love on girls, there’s a place for them there.”

Sexual Predator/Pastor Mark Connelly, “Catalyst Voices.” Youtube.

Mm-hmm.

BelieveME2
BelieveME2

It is all in the name of Jesus huh Connelly.  He has a problem with lust.

collins.fowler
collins.fowler

Religion was born when the first cad met the first fool. And Vagabond; I'd rather burn than live an eternity at the whim of an amoral tyrant.

naoma
naoma

How the "mighty" fall.  I have no religion since I left all churches at age 9 and I am up in years.  But, it always surprises me when the head of a church does not follow the RULES.  Tar and feather him -- perhaps.  No, I forgot he just has to "pray"  (not "PREY") and he will be forgiven.  REALLY?

mscathie123
mscathie123

In Corinthians 5 Paul goes deeply into the problem of immorality within the church at Corinth. He seems to be as mad at the fact that people were "okay" with the immorality as the fact of the immorality itself. So, we are not talking about a church member here that is still learning. We are talking about a seminary educated man of God. Do the research, there is a sermon he wrote that is online. It is when he was pastor at Harmony Bible Church in Iowa. The title of it is "Oh, what a tangled web we weave." It's about sexual sin and avoiding it. So, he obviously knows that he is sinning when he  has affairs with not one but SEVERAL women in the church congregation. I counsel people all the time that are having problems with love and sex addiction. I like to be able to advise them to set up an appointment with their pastor for counseling. I advise them to get into a spirit filled church. I can't do that anymore because there seems to be an epidemic of mega church pastors that have developed a spirit of pride, and are drunk with their own power. God will not be mocked. The blood of their congregants will be on their hands on judgement day. Oh, God will forgive the man, but I pray that he never steps foot in front of a pulpit again. Pastors are called to holiness. You can understand a man being weak once, but several times with several women. That's a spirit of LUST. You can't counsel it, you have to cast it out!

vagabond545454
vagabond545454

Atheist's believe in nothingness when we die, and seem in great humor that those of us who believe will be in awe and shock when we die and nothingness is what we experience, but in reality if this age old question is nothing exists one can experience nothing! Now on the chance God does exist and something exists where our souls do meet some form of judgment, atonement only those who do not believe can experience anything at all, shock and awe will not be for us believers only those who do not believe! Not one is worthy of heaven or salvation, if not for Jesus none of us could enter the Kingdom of Heaven, this preacher is mentioned in the bible under the false prophets, if one can stand in a church and sin as he has done with impunity, no guilt, doubtful he will truly ever repent, the bible covers them goats who are blind and will not meet the measure to be known by Jesus, I am not worried about the splinter in this fellows eye, or them atheists, etc., to busy with the big old splinter in my own eye!

arizonaeagletarian
arizonaeagletarian

How could Connelly not know that he was seducing women with that YouTube clip declaring the need for "mighty men?"

SENTIDOCOMUN
SENTIDOCOMUN

CHURCH IS THE REHAB BUILDING FOR THE SINNER... DON'T YOU GET IT...? WHEN YOU FIND A SAINT GOING TO CHURCH, LET ME KNOW...

NOW THINK ABOUT THIS ONE; GOD, HIS TEACHING, THE BIBLE WHICH IS THE BOOK OF COMMON SENSE IS NOT BEING ALLOWED IN SCHOOLS OR SOME PUBLIC PLACES BUT YET, PEOPLE WHO ARE IN JAIL "SINNERS" WHO GOT CAUGHT OR HAD COMMITTED GREATER SINS, ARE "ENCOURAGED" TO READ THE BIBLE... I WONDER WHY!!!!! YOU ANSWER THAT... WHETHER YOU ARE A BELIEVER OR NOT...  

SIGNED, THE CHRISTIAN SINNER...

Pauliejuanakraquer
Pauliejuanakraquer

Awww, Sheep, let's awll gwive him a GWOOP HUG!

Asshole.. If the church board used the old testament,   ..you'd be dodging rocks.


Oh, and BTW,  FUCK OFF christians. Your religion is THE VERY EVIL you seem to be afraid of. -Think about it..

car_del99
car_del99

He will pull out his " God forgives me " card ,and everything will be back to normal..

He will tell the church " If God forgave me, " so should you... and go back to fleecing the sheep...

chris.m.robert
chris.m.robert

"The 10 Hottest TV News Women in Phoenix" is in the sidebar and I'm wondering if there's any crossover? Or with the "Hottest TV News Men" for that matter...

