Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mark Driscoll's 2-5-2008 Spiritual Warfare series recounts a wife who feared husband was cheating, given days before disappearance of Nicholas Francisco

There is quite a bit of material in the February 5, 2008 Spiritual Warfare series that has not come up for any public discussion, in spite of the fact that hours of material have been available to the public for years.  While other bloggers have tended to focus on the more overtly controversial material such as "I see things" it is possible that a great deal of the substance of the teaching has never been discussed.

But as former members begin to go public with their stories, there's a case study Driscoll shared from his pastoral counseling that seemed worth considering at great length.  Although the audio from the Spiritual Warfare series has been pulled Wenatchee The Hatchet has had the material for years back when it was free for all and sundry to download, so it's a simple matter to transcribe and present material Driscoll shared about a particular case of counseling a wife who he believed had wrongly believed her husband was cheating on her.

Now while the link to the original audio is dead ...
http://marshill.com/media/spiritual-warfare/the-devil
http://cdn.marshill.com/files/collection/documents/spiritual-warfare_9080_document.pdf

still works ... for now.  So the dating of the teaching event can be established. While in some cases the event has been dated to February 5, 2005 this turns out to have been inaccurate.  So, with all that out of the way:

February 5, 2008
Part 2 - The Devil
Mark Driscoll

1:00:09
John chapter 8, Satan also likes to work through the ordinary demonic of lies. Jesus says there that Satan is a liar. He is the father of lies. He has been lying since the beginning. Lying is his native tongue.

Here's the situation with lies, lies work. [emphasis added] The vast majority of your demonic counseling will simply be figuring out the lies that people believe. Jesus says "You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free." That's, "People are in bondage to lies and the truth sets them free."
This can be theological but sometimes it's just really practical.
[short pause]

I'll give you one situation, I use this analogy all the time.  Let's say there's a woman and she believes that her husband doesn't love her and she believes that he's cheating on her committing adultery.  Let's say it's a total lie, it's not true. If she believes that will that effect anything? It destroys everything. Why? Because it doesn't need to be true to devastate it just needs to be believed and then acted upon as if it were true.

One of the things I like to do with people who believe lies--and it's amazing [the] lies people believe. We'll get into accusations and vain regrets and all of that--but one of the things I like to do with people is I just like to have them keep a journal. Tell me all the lies you believe about others, God, theology, the truth, Jesus, yourself. What are the lies?  I mean, what are the lies. 


I've had people come to me with pages and pages and pages and pages of lies. I've had woman tell me things like, "I deserved to be raped." That's a lie. "Well, I got raped because I had too much to drink and I was under-dressed and I was kind of asking for it." That's a lie. I had one young woman tell me (I've done more than my share of abuse counseling and rape victims and molestations and it's devastating but so many of them believe lies) [emphasis added] I had one gal who was molested by her father say, "You know, it really is my fault. When I was a little girl I would sit on his lap and I would rub his face and I would kiss his cheek and he did molest me but it was my fault because I, I  caused him to desire me."

No, that's a lie.  A little girl should sit on her daddy's lap and rub his face and kiss him on the check and that should elicit no sexual response in the daddy. In fact just the opposite of sexual response, pure fatherly love. Embrace, snuggle, hug, kiss encourage, nothing sexual. That's in him, not in you.  That's his flesh. That's not your affection. That's a lie. That's a lie.

People believe all kinds of lies, it's unbelievable. One of the first things you've gotta do is figure out what all the lies are. That's why I have them journal out, "What are all the lies that you believe." Just journal what you think might be a lie. And if they're married I bring in their spouse. I'll ask, "What are the lies that your spouse believes?" and usually the spouse has a better read on it.
...
01:05:40
I had one woman, wonderful gal, sweet gal, she was convinced of the lie that her husband was committing adultery on her. So every time he'd go to work she would literally have a panic attack and would go into the closet and shut the door

and be there for hours having a literal, full-blown nervous breakdown panic attack.
Her husband's a great guy. Loves Jesus, loves her. It [the idea that the husband was cheating on his wife] was a total lie but something in her believed that lie and I think, for her, that struck at the core of her sense of security and identity and Satan got her to believe that lie and it absolutely undid her.  She went to counseling; she was diagnosed bipolar, paranoid schizophrenic, multiple personality disorder (I believe that such things are true but sometimes they're a junk drawer for other diagnoses for people that are experiencing real spiritual problems); they put her on all kinds of medication, she still had panic attacks, still freaking out, still in the closet; and I just told her, I said, "Sweetheart, it's a lie." It's a lie.

