Friday, October 31, 2014

in wake of closure announcement BoAA/BoO member Matt Rogers has already registered Bellevue Church

While the official news today is the announced closure of Mars Hill Church the thing to observe for a possible future is that Matt Rogers has already registered a UBI #.  But first, we need to review what Matt Rogers has said in the year so far.

Rogers described those attending a summer protest at Mars Hill as leaving a bit of trash and slandering good men.

From Pastor Matt Rogers:

This past Sunday outside our building about 60 professing Christians led a protest, left a bit of trash, and slandered good men. Inside the building our church family worshipped Jesus. Let that image be what defines us. Others will cast aspersions, but we will worship Jesus.

Where, exactly, are those good men these days?  Didn't Sutton Turner and Mark Driscoll both quit? 

But let's continue observing what Matt Rogers has had to say whether as an individual or as part of a group.

First, it's important to note that Matt Rogers was on the Board of Elders

So if the Board of Elders was reaching a conclusion that Mark Driscoll had a disqualifying sin issue in his life Matt Rogers was simultaneously on the Board of Overseers as well as on the Board of Elders.
What did the Board of Overseers conclude?


While a group of seven elders plus one member of the Board of Overseers was charged with conducting this investigation, the full Board of Overseers is charged with reaching any conclusions and issuing any findings. In that capacity, we believe it appropriate to publicly mention the following:
  1. We concluded that Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner. While we believe Mark needs to continue to address these areas in his life, we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.
  2. Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.
  3. We found some of the accusations against Pastor Mark to be altogether unfair or untrue.
  4. Other charges had been previously been addressed by Pastor Mark, privately and publicly. Indeed, he had publicly confessed and apologized for a number of the charges against him, some of which occurred as long as 14 years ago.

One member of the Board of Overseers would be Matt Rogers, it seems.  So the names from the BoO/BoAA side feature:

Mars Hill Board of Overseers
Michael Van Skaik
Larry Osborne
Jon Phelps
Matt Rogers

So Rogers was part of the BoO that concluded that Driscoll may have sinned but not in a way that disqualified him from ministry and that Driscoll was never charged with any serious stuff and that they were surprised he chose to step down.

But ... as reported by Warren Throckmorton campus pastors later read a statement that reads as follows:

The investigation of formal charges against Mark Driscoll has revealed patterns of persistent sin in the three areas disclosed in the previous letter by the Board of Overseers. In I Tim 5:20, it requires that an elder be rebuked for persistent sin. Our intention was to do this while providing a plan for his eventual restoration to leadership. The Board of Elders in agreement with the Board of Overseers are grieved, deeply grieved, that any process like that was lost to us when Mark Driscoll resigned in position and left the church. [emphsais added] Now is the time to move on and consider what God is calling us to next as a church as we participate in Jesus’ mission to make disciples in His name. Today begins a new chapter in the history of our church which has proceeded in one direction under one leadership for many years now, but I want you to understand this, God is our Father. That does not change. Jesus is the chief shepherd of the church and that has not changed.

The elders of Mars Hill Church acknowledge as we’ve gone through all of this investigation, and heard all of these stories, we acknowledge that we have personally led in some of the same ways that demonstrate some of the same ways that Pastor Mark had. And those things require repentance and forgiveness and restoration. We realize that there are ways that we have led as elders in ways that have been domineering, sometimes arrogant and sometimes boastful and at least for my part, I want to say I deeply regret those sins and I ask for your forgiveness.  We want to lead you into the future in a way that displays more grace, more love as we speak the truth to each of you. If there are people that I have offended in ways I have pastored this church, I would welcome that you come to me and speak with me to allow me the opportunity to reconcile with you.

At this time Mars Hill Church is going to move ahead under the Board of Overseers established plan for transition. [emphasis added] Pastor Dave Bruskas will serve as the teaching and preaching pastor during an interim period of time until we establish a direction we are going as a church. The Board of Advisors are going to be working in the weeks to come on a plan for moving forward and for how that will unfold, what the next steps are, there are a lot of things to consider. As we discover what those things are, what the spirit shows us, then we want to communicate clearly to you and transparently to you what’s happening, the directions and the changes that will be taking place.

Recall that Wenatchee The Hatchet has pointed out the BoAA (of which the BoO is a part) has the power to authorize the dissolution of the corporation and the sale of assets.  Go over here for a discussion of the bylaws.  It's important to bear in mind that Matt Rogers has a spot on the BoO/BoAA and was also on the BoE.  Rogers was on the team that has the power to authorize real estate sales and the dissolution of the corporation so, necessarily, Rogers had some involvement in the two processes that have been news.  Rogers was also part of the group that stated Driscoll wasn't unfit for ministry. 

