Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chandler on Mars Hill, "A29 was so kind of meshed into Mars Hill that right now we are just trying to untangle where one begins and the other ends"

http://www.christianpost.com/news/no-vision-shift-after-mark-driscoll-leaves-acts-29-leadership-73047/
By Alex Murashko

April 11, 2012

Mars Hill Church Pastor Mark Driscoll announced that he was stepping down from the reins of Acts 29 late last month to make room for Chandler, the lead pastor at The Village Church in Highland Village in Texas. Driscoll remains on the organization's current three-member board which also includes The Journey's (St. Louis, Mo.) lead pastor, Darrin Patrick. The group's headquarters will move from Seattle to Dallas.

Driscoll seemed to have left the door open about the possibility he would remove himself from the board if needed for the greater good of the group, he implied in his statement last month about his decision.

"I want him on the board. He's a great advantage to the men, the movement, and the network as a whole," Chandler told CP when asked about Driscoll. "I think culturally and theologically he has some spectacular gifts. Driscoll will absolutely remain on the board. He would gladly step off if he thought that was best for the network. I don't think anybody believes that's best for the network."

... Acts 29 will not only be moving its Seattle-based headquarters to Dallas, but deciding how to continue with its connection to Mars Hill Church, also based in Seattle.

"A29 was so kind of meshed into Mars Hill that right now we are just trying to untangle where one begins and the other ends. We are gathering information right now. Our hope is that A29 is completely in Dallas by September," Chandler said.

"Acts 29 has been primarily funded by and run by Mars Hill," he noted. Chandler estimates that about 80 percent of the organization was funded by the church and it is a matter of deciding on the operational priorities moving forward, including which employee positions to keep.
"Those are some of the questions we are trying to answer even now," he said.

So Matt Chandler has discussed that Acts 29 was so "kind of meshed into Mars Hill" that right now they're trying to untangle where one begins and the other ends.  Chandler told the Christian Post that Mars Hill has been primarily funded by and run by Mars Hill and that 80 percent of the organization was funded by Mars Hill.  Chandler's statements about gathering information might suggest that Acts 29 is trying to figure out just how meshed Mars Hill has been into Acts 29.  At the risk of pointing out the obvious, Chandler's just told us that Mars Hill has pretty much been Acts 29 at the most important leadership levels.  This is easy to verify by consulting the Acts 29 Network website.

Now obviously in light of the April 11, 2012 article in the Christian post the following listings are no longer accurate but they are worth considering because as of today (April 24, 2012) this is the current information that helps illustrate what Chandler was talking about when he said "we are just trying to untangle where one begins and the other ends."

Even if it's not up to date it's something I couldn't ignore or avoid passing on.
From Acts 29 Leadership
1. Mark Driscoll, Founder and President
current executive Elder at Mars Hill
2. Darrin Patrick, Board Member
3. Matt Chandler, Board Member
recently made President of Acts 29 by the other board members and Driscoll
 
4. Dave Bruskas, Board Member
current executive Elder at Mars Hill)
5. Sutton Turner, Board Member
current executive elder at Mars Hill
6. Scott Thomas, Board Member
Former exeuctive elder at Mars Hill, former President of Acts 29 now no longer listed as an elder or even on staff at either organization.  Documentation at Joyful Exiles establish that Jamie Munson announced to Mars Hill elders in 2007 that Scott Thomas was the head of the Elder Investigative Taskforce that established whether Jamie Munson's allegations against Paul Petry and Bent Meyer were credible.
On March 20, 2012 Joyful Exiles went up.
 
On March 28, 2012 Scott Thomas announced he was stepping away from Acts 29.
 
But I wasn’t planning to stay forever. I was anticipating a change for my ministry in the future, and the move to Dallas makes it a perfect time to allow new leadership to emerge.
 
If you attempt to find a current listing of Mars Hill elders you may find the current ministry direction Scott Thomas seems to be in is not being in any ministry at all.  He's not listed as a pastor in any capacity at any Mars Hill website I can find.  The Christian Post article from April 11, 2012 has made it pretty clear Scott Thomas is not on the Acts 29 Board, either. The last name in the six men above is probably the most interesting because he was involved in every stage of the firings of Petry and Meyer.  He has recently written he was anticipating a change for his ministry in the future and, so far, that change has been not being on staff at either Mars Hill or Acts 29 from the look of things. 
Now of these six names listed four of them are men who have been or are executive elders at Mars Hill. That means that at one point two thirds of the Acts 29 Board was chaired by either current or former Mars Hill executive elders.  The meshed nature has not merely covered the Acts 29 board.
From Network Leadership there's a listing for the Acts 29 Northwest Regional Leader, Bill Clem, who is a pastor at Mars Hill Ballard. 
 