Victory121
Victory121

God used Mark to deliver his message, just like he has used countless other sinners to bring people back to him. We will never measure up to perfection, that is why God chooses vehicles and messengers that we can relate to to find our way closer to him. David was a murderer, and "a man after God's own heart." Saul murdered thousands of Christians before he found Jesus, became Paul, and wrote most of the New Testament. Mary Magdalene was a prostitute before she found Jesus and God used her to account for Jesus' resurrection. Judas was a betrayer before God used him to do his work, and the list goes on and on.


You see, God doesn't use perfect messengers to do his work, because we would not see God in them. It's too easy to discount someone's perfection or the good around us as things like: luck, circumstance, magic, etc... When God takes something broken and fixes it, or something hurt and repairs it, or something sick and heals it, there is no other explanation than God and his amazing power and love for us...


"God works for the good for those that believe in him." Romans 8:28. 


God is working for our church right now, he is working for Pastor Mark and his family, and he is working for our community. We may not see it, but that is the essence of faith... Many people will leave the church, or abandon God right now. Just know that he is testing you so that you may be confronted and see how deep your faith really is. Many people will grow closer to God through this, their faith will strengthen, as they know they cannot do it alone. 


The church is Jesus' bride, not Mark's possession. We belong to God, and hear his message everyday we are open to it. This is a choice... It comes with incredible responsibility, and Amazing Grace...

66rock
66rock topcommenter

I would hope that his wife heals with a good divorce attorney.  He is just the latest hypocrite to be revealed.  Of course what's up next is the tears of regret and the wonderful exercise in "christian forgiveness".  We've seen this idiotic show before.

integrityinsurance
integrityinsurance

I also go to mission and yes we are all sinners and all hypocrites, we fall short each and everyday that's why we need a personal savior knowing that we can't do it on our own.

This is a wake up call for each and everyone of us.

We must die to ourselves moment by moment each and everyday.

As humans we rate sin but we are not under the law, in Gods eye's each sin is the same.

We need to all come together as one body and give this to God, for us men; this happened for a reason. We need to be intentional with all brothers in Christ and take off our masks and be accountable to one another.

Lets make a commitment as a church body and as spiritual leaders in our home to take our bride's hand and pray with her each and everyday.

I challenge all men of mission and those that want to safeguard there marriage to take this challenge and see what God will do

Those that pray together stay together

Are you men willing to take this 30 day challenge?  

azsunkiss
azsunkiss

More and more people are leaving the church and going back to God!  Count me amongst these people!

I am aware that there are no perfect people on this planet, but this is the 3rd time in a very short amount of time that a pastor at an AZ church I attend has been unable to control himself and committed a BIG wrong.  Enough is enough!

This is not really about whether we forgive them or empathize with them.   These churches exist to help people feel close to God and to feel as though we can worship in a safe place.  I am married and have had trials and tribulations in my marriage, yet I have not committed adultery against my spouse.  I am done excusing the behavior of these "pastors-gone-wrong."  These mega-churches and their hypocrites are no longer meeting my needs!  They are so pathetic!

I will worship the Lord in the safety of my own home, surrounded by my friends and family.

Reggievv
Reggievv

I have sinned, go and sin no more, Jimmy.

bgauvin
bgauvin

 Hi, 


My name is Brooke. I attend Mission, but beyond that I'm sucky and human. And so is Mark. That doesn't minimize sin, if its worth calling it that in a secular context...we can call it "bad things." Anyway, I think this article is tasteful in a way because it has no opinions. It's news that our church has already made public by choice online and to the whole congregation. I'm not defending Mark or our church against anything other than this: I think putting Jesus' picture on the top is a mistake and a misjudgment on the media's part. I understand the implication and the message. It's basically showing the contrast between Mark's picture and Jesus'...who Mark claims to follow.. and does. And I think the attempt is to highlight the hypocrisy of Christianity or Christians or both. 


