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In-Laws of Mark Driscoll’s Children & Key Pastor: ‘Cultic’ Church Is Dividing Families

By Julie Roys
Davis Driscoll Andersen Trinity
Janna Davis, left, has been estranged for years from her daughter, Lanna Andersen, right, who is married to Brandon Andersen, a pastor at The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona led by Mark Driscoll. Davis blames Driscoll for the family division. (Photo: Courtesy of Davis Family)

Todd and Janna Davis used to be close with their daughter and son-in-law, Lanna and Brandon Andersen, and the family’s four children.

But that was before Brandon Andersen became Mark Driscoll’s right-hand man and campus pastor at Driscoll’s new church in Scottsdale, Arizona—The Trinity Church.

“I got to be the grandma,” Janna said. “(Todd and I) gave (Lanna and Brandon) overnights where we would swap houses and we’d go and take care of the kids. . . . We would take walks together. We would go out to eat together. We were a family.”

The family’s close relationship also preceded Todd Davis confronting Driscoll for abruptly leaving his former church, Mars Hill in Seattle, Washington. (Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill in 2014, rather than submit to a restoration plan designed to address Driscoll’s pattern of abusive leadership.)

Now, like many who don’t rate high enough on Driscoll’s loyalty rating scale, the couple says they’ve been deemed “toxic” and “unsafe.”

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The Davises say they haven’t spent quality time with their grandkids in at least two years, and Janna says she’s estranged from her daughter, Lanna.

“I don’t even recognize her,” Janna said tearfully. “She’s just not my little girl.”

The Roys Report reached out to Lanna and Brandon Andersen for comment, but neither responded.

Mark Grace Driscoll family
Mark and Grace Driscoll

Sadly, what’s happened to the Davises has happened to other families close to Mark Driscoll, including the in-laws of Driscoll’s two married children. Now, these family members are speaking out, saying the “cultic” nature of Driscoll’s church—where critics are vilified, shunned, and even surveilled—is dividing entire families.

Jolie Monea says her family has been ripped apart by Mark Driscoll and The Trinity Church.

Monea’s daughter, Chloe, is married to Zac Driscoll, son of Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace. Monea says that because she showed solidarity with former Trinity Church members who had been kicked out, Chloe and Zac deemed her and her family “unsafe” and cut them off.

The Roys Report reached out to Chloe and Zac Driscoll for comment, but they did not respond.

Likewise, Doug and Pauline Chase are estranged from their son and daughter-in-law. Their son, Landon Chase is a Trinity pastor who’s married to Mark and Grace Driscoll’s oldest child, Ashley.

Landon Ashley Chase family
Trinity Pastor Landon Chase and his wife Ashley, daughter of Mark and Grace Driscoll. (Source: Facebook)

Though the Chases declined to interview with The Roys Report, Luke Chase, Landon Chase’s brother, wrote in a letter posted on Warren Throckmorten’s blog, that his parents were deemed “toxic” by The Trinity Church. Trinity pressured Luke—and presumably, Landon—to dissociate from their parents, he said.

“I had to listen to staff repeatedly tell me that my mom and dad were toxic,” writes Luke Chase, who worked as a worship assistant at Trinity. “In fact, their continued presence in my life was viewed as such a threat to my development as a REAL MAN that I was offered a pay raise simply for moving out of that ‘toxic’ environment by Pastor Eden, Pastor Landon, and John Welnick. It was even implied that if I didn’t move out soon enough I could be fired.”

Luke doesn’t say why Trinity labeled his parents toxic. But he writes that his parents “have led large growing integrity filled ministries in Seattle and Arizona for more than 15 years and clearly are not toxic people.”

Luke adds that Trinity also “dictated who I was allowed to be friends with.” Luke says he could socialize with some church employees with a good “trust rating,” but not with those who would be “fired soon.”

Luke recently resigned from Trinity, even though he wouldn’t get to see his brother, Landon, as often. Luke said he simply couldn’t stay in an organization that “was actively speaking poorly of my parents” and where abuse “was normal in the workplace.”

The Roys Report reached out to Landon and Ashley Chase for comment, but they did not respond.

Todd & Janna Davis: A dream dashed

Todd and Janna Davis always envisioned living close to their children and being engaged in their grandchildren’s lives. That’s why the couple uprooted from Seattle in 2016 and followed their daughter and son-in-law to Arizona.