For Acts 29 Central
Tyler Powell, listed as Assessment Director for Acts 29 is also listed as Church Planting Pastor for Mars Hill
 
Ryan Kearns, Assessment Coordinator for Acts 29, is listed as a Deacon at Mars Hill, listed contact email is
Matt Aiken, Operations Manager for Acts 29, is listed as a deacon at Mars Hill
 
 Sara Britt, Executive Assistant to Tyler Powell, is listed as a deacon at Mars Hill Church

So not only has it been the case that the Acts 29 Board has been lately dominated by the entire executive elder board of Mars Hill it even included a former Executive Elder who was formerly President of Acts 29.  If four of five board members heading Acts 29 have been present or former executive elders at Mars Hill this does make it easy to understand why Matt Chandler told the Christian Post it was a challenge to figure out where Acts 29 ended and Mars Hill began, or vice versa.

For a sampling of a few captures from the WayBack Machine to help establish at least a little of this history of enmeshment survey the following:


Listings from crawls of the WayBack Machine for
http://www.acts29network.org/about/leadership/
http://web.archive.org/web/20101202231052/http://www.acts29network.org/about/leadership/

December 2, 2010
Leadership

Mark Driscoll | Founder & Lead Visionary of Acts 29
Lead Teaching Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA
 
Scott Thomas | President & Director of Acts 29
Global Church Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA
 
Darrin Patrick | 1st Vice President of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at The Journey in St. Louis, MO
 
Jeff Vanderstelt | 2nd Vice President of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at Soma Communities in Tacoma, WA


Chan Kilgore | Secretary/Treasurer of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at Crosspointe Church in Orlando, FL
 
Matt Chandler | Board Member of Acts 29
Lead Pastor of The Village Church, Highland Village, TX
"Why I'm Acts 29"

Eric Mason | Board Member of Acts 29
Lead pastor of Epiphany Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA
 
Tyler Powell | Church Planting Strategist of Acts 29
Church Planting Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA
 
Elliot Grudem | Network Coordinator of Acts 29
Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA

 
December 26, 2010
http://web.archive.org/web/20101226075244/http://www.acts29network.org/about/leadership/

Leadership

Mark Driscoll | Founder & Lead Visionary of Acts 29
Lead Teaching Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA


Scott Thomas | President & Director of Acts 29
Global Church Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA
 
Darrin Patrick | 1st Vice President of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at The Journey in St. Louis, MO
 
Jeff Vanderstelt | 2nd Vice President of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at Soma Communities in Tacoma, WA
 
Chan Kilgore | Secretary/Treasurer of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at Crosspointe Church in Orlando, FL

Matt Chandler | Board Member of Acts 29
Lead Pastor of The Village Church, Highland Village, TX
"Why I'm Acts 29"
 
Eric Mason | Board Member of Acts 29
Lead pastor of Epiphany Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA
 
Tyler Powell | Church Planting Strategist of Acts 29
Church Planting Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA
 
Elliot Grudem | Network Coordinator of Acts 29
Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA


Jul 21, 2011
http://web.archive.org/web/20110721085150/http://www.acts29network.org/about/leadership/

Acts 29 Leadership
 
Mark Driscoll | Founder & Lead Visionary of Acts 29
Lead Teaching Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA
Bio, Speaking Engagements and Requests
 
Scott Thomas | President of Acts 29
Global Church Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA
 
Darrin Patrick | 1st Vice President of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at The Journey in St. Louis, MO
 
Jeff Vanderstelt | 2nd Vice President of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at Soma Communities in Tacoma, WA
 
Chan Kilgore | Secretary/Treasurer of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at Crosspointe Church in Orlando, FL
 
Matt Chandler | Board Member of Acts 29
Lead Pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, TX
"Why I'm Acts 29"
 
Eric Mason | Board Member of Acts 29
Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, PA
 
 Tyler Powell | Church Planting Strategist of Acts 29
Church Planting Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA
 
Elliot Grudem | Director of Acts 29
Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA


Administrative Support Staff

The administrative staff of the Acts 29 Network are based in Seattle,

Washington. Please visit our FAQ page and our General Contact page for
answers to questions and for office contact information.

