Friday, March 15, 2013

Transitions at Mars Hill Downtown Seattle and Bellevue, aka departure of Tim Gaydos

Sometimes stuff just turns up here at Wenatchee The Hatchet. 

Ballard | New Discussion Topic

Pastor Alex Early
From Pastor Alex Early:
Mars Hill Ballard,
There’s a lot going on here at Ballard and across all of our churches. I really believe the best is yet to come!
I want to let you know about some changes that occurred recently at Mars Hill Downtown Seattle that affect our church family, particularly the Ballard family as we are so close to Downtown and have many friends who attend there as well. As you will read below from the Executive Elders, Tim Gaydos, Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Downtown Seattle feels that he and his wife Brittany are being called into a new season of ministry away from Mars Hill. We love Tim and we are excited for his future, but this transition has come as a surprise to the elders.
In order to care for the church continue God’s mission, the Executive Elders have put together a interim plan as they look for a replacement Lead Pastor. Below is a message that was posted to the Downtown Seattle church, and I wanted to share it with you so that you are up to speed as well. Please be praying for our brothers and sisters at Mars Hill Downtown Seattle, as well as for our Executive Elders.
Pastor Alex
-——————————————————————
Dear Mars Hill Downtown Seattle,
If you were able to join us for the Member’s Meeting tonight, thank you for giving us your time on such short notice. We wanted to share the following statements from Tim Gaydos, the Downtown Seattle Elders, and the Executive Elders for those of you who were unable to make it.
From Tim Gaydos:

For the past seven years it has been a great joy and privilege to be a part of what God is doing at Mars Hill Church. These last few weeks Brittany and I have spent a great deal of time praying and discerning God’s call upon our lives for the future and what would be the best use of my gifts and skills. It is bitter sweet as we announce that we believe God is moving us on to something new. Therefore, I have decided to resign my position as Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Downtown Seattle.

We believe God has made it clear to us that we have a new season of life and ministry ahead of us. This was a very hard decision for Brittany and I, as we do love the people of Mars Hill so dearly. Although we are very confident that you will continue to be cared for by the leadership at Mars Hill.

We are praying about the next steps for us, and as we step out in faith we are asking God to walk with us through this next season. I know that God has great things in store for you in the future, and I know we will always treasure the years we had together. We are very grateful for the relationships and friendships that God has provided for us over the years. I know it may be hard for some to understand our decision, and maybe some of you have had those moments in your life where something seemed so illogical, but you know it’s something you have to do. We will miss you all very much.

– Tim Gaydos

From Pastor Jamie Munson, on behalf of the Downtown Seattle Elders:

As elders of the Downtown Seattle church, many of us who have known Tim and Brittany for many years, we are saddened to hear about Tim’s decision to step down as Lead Pastor. We are so grateful for what God has done at Downtown, and for the amazing ways he’s worked through his people and through Tim Gaydos. This church has grown from just a few hundred, to more than 1500 under Tim’s leadership. It continues to grow and we look forward to the day when we will soon fill every seat in this beautiful building.

One thing that we want to make clear is that Tim Has not committed any sin, or done anything that would disqualify him as an elder. Tim has been a great leader, and a great friend. He will be missed, and we will have a hard time filling his shoes, but we are very confident that God will continue to bless this church.

– Pastor Jamie Munson and the Downtown Seattle elders

From the Executive Elders:

Mars Hill, we are also very sad to see our good friend Tim move on from Mars Hill. It is not our desire for Tim to leave, as we love the Gaydos family very much, and we believe Tim is well suited for this job. We would prefer that Tim remain as the Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Downtown Seattle indefinitely, especially in light of the recent relocation to the heart of downtown, the growing influence of the church, and our big Easter celebration broadcasting live from the Downtown church in just a few weeks.