Her husband's sitting right there, I said, "Okay, God's honest truth, have you ever committed adultery on your wife?"
"No."
"When you leave the house are you going to commit adultery?"
"No, I'm going to work."
"Have you ever touched another woman, are you looking at porn, are you doing anything."
He's like, "I'm not doing anything. I go to work and I come home. That's what I'm doing. I love her.  You know, I'm delighted to be with her. She's the best."


I looked at her, I said, "Okay, here's what faith looks like for you--believe the truth. Don't believe the lie. If you believe the lie, you're going to ruin everything. If you believe the truth, you'll be okay. And you know what?  By God's grace she repented of her feeding the lie. She needed to see that believing a lie was a sin. It was a sin to be repented of. Here's the truth, here's the lie, I chose the lie. That's a sin, I need to repent.  I need to believe the truth. I need to have faith to live in light of the truth, like Jesus said, then I'll be free in the truth.

[She] went off her medication, no more panic attacks, no diagnoses, she's fine. This has been some years, they've got a loving marriage, they're doing great, they love Jesus. They're wonderful people.  But she fed the lie.  Don't feed the lies. And they're everywhere and part of your art in counseling is asking enough questions to figure out what the lies are that people believe.

That was from the Spiritual Warfare teaching, from part 2, given February 5, 2008.  Driscoll's description of the counseling with the woman and her husband suggests that this was a specific iteration of a fairly common pattern, women who believe the untrue notion that their husbands are cheating on them.  What is striking about the timing of Driscoll's February 5, 2008 teaching event on spiritual warfare is what, by sheer coincidence, happened days later.

Now as related by Christine Carter, then Nicholas Francisco's wife:

That next Monday, February 11, 2008 we emailed our membership resignation letter. It was received and accepted. Two days later, February 13, 2008 my husband of seven years and three kids (I was 6.5 weeks pregnant with our third) did not come home from work.

This disappearance made the news.

http://westseattleblog.com/2010/02/local-tv-station-tracks-down-once-missing-nicholas-francisco/
http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2010237613_webfranciscofound10m.html
Nicholas Francisco was last seen leaving his job at a Queen Anne advertising agency Feb. 13, 2008, saying he was headed home to make cookies with his kids. His wife was expecting their third child at the time.
He never arrived home.

What Carter has also shared in her story is how she was scared and felt her husband didn't love her and was cheating on her. She shared her story at the following link and is quoted below:

http://thejourneybeautyfromashes.blogspot.com/2014/05/like-slow-drip-of-poison.html
http://welovemarshill.com/post/87313561863/christine-carter

...
I thought I knew what abuse was as I lived in a home with an abusive father for the first twelve years of my life. I experienced a wide spectrum of abuse and thought that I could see it coming. I did not see what was happening at Mars Hill as abuse. I took what I was being fed and foolishly believed it because it was disguised so well with scripture. I believed what was preached numerous times over the years about how a woman should look, so much to the extent that I thought I was being a good wife by starving myself so that I’d be pleasing for my husband to look at almost to the point of my death just after the birth of my second child. I believed the elders that told me that I was not trusting my husband enough (I believe it was in the beginning of 2007) when I went to them, scared, and told them how I felt my husband didn’t love me and that I feared and suspected that he was cheating on me for quite some time. I’ll never forget sitting in that counseling session and explaining how I felt and having the elder look over at Nicholas and ask, “Do you love Christine?” and when Nicholas responded with a simple and cold, “yes”, the elder was satisfied and told me that I needed to trust my husband and that I was the one that needed to change. [emphasis added] I’m not a perfect wife and never claimed to be but what was said to me and how it was said was not okay. When that elder then asked Nicholas if he was cheating on me and Nicholas responded by looking me in the eye with a heartfelt, “no” the elder then repeated to me that I need to trust my husband and let go of my past wounds. You see I was told that because of my childhood I was holding onto distrust and that I had a good husband and I needed to fix myself up and be more available. So I did just that. [emphasis added] What I understood them saying was that all of what I was feeling was my fault and I needed to suck it up and figure it out. This was all too familiar and I just swallowed it ignoring the many alarms going off inside of me. There is much more to what I have just spoken of and I have left out other incidences, many details, too many for this time.

We're fairly clearly looking at two very different situations but the common denominator of the wife being told to not believe the lies is the common denominator.  In the first case it might well have been the woman went on to have a happy marriage but the diagnoses sound rather epic. 