Yet the Davises admit they had reservations about Mark Driscoll.

For nine years, they were members of Mars Hill and Janna had served as a volunteer assistant for Phil Smidt, the church’s counseling pastor.

When accusations about Driscoll’s bullying and abusive behavior surfaced, the couple said they didn’t know what to think. But Janna said Smidt was the “most godly person I knew.” And when Mars Hill fired Smidt in May 2014 for questioning the executive elders, Janna and Todd said they realized “something was off with Mark.”

Even so, the couple said they decided to remain silent and “trust God and His ultimate justice.” When Mars Hill closed its Ballard campus, where the Davises attended, the couple stayed and helped the campus transition to a new church.

At the same time, the Davises say Driscoll began “grooming” their son-in-law, Brandon, to follow Driscoll to Arizona. Before then, Driscoll and Brandon Andersen were not close, even though Brandon had served as executive pastor at Mars Hill’s Everett campus, Todd Davis said.

Brandon Janna Andersen family
Lanna and Brandon Andersen with their children. (Source: Courtesy Davis family)

But in January 2016, Brandon, Lanna, and their children moved to Arizona to help plant The Trinity Church. Three months later, the Davises followed.

Despite their reservations about Driscoll, the Davises immediately began serving at Trinity. Janna began overseeing the offering and Todd managed security.

The Davises said they saw red flags almost immediately. Trinity didn’t have church membership or elders, the couple said. And on opening day, Todd said he was told to report to Randall Taylor, which he thought was “really strange” because Taylor “had just shown up.”

(According to Chad Freese, former director of security at The Trinity Church, Taylor—a vice president at Dunham & Company who lives in Kentucky—manages all the business operations of Trinity.)

One Sunday in the fall of 2016, the Davises said Brandon came to their home and confronted Todd for sending out weekly notes of encouragement to Trinity’s security team.

“(Brandon) proceeded to tell us that nothing is put in writing,” Janna said. “You are not allowed to do that. Anything that comes out has to be echoed from the top. . . . So basically, you can’t think for yourself.”

Janna said Brandon then asked his in-laws where they saw themselves involved at the church. When the Davises responded that they might want to lead a community group, Janna said Brandon told the couple they couldn’t lead anything until they “learned the Arizona way.”

Janna said that conversation convinced her and Todd to leave the church. But the couple was already uneasy about Trinity. “We had this feeling every time we went into the church, that it just isn’t right,” she said. “We just felt so crappy after leaving (a service at ) Trinity. It was almost soul sucking.”

However, one Sunday shortly before Thanksgiving 2016, the couple attended a service at Trinity because their oldest granddaughter was getting baptized. After the service, Todd approached Driscoll and asked him if the two could get together to finish a conversation they’d begun months earlier.

Todd said when he first moved to Arizona, he apologized to Driscoll for the bitterness he’d felt over the way Driscoll had “abandoned” Mars Hill. Todd said Driscoll suggested that the two get a beer and discuss the matter further, but never followed up.

Yet when Todd approached Driscoll, he said Driscoll responded harshly, telling Todd he needed to “man up,” call the church, and make an appointment if he wanted to talk to Driscoll about such things.

Todd said he was shocked and replied, “I think manning up is remaining in Seattle, reconciling, and taking care of the mess that you left.”

The Davises said that the Tuesday after that encounter, Brandon called and told the couple that because Todd was “unsafe,” the couple could no longer have access to the grandchildren. Todd said he begged Brandon to at least let Janna see the grandkids on Thanksgiving, then days away, but Brandon was adamant.

“Our first Thanksgiving there, we sat on the couch, and I went and bought a chicken and cried,” Janna said.

For three years after that interaction, Janna said she would still babysit the Andersen’s kids and drop them off at school. But as Lanna got more involved at Trinity, the distance between mother and daughter grew. Janna said she felt ostracized and used. She said Lanna wanted Janna to watch the kids but showed zero interest in a relationship.

Janna Davis Lanna Anderson family
Janna Davis, left, with her daughter, Lanna Andersen, and Andersens’ children at The Trinity Church on the morning of the church’s first service in 2016. (Photo: Courtesy of Davis Family)

At one point, Janna said she confronted her daughter, but Lanna responded by “yelling at me in front of the kids. . . . She told me that my job as a grandparent was to watch the kids . . . so (Lanna and Brandon’s) marriage could flourish.”