At our service on Sunday, the new pastor (the interim pastor) bluntly said that the church is most definitely full of hypocrites. That's absolutely true. Me included. Anyone who walks into a Christian church of any sort should definitely expect this, or else they will find out later and be really disappointed. Anywho, I guess I just wanted to re-state that picture. Mark would never claim to be perfect like him or even remotely. That was never his claim, and is not the claim of anyone who honestly gets how sucky we actually all are. If we weren't sucky, Jesus would be pointless. I'm 23. I don't have Jesus figured out or Christianity, and I get so lost sometimes and fall so short. But here's the thing...Mission isn't Jesus. And neither is Mark Connelly. We love Mark a lot. Not in a weird worshippy way (though undoubtably there are those people), but in a way that I myself know that I am only one step away from sinning or sucking to the extent he has. None of us deserve mercy from people, much less mercy from God. My sins will probably never make it to a website. They probably should. That would be fair punishment. But I'm not a public figure and that's that. However, I would really hope that public media people would consider this stuff. It's worth talking about. 


Matthew, if you read this, I'm not trying to throw you under the bus. This is just the first thing I've read on Mark's situation from public media. I'm not trying to be combative or like...I don't know..just obnoxious. Thanks for not being too harsh. You could have I'm sure. There's lots of ground to work from. The Church as a whole (Catholic, Christian, whatever really) has been in the media a lot for a long time now. I just think in general, everyone should be aware that we are not claiming perfection and actually, we claim the opposite. The point of Jesus, if he is who he says he is, is that we are indeed quite unable to save ourselves or pull ourselves out of anything with our own will power. Namely death. And he is. Anywho, it just kills me the way media thrives. Haha...maybe I'm adding to it or reinforcing that. Who knows. I know it's a job and I have to respect that. I just hope people show mercy and look at themselves before they pass judgements. (And by people, I don't mean Matthew alone, just people who read these posts or media from this). Thanks for your time! 



Brooke 

teknik
teknik

So is this from someone who talks about how the evil liberals are destroying our good wholesome conservative nation?

TommyCollins
TommyCollins topcommenter

These sheep need another pastor to deliver a sermon to them on how to understand and get past the extramarital affairs of their senior pastor?


The old man was horny and took advantage of horny women (I guess they were women). Now he is going to be gone and someone else will lead the sheep....


Seems easy enough to me.

SGorman
SGorman

Praying for his wife and family in this tough time. Mark is still human, we all fall short of the glory of God. This by no means excuses what he did. It just shows the impact he has had on his community. When you do the work of God, you become a target. I pray the church rallies around this attack and becomes stronger, and reserves judgement on all who have sinned in this affair. 

vagabond545454
vagabond545454

@Pauliejuanakraquer


One sinner has you so angry at god, Christians!:-) Ironically you likely will be spending all eternity with this fellow who if he can do what he was doing with a straight face likely has no guilt, no ability to repent, so you and him can spend all eternity debating god and Christianity!:-)

vagabond545454
vagabond545454

@car_del99


Asking for forgiveness is as easy as it is, but one has to do so sincerely, since one cannot fool God or his son Jesus! If this preacher could preach with impunity, and sin with no guilt he likely is one of them blind biblical goats mentioned who cannot regret, repent, lip service Christians will not pass the Jesus test!

yourproductsucks2
yourproductsucks2 topcommenter

Mark Connelly= wolf in sheep's clothing. your biblical examples are inundated with people who committed their crimes PRIOR to following Christ. Connelly professed to be a messenger of Gods word, all whilst preying upon those he professed to serve. no man can serve two masters. David fell from grace for the adultery and murder he committed.

Cj2014
Cj2014

@66rock We are ALL hypocrites. We are ALL sinners. I'm sure you have never lusted in your heart (desire one for their body,mind, etc...) or don't judge, nor lie. Face it, we are all sinners. We all fall short of His Glory. We have seen this before, because we are all NOT immune to it. 

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@integrityinsurance   I'm sorry but your entire post sounds like a delusional mental  challenge.

Cj2014
Cj2014

@azsunkiss I'm sorry that you have experienced this before. I pray that if you chose to not attend a building (since church is when two or more meet) that you seek accountability. Though you have not struggled with lust or adultery, perhaps there are other areas in your life that may present a struggle like forgiveness, grace, love of money, etc...  Praying that other's sins don't affect your view of God's children and the love he has for each and every one of us (believers and non believers), since He created us all. 

minuteman370
minuteman370

@azsunkiss Good for you and I agree with you. The Bible even states in Acts 7:48 However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:

So can God dwell in Mission Community Church campus? So if you want to find God, leaving the institutional "church" that is micromanaged to produce the biggest profit is a great step. Reading the Bible exegetically  for yourself without these wolves telling you what it means and what your commanded to believe will be eye opening.