Jeremy Pace | Training Coordinator
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA

Matt Aiken | Executive Assistant to Scott Thomas
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA

Spencer Abbott | Executive Assistant to Elliot Grudem
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA

Sara Britt | Executive Assistant to Tyler Powell
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA

Derrin Thomas | Communications Director
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA

Adriel Ifland | Managing Editor - Online Content
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA


http://web.archive.org/web/20110724223816/http://www.acts29network.org/about/leadership/

July 24, 2011
http://web.archive.org/web/20110724223816/http://www.acts29network.org/about/leadership/


Leadership & Staff
Acts 29 Regional Leadership
Acts 29 Administrative Support Staff

Acts 29 Leadership

Mark Driscoll | Founder & Lead Visionary of Acts 29
Lead Teaching Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA
Bio, Speaking Engagements and Requests


Scott Thomas | President of Acts 29
Global Church Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA


Darrin Patrick | 1st Vice President of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at The Journey in St. Louis, MO
 
Jeff Vanderstelt | 2nd Vice President of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at Soma Communities in Tacoma, WA
 
Chan Kilgore | Secretary/Treasurer of Acts 29
Lead Pastor at Crosspointe Church in Orlando, FL


Matt Chandler | Board Member of Acts 29
Lead Pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, TX
"Why I'm Acts 29"
 
Eric Mason | Board Member of Acts 29
Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, PA


Tyler Powell | Church Planting Strategist of Acts 29
Church Planting Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA

Elliot Grudem | Director of Acts 29
Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA

Administrative Support Staff

The administrative staff of the Acts 29 Network are based in Seattle,

Washington. Please visit our FAQ page and our General Contact page for
answers to questions and for office contact information.

Jeremy Pace | Training Coordinator
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA


Matt Aiken | Executive Assistant to Scott Thomas
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA


Spencer Abbott | Executive Assistant to Elliot Grudem
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA


Sara Britt | Executive Assistant to Tyler Powell
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA


Derrin Thomas | Communications Director
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA

Adriel Ifland | Managing Editor - Online Content
Deacon at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA


So this month Matt Chandler told The Christian Post, "A29 was so kind of meshed into Mars Hill that right now we are just trying to untangle where one begins and the other ends." This year the Board for Acts 29 came to include every current executive elder from Mars Hill and even a former one.  It's certainly understandable why it would be difficult to figure out where Acts 29 really begins and Mars Hill ends because it could look as though Acts 29, however it began, became functionally inseparable from Mars Hill. 

Chandler said 80 percent of the funding for Acts 29 has come from Mars Hill and earlier this year four out of six members of the Acts 29 Network board of directors were current or former executive elders at Mars Hill; Those executive elders held the roles of President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Network Director on the Acts 29 board. If 80 percent of the funding and two thirds of the board of directors are all from Mars Hill it's understandable why Chandler would have told the Christian Post it was tough to know where one organization ended and the other began.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating post. Was it your intention to merely repeat the statements of the leadership of A29 and MH? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the impression that you are attempting to frame it as if you added some sort of investigative value by collecting what is actually readily available information, almost common knowledge to anyone remotely aware of either organization. Facts that no one has ever attempted to cover up. Acts 29 was borne out of Mars Hill and has been largely lead and supported by individuals within and the congregation of Mars Hill. Some of whom have since moved on to other pursuits for various reasons *GASP* Thank you for shedding light on the ongoing scandal as these scallywags attempt to broaden the reach of the Gospel by starting the process of developing the 2 organizations more autonomously now that A29 is clearly beyond the incubation stage. Do you propose that this legacy of shared leadership responsibility is a problem? If so, are you rejoicing at the fact that it appears that there will be more separation between the two entities and diversity in the staff at A29 going forward? As a side note, I began reading your blog looking for information from the "other side" since I know several longtime members of Mars Hill and have been attending myself for only a short time since I was skeptical of the idea of a Mega Church in the past. Doing my due diligence for the sake of my family, I wanted to know all I could about what we could be exposed to. You have served the purpose of affirming what I knew from the beginning that MH is a church with problems and leaders who make mistakes. Reading this version of past events paired with my own observations inside the congregation and personal interactions/conversations with the leadership of the church, I am even more confident that it is the place we have been called to be members of the body of Christ. Despite my earlier sarcasm, I sincerly hope that your motivation behind the content of this blog is to edify your readers and contribute something of value to the mission of Jesus's Church.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you said, "Doing my due diligence for the sake of my family, I wanted to know all I could about what we could be exposed to. You have served the purpose of affirming what I knew from the beginning that MH is a church with problems and leaders who make mistakes."

So, "mistakes were made," eh?