Janna said Lanna’s response was “incredibly painful.” Over time, the constant rejection took a toll on her mental health.

“You start taking on all the negative things that are said about you and you start believing it,” Janna said. “You’re this bad person and they’re in this church that’s flourishing . . . to the point where it sucks every bit of joy out of you.”

Even so, Janna said she kept reaching out to her daughter. But in November 2020, Lanna and Brandon made it crystal clear that they didn’t want any contact, Janna said.

She added that her daughter even accused her of having “a spirit of Jezebel” and said that if Janna and Todd, who is Lanna’s stepfather, couldn’t wish Mark well, then the families “couldn’t have a relationship.”

Janna said it’s clear from the little interaction she’s had with the Andersen’s children that there’s “no hint of our family in their home.” Instead, Mark Driscoll is “like (Lanna’s) dad,” Grace Driscoll is her “best friend,” and Lanna and Brandon “plan to do ministry with the Driscolls the rest of their life,” Janna said.

At the end of March 2021, the Davises moved back to Seattle “so destroyed.” But before leaving, the couple stopped by the Andersen’s house so they could give the Andersens their dishes. Janna said that’s the last time she’s seen her daughter’s family.

Just recently, Janna said her daughter’s family was in Seattle for two weeks, visiting Brandon’s family, but didn’t even stop by.

“The pain of a child turning her back on you, it’s unimaginable,” Janna said. Yet she added that she feels even more sorry for her grandchildren, who are being separated from their grandparents.

“We had fun together. We sang and had dance parties. . . . We baked Christmas cookies. I took them to the mall. We’ve painted pottery,” Janna said. “Nobody wins here, you know? Except Mark.”

Then, reflecting on what she’s heard concerning other families hurt by Trinity and Driscoll, Janna added: “It’s like this tsunami of destruction comes through and just wipes out everybody in its path that disagrees with (Driscoll and the church). And it’s just wrong. That’s not the gospel.”

In part two of this series, Jolie Monea tells her story of how Driscoll and Trinity destroyed her family’s relationship with Monea’s daughter, Chloe (Monea) Driscoll.



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30 Responses

  1. I’m so very sorry, Janna and Todd, Jolie and family, and Doug and Pauline. It’s outrageous.

    The Board of Overseers of Mars Hill (Michael VanSkaik,, Matt Rogers @mattrogerstx, Jon Phelps, and @LarryOsborne) who gave MD a pass and let him skate on through with zero accountability to devastate so many more lives, have much to answer for.

    Come out from under your rocks.

    It goes without saying Mark and Grace Driscoll, Landon and Ashley, Zac and Chloe, and Brandon and Lanna have tons more to answer for.

  2. Marky mark is a danger to society. I wonder if he is still speaking at Gateway conference? I would be shocked if he isn’t.

    1. Heartbreaking but utterly unsurprising. Hierarchies of loyalty and separating members from insufficiently loyal family are straight from the standard cult playbook.

      Given his past behavior, no one should be shocked that Mark is using the same methods of control as groups like the the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Scientology.

      1. His children’s spouses are in the ultimate no win situation. Support him, lose their family. Oppose him, lose their marriages and most likely access to their own children.

    2. Driscoll is not listed among the speakers for the 2021 Gateway Conference, according to their website.

  3. Frightening that one man can have so much control. Haven’t we learned from history how dangerous this can be?
    I feel for the grandparents and children.

  4. If those who attend this church are ignorant of who Driscoll is then they need to be educated. If they are aware of the issues surrounding him and choose to stay then wish them luck and walk away. Any Christian leaders who have anything to do with a guy like this should be avoided as well. Driscoll counts on people being unwilling to stand up to him but that is the only way to deal with men such as this.

  5. How is it that the sheep at Trinity can’t recognize the wolf (wolves) leading the flock? The men, especially, need to Scripture-Up, not man-up! Jesus left us a clear testimony of the character, work, and fruit of a shepherd.

    With children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of my own, I weep at the family “fruit” of MD’s leadership: broken years of family relationships are lost joys. Payday will come for Mark, for “whatsoever a man soweth . . .”

    We pray for these families.

    1. How is it that the sheep at Trinity can’t recognize the wolf (wolves) leading the flock?

      Because they have been groomed and conditioned to see them as Godly.
      On pain of Rebellion/The Sin as WItchcraft/Eternal Hell.

