Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A history of publicly listed City accounts of Mars Hill leaders and homework for readers at home

Earlier this year Wenatchee The Hatchet made a few observations about the statement of the MH BOAA.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/03/mars-hill-board-of-advisors-and.html

You can consult the statement itself here:

http://marshill.com/2014/03/07/a-note-from-our-board-of-advisors-accountability

Former Staff
In a 2 year period ending in the fall of 2013, Mars Hill Church endured significant turnover of key staff members that made many wonderful contributions to the development of Mars Hill Church during their tenure. A number of these staff transitions were acrimonious. Pastor Mark and the other executive Elders own their part in any discord that could have been avoided with a better process or a more patient interaction.

During the Spring of 2013 the BOAA mandated that a thorough review be conducted with all former staff from that period, soliciting their feedback so that no needed lessons for a healthier future would be neglected. In the summer of 2013 the BOAA reviewed that report, and needed corrections to policy and detrimental management patterns had been made. A former staff elder, Dave Kraft, whose disagreements with Mars Hill policies have recently been made public, had previously communicated with the BOAA numerous times that he was satisfied with the steps we have taken to address his concerns.

The BOAA supports the policy of requiring staff to commit their signatures to a mutual agreement, such as a separation agreement, that private matters of the church learned during a season of employment not be divulged outside the organization. We have seen this practice as wise for stewarding the resources entrusted to the church while engaging in common human resources practices.

So the BOAA verified that in a two year period ending in the fall of 2013 Mars Hill Church endured a significant turnover of key staff members.  A number of the staff transitions were acrimonious.  Over at Warren Throckmorton's blog it seems someone made available a letter from Michael Van Skaik of Mars Hill's Board of Advisors and Accountability.  In the letter attributed to Van Skaik are the following words:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/03/27/leadership-board-at-mars-hill-church/

... On May 10, 2013, a now former elder filed formal charges against Pastor Mark Driscoll and other leaders at Mars Hill. While stating that he had not personally been sinned against by Pastor Mark, he had at least seven unnamed witnesses who would testify to the offenses and hurts he claimed, which if found to be substantiated, could result in disqualification. We requested the names of the witnesses to exercise Matthew 5:23-25, but he refused to disclose them. While the issues cited as evidence from these charges came from anonymous sources, the issues all revolved around the theme of mistreatment of fellow leaders and staff. As the governing body responsible for the accountability of Mars Hill’s senior leaders, the Board took these charges extremely seriously.

In an effort to substantiate the validity of the anonymous charges, we immediately sent out over one hundred letters to former elders and staff at Mars Hill Church from the previous two years, inviting their feedback and perspectives regarding their time on staff at the church, particularly their interactions with Pastor Mark and the Executive Elders. We received eighteen responses.

What those letters may have actually looked like and what they requested of former staff was the subject of a blog post here:

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/03/mhc-boaa-sent-letters-in-2013-inviting.html

But what has not really been made open for discussion on enquiry is the scale of the transitional period.  If more than 100 letters were sent to former elders and staff by the BOAA this meant that more than one hundred people were fired, resigned, or laid off inside of a two year period.  That seems like a catastrophic level of turnover.  What changed in 2011 that might precipitate such a vast shift in employment?  The only significant, observable event was that Sutton Turner joined the executive leadership group. 

Now Wenatchee The Hatchet has discussed over the last two months how thoroughly Mars Hill Church has obliterated about a decade of material preached or taught by Mark Driscoll from its sermon and media archive.  Wenatchee The Hatchet has also discussed how robots.txt has been introduced to Mars Hill affiliated sites that precludes the use of The WayBack Machine.

Unfortunately for Mars Hill there's actually been a significant loophole in the application of robots.txt.  It's worth mentioning so that readers who have access to The City can be in a position to get a clearer sense of what transitions may have happened across the entire corporation known as Mars Hill Church in the last three years.  In other words, Mars Hill Church has not managed to deploy robots.txt so thoroughly as to preclude public accessibility (for now) of what is about to be listed below.  Assume for the sake of precedent that the loophole will be fixed by the end of the week, perhaps, if not in the next couple of days.  We'll just give you a clue by way of a single word ... "prefix". 

So ... the following information has been available and accessible for months to anyone who has known where to look for it.  We'll introduce you to a simple tutorial on the format in question.

Let's say you got an account on The City.  You might get something that looks like this:

http://marshill.onthecity.org/users/[insert user # here]

So, for instance, who might you find if you plugged in this if you had access to The City yourself?
http://marshill.onthecity.org/users/67

Read the text here at the very bottom left.
It's what you get when you scroll over the highlighted button "The City" for someone you may have heard of before.