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@azsunkiss   That was your first mistake, not realizing that these churches exist to make money.

TommyCollins
TommyCollins topcommenter

@azsunkiss Big church is big business. They sell the idea of God to those who are willing to pay... there is no need for anyone to go to church if they wish to believe in God or that which is said in the Bible...


66rock
66rock topcommenter

@bgauvin   Could have guessed you are 23 by your overuse of "sucky".

tedngilbertaz
tedngilbertaz

Mark Connelly IS A progressive liberal. Try again.

burt
burt

@SGorman"we all fall short of the glory of God"

Speak for yourself. I run rings around that jerk.

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@SGorman   Best thing you can do for her is give her the name of a good divorce attorney. 

TommyCollins
TommyCollins topcommenter

@SGorman No, SGorman, when you are in a war zone, fighting for our freedom of religion, you may become a target. Simply working as the senior pastor doesn't make this guy a target. He made himself a target. There is no attack on him or the church, sweetie. You're making it much bigger than it needs to be. The guy was thinking with his manhood.... capiche? He probably didn't need to recite scripture...

yourproductsucks2
yourproductsucks2 topcommenter

attack? who is being attacked? how will gorman pay his bills?

Pauliejuanakraquer
Pauliejuanakraquer

@vagabond545454@Pauliejuanakraquer

It's not eternity, cupcake.. Just long enough for all our remains to turn into fertilizer ..Like your dead mortal pal, jesus.

No god, no proof, no shit.. -Accept that.

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@Cj2014 @66rock   I am not a hypocrite and never have been. Sinner? I have lied in the past,sure.  I am married and would never "lust", I'd get a divorce ,which is exactly what I did before when I wanted out to do as I wish.  BTW, he did not just lust, did he??

  Stop making excuses for the man.  I hope his wife finds the guts to get rid of this low life.   Oh and stop with the "fall short of His Glory" nonsense and be a good person because it's who you are, no other reason.Just live your life  as a good, fair person.  

Cj2014
Cj2014

@66rock I pray that you develop a personal relationship with Christ.  Religion is man made and messy (especially since we are sinners), but I urge you and pray that you find peace, acceptance and love in Him (and Him alone). 


Cj2014
Cj2014

@66rock @bgauvin  One can only mature in Christ, age is not a factor. "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity".-1 Timothy 4:12

Cj2014
Cj2014

@TommyCollins you obviously don't know what spiritual warfare is. 

vagabond545454
vagabond545454

@Pauliejuanakraquer


The last atheist whom I had this ironic discussion with told me when I die I will be in awe and shock when there is nothingness! I laughed, no if they were right and nothingness is what awaits us all one can experience nothing! Now on the off chance I am right and they are wrong, only if something exists can anyone experience anything! One buys home owners insurance not because they plan on a home burning down but on the chance of fate it might, religion hurts no one unless its practiced by a zealot which I am not, no skin off my nose if you believe or not, would not waste one moment of my time preaching a sermon to convert you, merely state what I believe, if you do not that is your choice how wonderful we live in a country I can believe and you can decide to not believe!:-)

Jukes
Jukes

@66rockI couldn't agree more.  Why do people have to have the fear of God's wrath or the promise of eternal life just to DO THE RIGHT THING?  Someone wants to worship their Lord in a church, that's fine with me.  But I don't need leadership to know right from wrong.  And I certainly don't need Cj2014's or Victory121's brand of brainwashing to know how to "do unto others as I wish to have done unto me," the basis of almost every spiritual movement throughout human history.  I choose to follow the Golden Rule even though I sincerely believe bugs will eat me when I die and that will be it.  But if there turns out to be a heaven, I have every "faith" I'll still get in. 

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@Cj2014 @66rock   You don't have any idea what you are talking about.  I am Catholic and smart enough to question and direct my own life. Don't waste silly prayers on me or anyone else.  It's a shame you can't find peace, acceptance yourself and live a good, giving life because it is the right thing to do.

yaz1975
yaz1975

@66rock I would say that you need to learn time and place for humor. Which this isn't. Don't offend people on purpose then deride them for not laughing while you hide behind a mean spirited comment.

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@Cj2014   Ahh, it's called humor, not judgement.  A sense of humor is not something you evangelics seem to have. Get over yourself and stop taking yourselves so dang seriously. Laugh and live a little, enjoy the gift of life.  You and many evangelics sound like you are all tied up in a tight knot inside.  

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