But more importantly than the rather general case study given by Driscoll, what is striking about Driscoll's teaching in 2008 about lies as ordinary demonic activity in spiritual warfare is that he focuses almost entirely on it being sinful to believe lies rather than devote any time to those who tell lies.  If you believe a lie that's sinful and needs to be repented of, possibly, regardless of whether or not it was wrong for the person who told you the lie to have lied.  Since Driscoll focused on what could be described as self-deception the topic of people who lie to others was not very prominent in the teaching. If believing lies is satanic how much more would telling lies be satanic?   If Satan is the father of lies and when he lies he is speaking his own language then telling lies would almost by definition have to be the most satanic thing a person can do.  And what may be most terrible about lies is that if you believe lies and then tell them to others you may be a liar who sincerely believes you are telling the truth. 

Finally, it's important to stress that the February 5, 2008 Spiritual Warfare series was eventually made available to the public but that it was originally a teaching event for Mars Hill leaders.  That might be reason enough for it to have been eventually pulled down, since Driscoll may well have shared a great deal of content that could eventually have been considered unsuitable to share with outsiders. 

By Mark Driscoll's account he'd appointed Bent Meyer to take over pastoral counseling some time around 2004-2005 because the process was too emotionally draining for him, so it's not entirely clear Driscoll has done any pastoral counseling to members in nearly a decade.  Yet if what Mark Driscoll described in the Spiritual Warfare series was typical for pastoral counseling at the time and was implemented by other pastors in what was coming to be called the biblical living department then questions about the competency and conduct of biblical living pastors at Mars Hill isn't a small issue.  It was actually concern about this subject and not the specific leadership style of Mark Driscoll that Wenatchee The Hatchet discussed way back in this post.  For those who don't recall, WtH has mentioned that in 2008 my concerns were that:

1) Mars Hill did not have a clear, coherent set of precedents and procedures for church discipline and that if this wasn't rectified things would blow up
2) Mars Hill was expanding and acquiring real estate holdings faster than it was cultivating its donor base and that this could lead to systemic deficits
3) Mars Hill had a pastoral counseling approach that seemed to be predicated on a dangerously truncated understanding of sin that would lead to disciplinary responses harsh enough to cause an outcry and probably an eventual appearance in regional news

People have managed to blog a bit about 1 and 2 in the wake of Andrew Lamb's disciplinary situation in late 2011/early 2012.  And people have addressed the books controversies but as yet very few people have addressed the history of Mars Hill real estate acquisition and associated leadership appointments excepting, well, basically Wenatchee The Hatchet and bits and bits at The Stranger.

And while some have broached the third topic, the practice and precepts of Mars Hill pastoral counseling, this has understandably not been a topic for discussion because so few were willing to share their stories in any kind of public setting.  Since the launch of welovemarshill.com, however, it may be that is starting to change.  While Matthew Paul Turner shared a number of not-really-anonymous cases it may be that people sharing their experiences on record is necessary now.  If Mars Hill has an opportunity to get better the public testimony of those who have things to share about their time there will be necessary. 

The discovery of Nicholas Francisco's double life may not have sent any shock waves through Mars Hill because of member resignations but perhaps there should have been shock waves if there weren't any.  For years Mark Driscoll talked from the pulpit about how different marriage and dating was at Mars Hill, or was going to be, compared to the world.  Yet with so many years passed since 2007 and before that how much of the "we're better than those outsiders" narrative holds up for Mars Hill Church?  This may not be a case of saying "We're not perfect, just forgiven." but more like Elijah lamenting, "Take my life, Lord, for I am no better than my forebears."  And yet after saying that God commanded Elijah to rise up and eat ... .

POSTSCRIPT:

What's interesting about the removal of the Spiritual Warfare series in early 2014 is that back in 2012 when Matthew Paul Turner shared the story of a woman referred to as "Amy", Mars Hill apparently thought enough of the Spiritual Warfare material to refer Turner to that content.


http://matthewpaulturner.com/2012/06/20/jesus-needs-new-prexorcism-at-mars-hill-one-womans-story/

**Late yesterday, I notified Mars Hill Church’s publicity department that I was running this story and offered them an opportunity to comment along with a few questions. Initially, they were going to issue a statement, but later said they would wait to comment until they read the story. They also directed me to this sermon series by Mark Driscoll

So if Turner didn't listen to the sermon series back then it's definitely gone now.