However, Tim believes it is time for him to move onto something else. While Tim offered to stay on staff until a replacement is found, the executive elders met with Tim and made the decision that it would be in the best interest of the church for his resignation to take effect immediately, and the Downtown Seattle elders concurred with the decision. We love him and his family and we don’t want them to suffer through this transition, so we have offered him 3 months of severance, and will continue to pay for his medical benefits through the birth of their new baby.

The news of Tim Gaydos leaving Mars Hill was unexpected and unforeseen, so we’ve put together an interim plan to care for you as we seek a new leader. As a church family, this is a very important time for us to care for each other and not be divisive, as we seek a leader who can lovingly and firmly lead this church towards embracing the mission and vision of Mars Hill, and what God has in store for one of our largest churches. As we consider the best candidate to lead the Downtown Seattle church, Pastor AJ Hamilton has accepted the responsibility to step in as the interim Lead Pastor of Downtown Seattle. Pastor AJ is a trustworthy and hardworking pastor that recently relocated to Bellevue from Mars Hill Albuquerque to lead our Community Groups ministry across all 14 churches. Pastor AJ was lead pastor of Mars Hill Albuquerque, so you are in very good hands.
To provide support for Pastor AJ, Pastor Jason Skelton from our Bellevue church has joined the leadership team at Downtown Seattle as Executive Pastor. Our Bellevue church has been blessed with very gifted leaders and is one of our strongest and most stable churches. Lead Pastor Thomas Hurst will remain at Bellevue and has a wonderful team of elders to support our mission on the Eastside. We believe these changes will provide you with a very strong leadership team to help care for the church during this transition. It is our desire to find a permanent Lead Pastor as soon as we can.

Mars Hill, we love you very much and we encourage you to stand strong during this season. This is a great time to step up to leadership, take on a serving role, or become a member of the church. We need faithful servants and humble leaders to carry the mission forward. Please pray and consider where God may have you serve. To come and serve Downtown, Pastor Mark will also begin preaching live from Downtown Seattle more often, as well as preaching live from Bellevue. We hope that these leadership changes are encouraging to you, as we have been very blessed with gifted leaders who love this church very much.

Lastly, we know that transitions like this can be unsettling, particularly within a church that loves it’s elders as much as the people of Mars Hill do. Please join us in praying for our church to stay strong and continue to grow through this season. We believe a revival is coming to Seattle, and there’s nothing the enemy wants more than for our church to turn on itself or flee when there’s any sign of difficult times. We look forward to the amazing things God has in store for our church, particularly Mars Hill Downtown Seattle, and we’d like to encourage each of you as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
For God’s glory,
Pastor Dave Bruskas, Pastor Sutton Turner, and Pastor Mark Driscoll

View this topic on The City »

UPDATE:
For The Stranger's coverage, go here.

Allegedly Will Little has resigned, according to comments identifying a "Will" but unable to identify a last name.  Will Little would fit the recent roster, if the report is true that a "Will" is leaving.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a church family, this is a very important time for us to care for each other and not be divisive...
- Pastor Dave Bruskas, Pastor Sutton Turner, and Pastor Mark Driscoll

Oh, that is rich.
What are we not being told?
Who said anything about being "divisive"?
Why even bring up the subject? If this is just a transition of someone who is moving on and they all love us so much, why such fear of divisiveness? Methinks thou protesteth too much.

Anonymous said...

I was tipped a few days ago that this was coming, that his and a few others at downtown were forced to resign. I'll assume WTH was tipped the same way. I can't confirm that per se, but I'll bet WTH can. If so, this is very bad. The fear language of the official statement says to me that the truth of this situation is a powder keg, but who knows. A few days ago, a church staffing agency van der bloemen or something like that was all over twitter shilling this new opening at MHC Downtown. Training the called, eh?

Anonymous said...

"There’s nothing the enemy wants more than for our church to turn on itself or flee when there’s any sign of difficult times". <--- Add this to protesting too much, there is a lot unsaid here!

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Anonymous from 4:45am,
Wenatchee was tipped off this week after the fact. If Beltz is on the way out voluntarily or through coercion one can only speculate as to what reasons there might be.

