Monday, August 20, 2012

Scott Thomas as Pastor of Pastoral Development at The Journey and the Mars Hill membership covenant, a question 

About Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas is Pastor of Pastoral Development at The Journey Church in St Louis. He created the Gospel Coach Training and Certification system and has coached hundreds of pastors. Scott has served as President and Network Director of Acts 29 Network and as an elder at Mars Hill Church. Scott has an MA in Missional Leadership and has been married for 31 years to Jeannie, with whom he has two sons. He planted and replanted churches for 16 years as a lead pastor

Update 8/22/2012 That hotlink is not to Churchplanting, just so you know.

What about this part of the membership covenant at Mars Hil?

So what about this?

Here's a sermon from July 22, 2012 that Thomas preached. 

"Good morning.  It's good to be with you. My name is Scott Thomas.  I'm the newest pastor at The Journey. I oversee pastoral development. I oversee all the different sites. ... I most recently came from Seattle. We just moved into our house on Monday this week." 

Okay ... so ...
Is Scott Thomas preaching as Pastor of Pastoral Development?  His Linked In profile says he is but he doesn't seem to be currently listed.  He wouldn't have been preaching as a pastor at Mars Hill or in connection to Acts 29 because he's not listed as either these days.  He's also not listed as Pastor of Pastoral Development even at The Journey.  Not yet, at least.  I'm confident that the listings will get updated.  The Journey may not be as swift about website renovation as Mars Hill.

More to the point, did Scott Thomas preach at The Journey while still a member of Mars Hill Church?  If so then he couldn't have been Pastor of Pastoral Development at The Journey for even just a few months without having breached an explicit prohibition in the Mars Hill membership covenant, could he? Let me put it this way, unless he was listed as just a "guest" on The City between June 2012 and right now then if he was/is a member of Mars Hill Church while having done preaching as a pastor in a leadership capacity at some non Mars Hill church that would sure look like  a breach of the membership covenant he had to have signed to be a member of Mars Hill Church.  If Scott Thomas says he's Pastor of Pastoral Development and he's not then he'll want to update his Linked In profile.  If he was Pastoral of Pastoral Development at The Journey since June 2012 and also simultaneously still a covenanted member of Mars Hill Church, well, the membership covenant speaks for itself, doesn't it?

But there are a few important technical considerations ... if all member churches of Acts 29 are considered equivalent to Mars Hill then everything's cool and the membership covenant hasn't been violated but if that's the case then ... is there any meaningful distinction between Acts 29 and Mars Hill Church?  If there is then Scott Thomas can't be a pastor at Darrin Patrick's church for even a few months without violating an explicit prohibition of the Mars Hill membership covenant.  If there isn't then a Mars Hill member is permitted to serve as a pastor at an Acts 29 member church because there's no practical, meaningful distinction to be made between Acts 29 Network churches and Mars Hill.  Or so it would seem. If this is a case study of how Acts 29 is untangling where Mars Hill ends and Acts 29 begins I wonder how far that untangling process has gone.  s.

Meanwhile, those with access to Mars Hill on The City might want to go verify whether Scott Thomas is listed as a member or a guest of Mars Hill since June 2012. For the sake of compliance with the membership covenant it will be best if he's just a guest.


Rebecca Kvenvolden said...

you're guess is as good as mine or anyone's! One thing I discovered at MH is that its not ok to talk- about anything MH related- its considered gossip, and the flow of information is thus quelled. I'm glad you are asking questions.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

It shouldn't be too difficult for people who have access to The City to confirm whether or not, for instance, if Scott Thomas is listed as a member of Mars Hill at the U-District campus as of today or not. That would seem like something that could be confirmed without having to guess. Of course that would necessitate access to The City and it's not a given that Scott Thomas is a member of Mars Hill, is it? According to Thomas' sermon he was at MH and maybe he's resigned his membership or maybe he should resign it soon because he can't very well be a pastor at The Journey and a member of MH if the membership covenant means anything at all.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Let's just say that it would be no surprise at all if Scott Thomas was still listed on The City as a member of a Mars Hill Church campus even as recently as 8/20/2012 even though he preached a sermon at The Journey introducing himself as the most recently added pastor to their leadership team earlier this year.

Rebecca Kvenvolden said...

I was booted off the city a few months ago, so no help there, i'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Verified, he is indeed still a member at U-District.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

If he were even still a member at all I would have guessed he'd be at the Ballard campus. I was wrong about that.

That he's still listed as a member is interesting, not surprising at all, but interesting.