But in the last week Mars Hill Pastor Steve Tompkins has made public statements expressing regret over the 2007 firings and trials.  Tompkins has also made statements that seem to indicate that the Board of Elders as a group did find Mark Driscoll to have disqualifying sins with respect to ministry.

So that casts doubt, or should cast doubt, on Matt Rogers' claims that allegations about Driscoll's leadership style could be understood as slander if even he, as a member of the BoO/BoAA signed off on a letter that acknowledged that the sins Driscoll has been accused of are basically probably true--Rogers just didn't seem eager to accept the possibility that the sins were in any ones that disqualified for ministry.

So the BoE statement and more recent statements by Tompkins cast doubt on the veracity of the claims made by the BoO.  Matt Rogers was the only person who was both on the BoO/BoAA on the one hand and on the BoE on the other.  Well, as word gets around, Throckmorton has observed that Matt Rogers has ALREADY REGISTERED Bellevue Church.

UBI Number603448198
State Of IncorporationWA
WA Filing Date10/29/2014
Expiration Date10/31/2015
Inactive Date

Agent NameMatthew Rogers
Address620 106th Ave NE
Governing Persons
ChairmanRogers, Matthew620 106th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
DirectorHurst, Thomas620 106th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
DirectorSkelton, Jason620 106th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
DirectorMolvar, Roger620 106th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
So as of today, when Bruskas announced that the corporation known as Mars Hill Church is going to be closed, Matt Rogers is already the registered agent for Bellevue Church and its Chairman, with Thomas Hurst, Jason Skelton, and Roger Molvar as directors.  Already registered.  Matt Rogers was on all the boards and was part of the investigation which may or may not have actually been completed and part of the Board of Overseers deciding what happens to Mars Hill and amidst all that he found the time to register Bellevue Church with the Washington secretary of state, huh?  As in, registered it before Bruskas made today's headline-making announcement.

There may need to be several spotlights on Rogers these days. 

If you're the sort to send thank you letters to someone for the dissolution of the corporation known as Mars Hill Church don't thank a Warren Throckmorton or a Wenatchee The Hatchet.  Thank Matt Rogers, since he was one of the guys who had the power and evidently seems to have used that power, to authorize the voluntary dissolution of the corporation.

POSTSCRIPT 11-1-2014

Let's note for the record Thomas Hurst's history of claims about the International paper building on behalf of Mars Hill:
From open letter posted on line around October 26, 2013

... Through much prayer and consideration, the Executive Elders and I believe strongly that Jesus wants us to set down deep roots here on the Eastside by owning our next location

We’re Still in Core Group Phase 
As we walk down the path God has laid out for us, we want to share with you a bit of a paradigm shift: Bellevue is now in “core group” phase
The International Paper Property on 120th St.After many months of searching and narrowing down our choices, only one building in Bellevue is available that meets the needs of the church that God is building on the Eastside. A few weeks ago we made an offer on a property in the Bel-Red corridor on 120th St. which is currently owned by the International Paper Company.[all emphasis added]
“Good for Bellevue”We believe, though, that this property is the location that God wants us to use to further the mission of the Gospel through Mars Hill Church


Unfortunately we find ourselves in a position where we are going up against the government. Given the perspective, we are a small church with little chance of being able to make the government change their decision. However, we will continue to move forward with faith in a God who is bigger than any government. [emphasis added]

It was hard to argue that after about 8 years of going from The Vine to Mars Hill Eastside to Mars Hill Bellevue that whatever Bellevue Church hopes to be has been in the "core" phase unless by some verbal alchemy "core phase" lasts nearly a decade.

Obviously Mars Hill Bellevue didn't transition into the International Paper Building and early claims of the real estate being seized by way of eminent domain turned out to be untrue.  Between Rogers and Hurst Bellevue Church has what appears to be an extensive history in the last year of having leaders who misrepresent (whether knowingly or not) basic things that have since come into question.  It might be prudent to avoid taking statements from its leadership team at face value ... for a season.


It's worth noting that the guy who planted The Vine (if memory serves), Jesse Winkler, has a confession at Repentant Pastor.  So in terms of that, for those already familiar with the history of a MH/A29 presence in Bellevue, the irony of Winkler's take these days vs. Rogers' take these days may be instructive.  Winkler has written as of this year that the 2007 firing/trial process was wrong and that Paul Petry's heart for Mars Hill was in the right place.  If Matt Rogers wants to stick to his established idea about the protesters from August 2014 he'll be doing so over against the man who founded what has become Mars Hill Bellevue in the last decade and that Rogers may or may not transform into Bellevue Church with success.

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