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Acts 29 Network co-founder Pastor David Nicholas was Presbyterian. I would hesitate to endorse a history of Acts 29 that presents it as "born out of Mars Hill" because that version of A29's history is too abbreviated. In the same way I consider a history of Mars Hill that neglects the crucial roles of co-founding Mars Hill elders Mike Gunn and Lief Moi to be a too-abbreviated history of Mars Hill.

In answer to your question, yes, the point of this post was to point out obvious and accessible information. I would, however, disagree about how common the knowledge I've referred to may be. For instance ...

http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Coach-Shepherding-Leaders-Glorify/dp/031049432X/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

Amazon.com will want to update the profile information on this book, won't they? After all, Scott Thomas isn't President of the Acts 29 Network; isn't on the Board of Directors that oversees Mars Hill Church; and this previous statement is most likely true because he isn't even listed as a pastor at Mars Hill in any capacity now. The book he has co-written with Tom Wood hasn't even been published yet (May 8, 2012) and this information has not yet been corrected. Things have already gone to press, though, and can't exactly get fixed for developments that came up just within the last four weeks, can they?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous II
First, well... of course. I've read some presumptuous and ignorant things here, but I am sure you are not suggesting that any church or church leader is perfect. Second, if you are going to throw up the "" please use them for an actual quote. My concern is based more on accuracy and fairness than punctuation which probably puts me in the minority here.

Anonymous said...

@WTH - I obviously was not attempting to provide an exhaustive history of A29 or MH. I think you got the idea. I'm not sure what you are asserting by including that link. Here is an excerpt from Amazon's bio of Scott Thomas "Scott has served as President and Network Director of Acts 29 Network and as an elder at Mars Hill Church." Truth. The editorial review has not been updated as it still says he is the President of A29. Is that it? If so, is your point is that not every single written record of Thomas being the A29 President has been updated? As Matt Chandler said in the original article you posted it is a complicated process to move the HQ of A29 and reconfigure some staff toward the future vision of the network and is going to take some time. You know what was abbreviated? The part of your reply where you genuinely addressed anything material to my comments. There was more than one question in there.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

If both anonymous commenters are aware that "not perfect" includes Scott Thomas lying to MH members using A29 resources when asked about the 2007 firings he was part of as head of the EIT then "not perfect" includes lying to MH members using A29 resources. There's a distinction to be made between "not perfect" and "deceit".

Anonymous II fairness and accuracy don't put you in the minority. I've repeatedly explained how Driscoll has been misrepresented by dozens of people on the Ted Haggard scandal. Driscoll never said a word about the Haggards. What he said about wives letting themselves go was still foolish and needless but he did not, in fact, speak about the Haggards when he made those comments.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Anonymous (original) A29 was started in 1998. The incubation stage was over a while ago, which highlights the curiosity that by earlier this year A29 came to have 80% of its funding, 4/5 of A29 Central staff, and 2/3 of its Board controlled by Mars Hill with three of those four elders from MH being the executive elders. If that's your idea of "developing the 2 organizations more autonomously" we may just have different definitions of "autonomously".

So far as the spread of the Gospel goes the Pentecostals have done more in the last thirty years to do that than the new Calvinists have. Since Driscoll shook hands with T. D. Jakes earlier this year it would seem Driscoll's figured out that if he wants to really learn how to reach more people for Jesus he's got to learn from a Pentecostal or two. Personally I'd prefer he stuck more to Pentecostals like Gordon Fee than Jakes but obviously Driscoll's got different preferences.

The less tethered to and dominated by MH A29 is the better off I think it will be.

Anonymous said...

I meant the 2 organizations look to be developing more autonomously going forward with the reorg. I thought that was obvious.