Friday, June 13, 2014

another week ends, another installment in the Justice League series finally ready for Mockingbird

Justice Has Its Price: The Exiles and Orphans of the Justice League
Part 2a
Maid of Honor in a Dishonorable World: Problems with Wonder Woman in the 21st century

http://www.mbird.com/2014/06/maid-of-honor-in-a-dishonorable-world-problems-with-wonder-woman-in-the-twenty-first-century/

Longtime readers may realize just how long it's been since there was a published installment in the series Justice Has Its Price about the animated series Justice League/Justice League Unlimited.  Well, now there's another installment, the first of at least two parts about Wonder Woman.  The first installment in this series went up all the way back pretty much a year ago!  That was "Saving the World From Better Worlds" and was about Superman's transition from Superman: the animated series to Justice League.

http://www.mbird.com/2013/06/saving-the-world-from-better-worlds/

Superman got at least about 7,000 words and so it hardly seems fitting that Wonder Woman should have merely about 2,000.  This recently published piece examines a number of narrative problems in the original origin stories of Wonder Woman as a narrative that can be adapted to 21st century pop culture.  How Justice League solved the enumerated problems is awaiting completion.  Having written an awful lot about Batman in this massive series for Mockingbird already it felt necessary to give The Dark Knight a break (both from the DCAU series and because in 2012 "A Path Through Three Prisons" was a pretty sprawling overview of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy).  And if there's anyone in the DC heroes gallery more overdue to get a feature length film at this point it's Wonder Woman! 

So, with all that out of the way, if you're into superheroes and superhero cartoons perhaps you'll enjoy the newest installment in the giant series on the DC animated universe Wenatchee The Hatchet has had going at Mockingbird. 


HT Mockingbird: Thomas Kinkade's prelapsarian art and his alcoholism

http://www.mbird.com/2014/06/the-drunken-downfall-and-death-of-thomas-kinkade/
from a piece at The Daily Beast

Kinkade's fans have proven that they are willing to overlook his weaknesses because his paintings symbolize the values they aspire to. "I like to portray a world without the fall," he once said.

That might well sum up how we all react to individuals who shape something that embodies what we admire.  Republicans have Reagan, Democrats have Kennedy and in some sense what these men actually did or didn't do in office is almost immaterial to the mythologies crafted around them by those who invested in these men continents of significance.  Should a person embody the ideals we aspire to then it may never matter how far short he or she falls from the point of living those ideals out in actual life 

This doesn't mean that it's not possible for sublime art to come from debauched people.  Mozart comes to mind ... but then I've never much cared for Mozart either ... perhaps there IS something to be said for some artists aspiring to exemplify in their own art those qualities they never managed to realize in their lived lives, though.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

a discussion of Jamie Munson's 2007 allegations for why Paul Petry and Bent Meyer had to be terminated and why it wasn't a political move

http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/10-01-2007-email-from-jmunson.pdf
 from Pastor Jamie Munson to the elders of Mars Hill Church on September 30, 2007

Pastor Paul Petry - Grounds for immediate termination of employment

* Continual insubordination and submission to leadership and spiritual authority
* Refusal to Ministry Coaching Program
* Divisive within Mars Hill Student Ministry and undermining of Pastor Adam, Deacons and entire ministry
* Blame shifting to Proxy leadership for misbehavior of children
* Public accusation of Lead Pastor [Jamie Munson] regarding hiding the real bylaw document
* Not following protocol and process for making bylaw comments by contacting church attorney without permission
* Ongoing contentious spirit to leadership regarding changes and direction.

Pastor Bent Meyer - Grounds for Immediate Termination of Employment
* Total lack of trust for Executive leadership and insubordination
* Multiple unfounded accusations from Bent regarding abuse of power, power grabbing and motives of leadership
* Not following protocol and process for making bylaw  comments by contacting church attorny without permission
* Showing unhealthy family favoritism by establishing son Cameron as spokesman for Salts recap meeting
* No communication with elders regarding Cameron's sin and removal of grace group leadership

Some might conclude this is a political move to gain more support for the bylaws as Paul and bent were outspoken critics of the current direction. [emphasis added] This is not the case, the executive team wants to conduct itself in a way that is full of integrity, walking in the light, under full disclosure and in a decisive manner that best serves Jesus and His church through Mars Hill.  If the bylaws don't pass, so be it, we didn't want to wait on what we had determined were necessary and inevitable firings until after the bylaws had been voted into approval because that would have been deceptive. [emphasis added] We made the decision to terminate them now and givem them the option to resign or undergo the full investigation. We have a higher value of being men of integrity than playing politics to swing a vote in our favor.

There's been linking to Jamie Munson these days from Dave Kraft and it's worth revisiting the fact that Dave Kraft was on the Elder Investigative Taskforce that looked into the charges Jamie Munson made as to why Bent Meyer and Paul Petry needed to be fired.  Kraft's long association with Ministry Coaching International (Michael Van Skaik was on the board of directors for MCI in 2007 and has since gone on to be on the MH BOAA) has already been noted.  Because Munson has recently been hinting that he's looking into leadership consultancy it's worth revisiting the beginning of Jamie Munson's time as Lead Pastor and legal president of Mars Hill Church because basically as soon as he was given the role and drafted bylaws that made himself Lead Pastor this termination and trial scenario flared up.

