One of the greatest and most harmful events was Pastor Jamie resigning and leaving me in this job as General Manager/Executive Elder. From early June until he resigned in August, he had basically checked out. So I had less than 6 weeks as General Manager before becoming #1 King without being an Elder. Then finally in November, I was made an Executive Pastor without have any creditability with the staff. This single fact hindered my ability to really even understand the organization or the people, much less see the problems as they had existed for a long time.
If you go back and look, the Church had no budget and the financial statements were a total joke this time last year. Financial reporting was 4 to 5 months late because the staff in finance was incompetent and the policies and procedures were non-existent. I am sorry, these are strong words, but it is true. ...
This memo seems to have been written by someone who may or may not have had memory of earlier explanations of financial systems from the pulpit. Wenatchee The Hatchet has kept some tabs on this kind of thing and we're about to indulge in some self-recycling for educational purposes. If there was truly a bunch of incompetent staff in finance and no set of policies and procedures then this opinion would need to be cross-checked against the short history of public assurance about financial solidity. Specifically, we need to go back to 2007-2008 when Tim Beltz was introduced as an executive elder and consider that Beltz handled financial operations up until later 2010. Why he stopped being an executive elder has never been explained and how he transitioned from that high role to being some kind of biblical living pastor has also never been explained.
Now on November 4, 2007 Mark Driscoll preached the sermon “The Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Humility”. In this sermon he referred to a couple of men who became pastors. One of them was James Noriega who had recently been promoted to the Board of Directors and placed in charge of alcohol and recovery group ministries. James Noriega and Bill Clem played important roles in getting the property that is now Mars Hill West Seattle to Mars Hill in 2006.
So the elders voted this Tim to be an Executive Elder and on the Board of Directors.
Now we get to the late 2008 Generous series
According to Tim Beltz' earlier accounts he was an executive pastor from October 2007 until November 2010, when he became Pastor of Operations. But it wasn't all that long before he ended up being a "biblical living pastor" of some sort, was it?
In October 2007, Tim was ordained at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA and served as the executive pastor until November 2010 when he became pastor of operations. [emphasis added] As executive pastor, his responsibilities included overseeing the financial, HR, legal, technology and capital programs for the church. He transitioned off staff July 2011 and now serves as an unpaid elder at MHC West Seattle and as a member of the MHC Board of Elders. Tim is a faculty member at the MHC Re:Train program and regularly presents workshops at regional and national executive pastor seminars and conferences.
Tim has extensive executive experience in the non-profit, public and private sectors...7 years as a CEO and 8 years as a COO. From 2003-2007 he was the executive vice president and COO of CRISTA Ministries, a North Seattle-based Christian organization of nearly 2,000 employees and a $170M annual budget...the 2nd largest non-profit in the state. [emphasis added]
So while the March 17, 2012 memo indicated that there seemed to be no financial competence or controls or procedures it is actually not clear that there were no such things in place throughout the history of Mars Hill since 2007. Beltz was brought on as a consultant to streamline policies and procedures and ensure financial accountability of some kind.
Assuming that Beltz had helped architect accountability for money given to Mars Hill across the entire chain of command what happened between November 2010 and November 2011, the gap of time between Tim Beltz no longer being executive pastor and Sutton Turner being introduced as an executive pastor? The March 2012 memo seems to indicate the author was persuaded financial reporting was incoherent and that the financial situation was problematic at best and that there were no controls and no competence.
Assuming Turner's memo was right that Munson was basically checked out and the financial staff were incompetent and there were no policies in place ... could this be proven? After all, one opinion is still one opinion, even if of an executive elder. And Beltz was at that time still around to see how things had changed for better or worse since he had been added to the executive elder team back in 2007 and had transitioned off for reasons as yet unexplained.
It's possible there was "nothing" per the March 2012 memo but it seems to make more sense, knowing the history of Mars Hill and the public assurances of its leaders to the laity that financial stewardship was a concern, to suggest that there probably were previous policies and procedures and systems in place that had devolved earlier in the wake of some kind of change in the leadership culture.
Because if the fiscal scenario was as bad as the March 2012 made it seem then the corporation known as Mars Hill Church may have just deserved to die of its own fiscal incompetence and the culture of entitlement in its leadership.
It also means that if Mars Hill does not become 100% transparent about all its finances in the past as well as the present that there's no saving the corporation from a deserved financial death however robust the social and spiritual community associated with it may yet prove to be (or not to be).