Beltz seemed like he did a lot to shape fiscal approaches and policies in MH during the big 2007 re-org. He was also COO of CRISTA during the period in which MH was given free access to Schirmer Auditorium.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/01/mh-executive-pastor-tim-beltz-mh.html

If Beltz is on the way out then Wenatchee might as well remind people of Beltz' role in MH over the years. He was Chief Operations Officer for CRISTA during the time MH got a rent-free, utility free use of CRISTA's Schirmer Auditorium. Exactly who fit the bill for that deal and who arranged for it is one of the persistent, unanswered questions Wenatchee brought up in the real estate and Mars Hill series. Beltz had been attending MH since about 2004.

If Beltz and Will Little are on their way out three guys leaving MH DT in one fell swoop is a major shake-up.

It's worth noting that the current lease arrangement nearly fell through in 2011 because the owner of what is MH DT didn't want to sell or relinquish full control over the use of the real estate. It was interesting how in 2011 the deal nearly fell through but in 2012 it was considered a boon. Sutton Turner may simply have more bargaining ability for real estate than Munson or the others because he's the only difference in the executive elder team over that transition.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

"We believe a revival is coming to Seattle, ... "

Wenatchee stopped subscribing to revivalist sentimentality a decade or so ago and so this just looks like a weird statement. Using the methods of the Second Great Awakening in a Seattle context seems like a recipe for making an Even-More-Burned-Over District. It's not surprise if the First Great Awakening is what they may be hoping to replicate but those kinds of moments are not replicable, nor should they be. Selling revival in advance year after year was one of the things that turned Wenatchee off from traditional Pentecostalism. But that's just Wenatchee's experience, apparently people inside MH have gotten this idea that revivalism is actually a GOOD thing.

Anonymous said...

WTH: "It's not a surprise if the First Great Awakening is what they may be hoping to replicate but those kinds of moments are not replicable, nor should they be."

What do you mean?
Revival has arrived in Seattle!!!

PROOF: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3m-55sQZbQ

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

It's worth noting that Gaydos was described as willing to retain the lead pastor role until a replacement is found but the executive elders decided against that.

"While Tim offered to stay on staff until a replacement is found, the executive elders met with Tim and made the decision that it would be in the best interest of the church for his resignation to take effect immediately, and the Downtown Seattle elders concurred with the decision. We love him and his family and we don’t want them to suffer through this transition, so we have offered him 3 months of severance, and will continue to pay for his medical benefits through the birth of their new baby."

So even though there doesn't appear to be either a lead pastor or an executive pastor at Mars Hill Downtown these days MH's executive elders have no interest at all in letting Gaydos keep the lead pastor role? Or is someone already taking over the lead pastor role? Or, more pragmatically, do those distinctions matter?

Now after six or seven years of service three months' salary ... is that supposed to be construed as generous? Three months' salary was the amount given to Meyer and Petry when they got fired, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

This is what stood out to me:

'As a church family, this is a very important time for us to care for each other and not be divisive, as we seek a leader who can lovingly and firmly lead this church towards embracing the mission and vision of Mars Hill, and what God has in store for one of our largest churches.'

'We need faithful servants and humble leaders to carry the mission forward.'

Sounds to me like Gaydos was not thrilled about their mission/vision and decided to get out before he became another MH casualty, ala Meyer and Petry.

Paul said...

We seek a leader who can lovingly and firmly lead this church towards embracing the mission and vision of Mars Hill...

Sounds like the church currently is not "embracing" that "mission and vision" and they are looking for someone who can get the troops in line.

Anonymous said...

75 srdsraInteresting. Tim Gaydos signs his name as simply "Tim Gaydos." The rest of them put "Pastor" before their names. Even Alex Early is already using the monikker. Didn't take him long to be part of the heirarchy. His letter shows he's already got the religio/corporate-speak down pat.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Early seems to have been an early adopter for shame-based motivational rhetoric in a couple of spots.

... I still hate puns but there was almost no way to get around that one.