How do you expect anyone to take your criticism of these men seriously when you regularly employ laughably fallacious arguments? What does your Pentecostals > New Calvinists at spreading the Gospel assertion have to do with what we are talking about? If that is true, praise God, but it would be irrelevant to whether the recent shake ups at A29 and MH are in an effort to further spread the Gospel. Oh, wait! You were using that as a clever means of slipping in a mention of the TD Jakes thing! Well played. Really, come on. I know that anything involving Mark Driscoll that you can latch onto which someone might find fault in is like pure gold, but you are embarrassing yourself here. By traipsing out this red herring you only expose the fact that you are driven solely by your agenda at the cost of any regard for logic and weaken what could be a useful discussion of legitimate concerns and questions. This is what I meant in my original post when I said that reading your blog actually served to bolster my opinion that the problems at MH are overblown in a lot of cases by individuals like yourself. After following the blog for a couple of weeks, I found myself asking “What’s the point?” We get it; you don’t like Mars Hill or Mark Driscoll. But it seems so pointless and petty. Maybe it’s asking too much for a blog to have a mission statement but what would you say is the desired end to which you are laboring? Do you want to see God made much of? Do you want to see people meet him, draw closer to him and mature in him? Do you want his people who participate in his church faithfully image him? Or, do you merely what to see Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll burn? Contrasted with information provided on the same issues elsewhere by those within MH as well as outsiders who at least appear relatively balanced, you come off like a nut. The unfortunate thing is you probably are not a nut. You've got this thing stuck in your craw so to speak and it has consumed you. You are not a member of Mars Hill, so your influence is rightfully limited. But, if you are genuinely concerned for the well being of the leaders and congregation of MH, you should ask questions or raise those concerns in a more effective manner. You could start by acknowledging some of the good that comes out of MH. I promise there is some. Not every word they speak or move they make has some evil ulterior motive or sensational deception element to it. Devoting your blog to rehashing issues over and over with unfounded speculation and fabricated sinisterness while dismissing the explanations or even appologies of the "other side" will play to a couple of like-minded people with an axe to grind or who take perverse pleasure in hoping for the downfall of someone or something they don't agree with, but that's about it. If you want to sharpen fellow Christians and participate in God's plan to reconcile all things to himself, you're doing it wrong in my opinion.

I think this exchange is only the second time in my life I have commented on any blog. I guess I could have just closed my browser or moved on to a different website, but I found the trajectory of your writing so troubling that I hoped to give you something to think about. Everyone, from pastors to bloggers, is in desperate need of grace.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Hatchet,

As someone that has been drummed out of MH, I would love to chat with you some time privately. How could we pull that off?

Anonymous for now.....

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

i've been contacted anonymously in the past by people who put in a comment on an ancient post where comments go straight into moderation and asked me to delete the comment so they could stay anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Don't know what to tell you other than I would like to speak with you as you seem to know quite a bit about MH. It was just a thought....we just discovered you as of late so your outdated post is new to us. Peace.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

I'll bring up a point as a matter of clarification because I am dealing with newbies to this blog.
If Acts 29 is an interdenominational church planting network and the organization has functionally been an extension of Mars Hill then this is fine "if" Mars Hill has no illusions about Acts 29 as simply an arm of expanding the Mars Hill brand and establishing Mars Hill as, in practical terms, a denomination. This was something that I began to have strong convictions about back in 2006 when I was still a member. Because MH leaders are unable or unwilling to concede MH is a denomination with denominational goals it matters far more that they have so utterly dominated Acts 29 than if they admitted they were functionally a denomination. Mark Driscoll knows that MH has effectively been a denomination since as far back as 2006 but he seems uncomfortable admitting it publicly. I'm not sure why but he is.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

The problem with the near total dominance of Mars Hill within Acts 29 that was apparent earlier this year is not a simple one and, obviously, not everyone will even perceive it as a risk. "If" A29 is supposed to be interdenominational then it's impossible for that to be the case if 80% funding, 2/3 the board, and 4/5 central staff are all Mars Hill. That's not even "interdenominational" in terms of leadership and culture any longer, it's being dominated by one church. Given 14 campuses, the multisite layout, and the influence I consider that a nascent denomination more than a simple church.

As I wrote above, if the MH leaders could just admit what they've actually become I'd find it less problematic that they came to dominate the A29 board. The trouble, as I perceive things, is Driscoll and the executive elders grasp for any terminology that points away from the reality that Mars Hill started functionally working like a denomination somewhere back around 2006-2007.

Futhermore, I'm not aware that anyone else has seriously discussed Scott Thomas' role in the EIT and firing process of 2007 regarding Petry and Meyer. The documents at Joyful Exiles make it clear that Scott Thomas was managing each stage of the kangaroo court. I was given an email sent by Scott Thomas to a MH member back in 2007 in which Thomas stated "a conciliatory process" had been completed days before Thomas, as head of the EIT, made the case that Munson's charges against Petry and Meyer were credible grounds for firing. In other words, Scott Thomas lied to a member of Mars Hill using Acts 29 resources to do so.

Longtime members would not have had access to this kind of information unless they were recipients of emails from Scott Thomas of the kind I have described. Thomas' deception was something even I had no clue about until this year, and that only after Joyful Exiles went up. So longtime members wouldn't know about this because it was arguably not known at that time.

All that is to say that the less enmeshed Acts 29 is with Mars Hill the healthier I think it can become and the more readily it can be a truly interdenominational network that isn't dominated by a single church.