Now you see, dear readers, Wenatchee The Hatchet noticed years ago that MHC was eager to promote The City as its homegrown social networking platform and during 2011 the MHC web presence openly listed the user numbers of a lot of staff.  This means that in theory a current member of Mars Hill should be able to take the above formulation (assuming it still works) and plug in any of the below numbers as the closing extension to see if these people are still members, staff, or pastors at Mars Hill Church in any capacity. 

These are all old listings from the MH website circa later 2011. How Wenatchee The Hatchet found all of this has already been given away earlier in the body of the blog post.    Take one of the numbers below, paste it to the end of the http://marshill.onthecity.org/users/ ... and see (if you happen to have access to the system) who comes up or if you get nothing.

BALLARD
PASTORS
bill clem 551
mark driscoll 67
bubba jennings 69
joel brown 550
brad house 2
mike wilkerson 64
eric stark 366
phil smidt 61
justin holcomb 15138
matt johnson 78
elliot grudem 114129
adam christiansen 365
STAFF
katie allen 47
brandon anderson 1526
matt kelly 18823
lynne wilson  7820
mitch miller 42171
david ginn 7631

BELLEVUE
thomas hurst 692
gary shavey 482
alex ghioni 18541
michael van skaik 2722
tim zion 651
sam delay 2359
jason skelton 18541
seth winterhalter 116391
brian mccormack 110859
dustin nickerson 721
rachelle peck 138

DOWNTOWN
PASTORS
tim gaydos 83
will little 17
caleb davis 312
cam huxford 1114
colin day 100
steven kwan 27473
gareth best  943
justin ashurst 2559
brandon olsen 1713
jeff bettger 403
willie wilson 51061
MINISTRY LEADS
paul freed 88
rachel freed 98
jordan gwyther 18481
shandel slaten 1689
david katz 3408
amanda hightower 624
maurice morales 22467
chris bristol 1743
jevon washington 61254

EVERETT
hard to spot the leader listings

FEDERAL WAY
samuel choi 4718
dave harris 1214
mike davis 1804

OLYMPIA
steven mulkey 156
bruce ensign 1984
kyle van tine 4483
susan ensign 2193
laurie mcnally 2216
travis matthews 1997
jenny matthews 1887
justin watilo 8417
walter cunningham 4606

U DISTRICT
matt jensen 334
steve sakanashi 2237
alex berg 3796
devin deuell 2949
jason murray 6015

SHORELINE
steve tompkins 377
james harleman 104
justin schaeffer 94
kerry michaelis 446
dick mckinley 109
chad toulouse 163
joe day 79
jim tomisser 5714
reagan north 204

WEST SEATTLE
david fairchild 328099
cliff ellis 2519
cliff low 420
tim beltz 80
bill simmonds 2685
fred choi 1777
justin gillebo 4463
toby morrell 512370

ORANGE COUNTY
nick bogardus 15463
kyle firstenberg 338
dustin kensrue 301748
dave kraft 84

PORTLAND
no particularly useful listings

ALBUQUERQUE
aj hamilton 63 (not at this campus any longer, obviously)
donovan medina 15711
matt wallace 17936

While not publicly listed as a pastor any longer members of Mars Hill may know whether or not the person who has this username is 1) still a part of Mars Hill Church and 2) in some kind of leadership role.
http://marshill.onthecity.org/users/66

Finally, while more than 100 staff and elders transitioned out of Mars Hill Church between 2011 and 2013 it's been indicated only that some of the transitions were acrimonious.  It is possible many of them were not, though without people being will to say things on record (and non-disclosure agreements apparently could account for this) we can't be sure of anything.

But what does seem to have been attested by members of the BOAA is that a lot of people left between 2011 and 2013 under circumstances of some kind.  Some of the transitions were rough.  We've also been informed that some time in 2013 formal charges were made and that more than 100 letters were sent out to former staff and, allegedly, the aim was to discern whether there was a basis for the formal charges that were made.  It remains to be discovered whether the letters that were sent out clearly stated what the intent of said letters was.  It also remains to be discovered by those who may be able to make sense of the numbers and configurations above how many of the names listed above still have any affiliation with Mars Hill Church.

Every once in a while someone has asked where on earth Wenatchee the Hatchet finds stuff.  The answer is pretty simple, sitting around in plain sight in places people may just not have bothered to look yet.  If the goal of Mars Hill Church in introducing robots.txt to prevent the use of The WayBack Machine for archiving information was to prevent the discovery of something like this then, well, it was a failure.  Mars Hill for a short time was advertising the City user profile numbers for a lot of their elders and staff for anyone to go see.  And this might provide a starting point for getting some sense of how drastic the changes in leadership at Mars Hill have been since 2011. 

If people who are new to Mars Hill or not so new to Mars Hill want to get some sense of what has or hasn't changed this blog post "may" give them some information that could be the start of a process of discovery. 

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