For those who don't have much background on Smith his role in the history of MHC has been documented a little at the following links:
Those links (if you've already read them) may help establish some context for the following content. It would appear that there's a Tim Smith who has recently announced a pending sabbatical.
How Tim Smith went from being Worship Pastor to being replaced with Dustin Kensrue and ending up as a campus pastor would be its own history-of-MH to explore at this point. No one has been able to establish if there were any arrests or any leads in the vandalization of the Portland campus and for those who remember journalistic and blogging coverage from the Portland area at the time of that event there were some in the gay community who suspected the vandalization of Mars Hill Portland was more likely a false flag operation than an actual act of vandalism. So, anyway, this announcement (such as it is) was conveyed to Wenatchee The Hatchet recently:
Portland | Priority Topic
From Pastor Timothy Smith:
Dear Mars Hill Portland Family,
It seems hard to believe but this coming August will mark 15 years since I drove into Pastor Mark’s driveway to move into his basement and join Mars Hill Church. At that time it was a church plant of a couple hundred people meeting in a rented space in downtown Seattle. It has been a joy and immense privilege to be a part of all God has done in the years followed; especially the most recent chapter of Mars Hill Portland. To be totally honest, it has also been exhausting.
Over the years, I have rarely taken a “truly healing” break. At times I have set an unwise pace for myself that is not sustainable. This year has been more of a challenge than most as Mars Hill has been constantly been drawn up into conflict and controversy.
I’m a bit of a runner and sometimes, on a longer run, you start to develop a side ache. I’ve learned over time that this is your body telling you that you are not breathing deeply enough. You have to slow down, breathe deeply, and then it fades away and you can continue running. I believe this is a very similar season for me. I need to slow down for a bit, listen to what God is telling me, and get some rest so I can keep running in the next season.
I brought this idea to our local elders here in Portland (Ryan Mount, Jeremy Anderson & Daniel Lowndes) as well as our executive elders across Mars Hill (Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas & Sutton Turner). Both groups had the same response, “Of course you should take a break. It’s about time!” I’m very blessed to have so many Godly brothers in Christ looking out for me with support and encouragement. So, in light of all this, I will be taking a bit of a sabbatical this summer.
A sabbatical is simply an extended Sabbath time. The details are still coming together but I’m looking to take between 5 and 7 weeks off sometime between mid-June and mid-August. As soon as plans are set I’ll let you know more.
The great news is that we have outstanding pastors and leaders in place to take care of the church while I’m away. Executive Deacon Kevin Kelly is doing a great job with the day-to-day operations of the church. Without his help and expertise I couldn’t take this kind of a break. Pastor Ryan Mount will take point on pastoral matters. He and I worked together to plant this church and, along with Pastors Daniel & Jeremy, you will be well taken care of.
Worship on Sundays will be handled by a number of our local worship leaders as well as some special guests from time to time. I hope you see this as an encouraging step towards health and sustainability for our church. My family and I are beyond encouraged that this can happen and by all the support that has come along with it. Please know that I will be back later in the summer.
I know some of you have been a churches where “sabbatical” is code for “he’s really looking for a graceful way to quit.” I assure you that is not the case here. I am more encouraged about the future of Mars Hill and more motivated on the mission of Jesus than ever! I have simply run really hard for a decade and a half and, by God’s grace, I’m going to take an extra long vacation. [emphasis added]
Look for more details in the coming weeks and grab me on Sunday if you have any questions.
With much love and affection,
Pastor Tim Smith