      We pray for these families.

      We have to do more than that (even if only exposing these guys as frauds and abusers); otherwise all we’re doing is sitting quietly with folded hands mouthing pious platitudes in Christianese.

      To paraphrase a famous line from Babylon-5:
      “You have a saying: ‘We’ll Pray For You’.
      We also have a saying – ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!'”

      And (I don’t know the origin of this one), I have heard that if you watch Bad or Black Magic going down and make no complaint, you are (passively) participating in the Magickal Working and have given the Bad Thing power over you as well. This may be a high-impact metaphor for “If you make no complaint about It, you will appear to approve of It if not appear to be part of It.”

  6. It certainly seems to me that Mark Driscoll is a knockoff of James McDonald!! I know of an old friend who had a ministry position at Harvest Bible Chapel who had to sign a legal document drafted by the churches front office pledging loyalty to James. If my memory serves me correctly, he signed it and then when he began to second-guess himself when he experienced many of the abusive behaviors in James, he was reminded that he had signed this document and then was required to be put through “counseling” to reaffirm and recommit to his loyalty pledge. Gratefully, he finally figured it out and resigned. Do church leaders have such enormous and overwhelming character/personality powers that they are able to actually control the thoughts, words, and actions of people? I can’t think of any other explanation other than that this type of power is nothing less than demonic. Reminds me of that little man in Germany with his hair combed to one side, and that little brush mustache. This comparison is not funny and I don’t mean it to be. But I truly hope those who are under this abusive and overbearing influence will have their eyes opened and will flee these people and “Christian” organizations that hold them captive. Personally, I lean toward the position that most of these dear people who are held in this type of bondage are actually internalizing their confusion, pain, and fear, while they remain in a situation that they believe they cannot do anything about. May our Father in heaven do what only He can do to get them freed and healed.

  7. This is classic cult behavior, cutting off members from their family. I wonder what Jesus would have to say about this? Oh wait, we already know. It is in Matthew 23.

    1. And…it’s not just here…it’s epidemic among Christians these days. “Toxic parents (family or mom and dad)” seems to be a favorite phrase.

      1. Absolutely! It is an epidemic among Christians that are teaching men and women’s roles. Just follow the Women who have spoken out on this very topic – Julie Roys has interviewed -It’s called spiritual abuse when you use Scripture as a weapon to shun or cut off family. Totally not biblical.

  8. One thing that we fail to discuss is who owns the building? Trinity purchased a large nice building right off the main highway in Scottsdale for around $2 million in 2016. When we attended Trinity, Mark mentioned he would get calls from investors asking to purchase the building for 3-4 times what they paid in 2028-2019.

    The church is paying off a mortgage on assets owned by Trinity which is owned by Mark and his family. Crazy!! If this church goes south, Mark could sell the property and personally makes millions. With no membership and church bylaws he would be the sole beneficiary

  9. Josh McPherson and his elders at GCC In Wenatchee have been taught these practices by Mark. Our daughter and entire family have been labeled toxic. We Have had no relationship with our granddaughter after she married in their church. 5 years. About 25 families in our area have been split by Life Trac Family ministries ( Joshes parents) and the church. The ripple effect of a living grief in our family has been beyond painful.
    Our daughter and her husband were one of the 12 founding couples in the church. They dared to question when the church morphed into a different constitution. They took their daughter ransom.

    1. This is horrific. I am so sorry for you and all the other families involved. In my podcast about Dr. Art Azurdia, Katie Roberts and I talk about McPherson and Grace City Church. Not only did the church re-platform Azurdia, an admitted adulterer and alleged sexual predator, it also had Driscoll as a lecturer in its Vector Academy. These abusive pastors run in packs.

      Here’s the link for the podcast:

      1. Mrs. Smoke: I hear you loud and clear (from your neighbor). I have had people come to my door shaken by spiritual injury while attending Grace City Church. One fellow started asking basic questions on theology that began to expose some of the fault-lines of the leadership’s commitment to scholastic Calvinism and was effectively shunned by the leadership after that. One pastor told him to “go to another church.” There was no attempt to interface or discuss, two hallmarks of pastoral care. Another lady was given the cold shoulder when she asked for help starting a ministry for disabled children.

