Well, dear readers, we've documented in the past that Scott Thomas preached a sermon and said he was the newest pastor at The Journey, an Acts 29 affiliated church led by Darrin Patrick. Darrin Patrick is on the board of Acts 29, the organization Scott Thomas was president of until earlier this year.
On September 2012 Scott Thomas preached another sermon and this time things are official.
preached by Pastor Scott Thomas
Pastor of Ministry Development
314-863-8448 x 7129
It would appear, at least as of this morning, that Scott Thomas is also still listed as a member of Mars Hill Church on The City, though he's not a member of any campus. Back in August he was listed as a member of Mars Hill at the U-District campus. Well, someone disaffiliated him from the campus since the 8/20/2012 blog entry here discussing Scott Thomas' sermon. Scott Thomas may be a member of Mars Hill but not in affiliation with the U-District campus.
It doesn't seem likely Scott Thomas opted to disaffiliate from Mars Hill U-District. During the big re-org of 2007 members were told that they had to choose a campus affiliation as part of membership. The onus was entirely on the member. That said, campus pastors were given significant lattitude in assessment of members and member activity. If you want a case study that has been moderately documented in 2012 go look up Andrew's case at Matthew Paul Turner's blog. If Thomas himself never bothered to resign his membership before preaching one sermon it's not likely he chose to merely disaffiliate his membership from the U-District campus by the time he preached another sermon at The Journey on September 2 this year. It is possible, however, campus leaders at the U-District opted to end Scott Thomas' affiliation with that campus through The City. If so that may have been the most they could do with the authority they had.
Now for the sake of review, here's earlier coverage of Scott Thomas' leadership transition this year.
For further review here's the incontestable language from the Mars Hill member covenant showing why Scott Thomas can't simultaneously be a pastor at any non-Mars Hill church and also a member of Mars Hill Church.
- I will not function in leadership or as a member in another church family [emphasis added](Heb. 13:17).
- I covenant to submit to discipline by God through his Holy Spirit, to follow biblical procedures for church discipline in my relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ, to submit to righteous discipline when approached biblically by brothers and sisters in Christ, and to submit to discipline by church leadership if the need should ever arise (Ps. 141:5; Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:1-5; 2 Cor. 2:5-8; Gal. 6:1-5 8; 1 Tim. 5:20; 2 Tim. 2:25; Titus 1:9; 3:10-11; Heb. 12:5-11; Rev. 2:5-7, 14-25).
It's a breach of the member covenant of Mars Hill for Scott Thomas to be a member of Mars Hill and a pastor or a member in any capacity at any other church. Perhaps Mars Hill's PR person Justin Dean can field something since questions about administration and implementation of documents and associations on The City was something he fielded in the case of Andrew earlier this year. If Scott Thomas is still a member in any capacity at Mars Hill having preached a few sermons at The Journey how does that not violate the member covenant?
The week of 8/20/2012 we got confirmation that Scott Thomas was still a member of Mars Hill. If you don't believe this would a screen capture persuade you, if one were available? If you don't believe that as of today Scott Thomas is still listed as a member of Mars Hill church, though with no campus affiliation, would you log on to the City right now and go see if Scott Thomas is on Mars Hill on The City? Would you see references to courses taught at Resurgence Training Center course titles from the 2009-2010 catalog are still up there in Scott Thomas profile? You know, Leader as Priest, Leader as Prophet, Leader as King.
Well, if that stuff isn't up there by the time you've read this then someone belatedly got to resolving the issue of Scott Thomas' violation of the member covenant. That'd be a good thing. If not, well, you'll see for yourself.
Scott Thomas is, at least, mentioning a role at Mars Hill on his Linked In profile again:
Pastor of Church Planting April 2006 to April 2012
Just Pastor of Church Planting? He was an executive elder in 2007. He even mentioned in his summer sermon at The Journey that he'd been an executive elder at Mars Hill? For anyone at Mars Hill during 2006-2008 what would have been Scott Thomas' most recognizable and famous role? This. Scott Thomas headed up the EIT. He also responded to at least one MH member using his Acts 29 email to say a "conciliatory process" had been completed days before the firing was finalized. He also indicated to Paul Petry that he would not need to show up at his own trial and that vote would be by a show of hands. The problems of conformity and group manipulation in board decisions where a show of hands vote is used has been discussed by Daniel Kahneman in his useful book Thinking Fast & Slow, which got some discussion here earlier this year. Even unbiased witnesses can be steered by a show-of-hands vote through simple social conformity. Given what Driscoll was saying at the time the firings happened the idea that there was no bias going into the firing process at that point is impossible to sustain. Scott Thomas has not discussed (that I'm aware of) his role in the firing process. Mark Driscoll, that I know of, has not even mentioned Scott Thomas' name once since Joyful Exiles went up. Now whether or not Steve Tompkins, Dave Kraft of Gary Shavey may be able to fill in details about the 2007 firings now or not would be difficult to establish. What Thomas announced to Petry was that instead of October 29 the trial was going to happen on October 15
All of that would make things ironic now, if Scott Thomas is preaching as a pastor at The Journey (an Acts 29 member affiliate with Darrin Patrick serving on the board of directors) and Scott Thomas is still a member then this breach of the member covenant would seem a whole lot more clear-cut than the violations that Bent Meyer and Paul Petry were accused of by then executive pastor Jamie Munson.
Now if in light of such information people at The Journey still want Scott Thomas to serve as their pastor, well, okay, then they've made an informed decision. Some of us may not agree that that would be the ideal or right decision but people get to choose stuff, or at the very least Darrin Patrick and the leadership team at The Journey get to decide that how Scott Thomas conducted himself during the 2007 firings as both an executive pastor of Mars Hill and as an executive leader in Acts 29 was enough above reproach to offer him a job.
But this year was the year that Andrew's disciplinary case made headlines. The thing that should concern everyone at Mars Hill is that the disciplinary procedures and precedents for someone at the bottom, like Andrew, don't seem to be the same as disciplinary procedures for someone in the middle (like Meyer and Petry once were), or for someone at the top of the chain of command (like Thomas was as an executive elder). The reason it matters that Scott Thomas is a pastor at one church while still listed as a member of Mars Hill months after he preached a sermon at Darrin Patrick's church should be obvious. The thing about the obvious, however, is that it can be easily underestimated and taken for granted, which can be why most people don't notice the obvious or, if they notice it, choose to think nothing of it. Scott Thomas can get hired as a pastor anywhere anyone wants to have him, the point is that if the Mars Hill membership covenant matters at all he can't be a member of Mars Hill any longer.
If you've got access to The City today and you don't believe what you're reading in this post then log on to The City. If you see that there's no Scott Thomas at Mars Hill at all, and that there's no sign of a Scott Thomas with tags associated with Leader as Priest, Leader as Prophet, or Leader as King; and if there's no mention of Sam Storms then that's great, Mars Hill takes its member covenant just seriously enough to have cut Scott Thomas' membership for a flagrant violation of the plainest terms of the membership covenant. But if today (or even yesterday) you may have seen a Scott Thomas who is a member and who has tags connected to courses affiliated with the Resurgence Training Center Catalog for 2009-2010 then there's a problem. If by now you can't work out what that problem would be or you find a way to consider it to be a minor thing there's not much that could be said or done to change your mind.