    2. I have family with teenaged children involved in Wenatchee Grace City Church. I read about their new Vector Academy to train young church leaders with instructors such as Doug Wilson, Art Azurdia and Mark Driscoll and I am scared. My appeals to them to read and do research are mocked and ignored.

  10. There is only one person who can bind the strong man! If someone stronger binds him. Jesus has the only power to bind the strong man! We must seek Jesus to bind this strongman. He’s the only one who can!

    1. It is unwise and unnecessary to let this float away into the spiritual realm. For one thing, God expects us to be earthly good and wise stewards by making decisions and taking action in the physical realm.

      Human beings can make all the decisions necessary to disable a tyrant. Recognize the toxic dysfunction, withdraw all support, and spread the word.

      –cease attending
      –stop all financial giving
      –put boundaries in one’s own life
      –publish very accessible warnings
      –document what has happened and what is happening and publish the record for posterity

      1. Scotty, completely agree. However, we may want to take into account leaders with overwhelming personalities/narcissists who are well able to manipulate and coerce in such a way that the influence they hold is very heavy on the people who are taken in by it. Again, however, your five points are well stated and valid.

  11. Dear families who have been labelled toxic and are estranged – please be encouraged!
    We lived your whole experience when Mars Hill was here in the Pacific Northwest. We called it “Mark’s Hill” because it’s really all about Mark… I mean Jesus.
    We lost our daughter for a couple of years–we still don’t know who walked her down the aisle due to the hired security team assigned to keep all of us “toxic” people out (and we were the ones who raised her in the faith!).
    But God is sovereign and heard our cries. He WILL hear yours.
    Do pray for your child BUT also pray for their spouse who is also caught in the tunnel vision of Mark’s methods.
    Certainly it feels empowering to idealistic young people to be included in a movement and be a 10 on the “trust/loyalty chart” of a dynamic leader (even if this leader’s exegesis is found to be crass and incorrect at times). It makes the young person feel more cultured and new and improved from their view of old-fashioned generations.
    But missteps with happen. Either Mark will continue his path of paranoia and destruction (as more and more families awaken to his cult for what it is) or something will cause your child to fall out of favor with Mark – it happens to everyone.
    Be the parent who is available when the time comes. And it will come. The blinders do come off. Just listen, Then listen some more. No I-told-you-so’s as they pour out their disappointments.
    They may want to talk about their hurts that YOU caused during the estrangement. The best advice we received from our counselor when our daughter and son-in-law chose to return to the family was: “Don’t talk about the past, you will all see it differently. Talk about how glad you are to have today and the future together”.

    Even though each day feels long now with little hope for the future, God can intervene! He did in our family.
    God DID restore our relationship. We all truly love being with each other again. We hurt for the lost days but are extra grateful for the days we now have.
    Be encouraged! There are many of us out there praying for all of you and the carnage from MD’s bus.
    God is all powerful. He hears your prayers. He sustains. He restores.
    Hugs and prayers for all of you.

    1. Certainly it feels empowering to idealistic young people to be included in a movement and be a 10 on the “trust/loyalty chart” of a dynamic leader (even if this leader’s exegesis is found to be crass and incorrect at times).

      The exact same dynamic as Komsomol, HJ graduating into the SS, Chairman Mao’s Red Guards, or Talibani Jihadis. Becoming Part of THE Great Mass Movement Which WILL Remake The World.

      “Look at you now! Changing the entire face of Europe!”
      Holocaust (70s minseries), scene just outside Babi Yar

    2. What an encouraging reply. I am so glad that your family is restored. I pray the same happens for all families separated by this man.

  12. It was said of John the Baptist, Malachi 4:6, NIV: “He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.'”

    God is in the business of strengthening and unifying families and so should we his people. Anything else is of the one who seeks to “…steal, kill and destroy.” That would be Satan!

  13. It was said of John the Baptist, Malachi 4:6, NIV: “He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.’”

    God is in the business of strengthening and unifying families and so should we his people. Anything else is of the one who seeks to “…steal, kill and destroy.” That would be Satan!

  14. It may just be me, but in the picture up at the top, Driscoll looks like he’s cosplaying Amos from The Expanse. Maybe it’s the beard and facial expression.

  15. Mark runs a cult and those closest to him don’t know it and someday will see how duped they were. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Pride goes before a fall. Mark didn’t learn that lesson the first time.

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