A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE REASONS JAMIE MUNSON SAID PAUL PETRY HAD TO BE FIRED

What can be ascertained, if anything, about the charges Munson outlined above?
Let's consider them one by one for the two pastors.  For Petry:

* Continual insubordination and submission to leadership and spiritual authority

What does this refer to?  Is this a general opening summary, perhaps?  Which leadership was Petry continually insubordinate toward?  That Jamie Munson had drafted bylaws that made himself legal president and that Paul Petry was engaged to provide comment and feedback on the bylaws can be established over at Joyful Exiles.

* Refusal to Ministry Coaching Program

If this was a project of Ministry Coaching International then even having Dave Kraft appointed to the Elder Investigative Taskforce could have been construed by some as a potential or actual conflict of interest for Kraft.  Conversely, if Kraft was connected to both Mars Hill Church and Ministry Coaching International then by now access to the documents that could establish whether or not Munson's specific allegation was legitimate should have been easy and could theoretically be made available to the public now. 

After all, if it was MCI that did the coaching program Petry was alleged to have refused participation in then the fastest way to defend the 2007 termination of Petry would seem to be to produce all documentation that would establish whether or not Paul Petry was participating in the Ministry Coaching Program if Ministry Coaching International was doing that program.  If Petry didn't participate that would be easy to prove, just as it would be easy to prove if Petry participated.  If Petry did participate who was Petry's ministry coach? 

For that matter, since a Ministry Coaching Program was in place what documentation can be provided by Mars Hill that this existed?  How much did it cost, if it cost anything?  Who brokered the arrangement for the Ministry Coaching Program to happen with Mars Hill?  This particular stated reason for why Petry was to be terminated immediately could be documented and the allegation is specific enough that someone like Dave Kraft (who was with both MH and MCI at the time, it seems) could potentially clarify. 

* Divisive within Mars Hill Student Ministry and undermining of Pastor Adam, Deacons and entire ministry
* Blame shifting to Proxy leadership for misbehavior of children

This would imply that Petry had a role within Mars Hill Student Ministry but whether Petry was actually even in that ministry would be hard to establish. Munson's allegations here state that Petry was being divisive and undermining and blame shifting some kind of ministry leadership for misbehavior of children.  But Driscoll had been saying for years from the pulpit things such as that "headship means it's your responsibility even if it's not your fault". 

And even Munson would have been around at a time when Mark Driscoll said from the pulpit they had no plans to have a childrens ministry because that would unnaturally divide groups of believers that should have fellowship together in church life.  This particular allegation of Munson's against Petry may need to be explained in light of what had already been a drastic change within MH culture, the emergence of youth and childrens ministries after years of leadership saying they wouldn't set those up.  If Petry was considered divisive for not being supportive of a kids ministry or youth group ministry then he was considered divisive for retaining what had been the historically early stance of the Mars Hill elders. 

* Public accusation of Lead Pastor [Jamie Munson] regarding hiding the real bylaw document

What "public" even meant here is impossible to be certain about.  In fact prior to this material being published at Joyful Exiles whatever was being referred to in this particular reason for firing Petry was anything but public.  In fact Munson neglects to even explain what the public accusation that Paul Petry allegedly made even was!  For that matter Jamie Munson didn't exactly highlight that he was then the Lead Pastor.  If Munson believed he was accused of something by Paul Petry in a public setting then what was going on with Munson stating the reasons to terminate Petry after the event happened, and what was the deal with the accuser announcing the appointments of members of the Elder Investigative Taskforce?  In normal judicial settings in the United States the plaintiff doesn't simultaneously have the power to be the judge, select the jury, and appoint all the legal counsel ... or does the plaintiff have that option?

* Not following protocol and process for making bylaw comments by contacting church attorney without permission

So does this one mean that basically Mars Hill pastors employed by Mars Hill Church were not supposed to contact the church attorney without permission? What, exactly, was the protocol and process Munson was referring to?  Where was it written down and published?  This is another case where by now Mars Hill could have easily published for public consideration whatever that protocol and process was. 

* Ongoing contentious spirit to leadership regarding changes and direction.

This, too, is vague.  Munson had been credited by Mark Driscoll with spotting what has since become the Mars Hill corporate headquarters.  There's plenty to read about that in posts about the 50th street building in tagged posts on "real estate and Mars Hill".

What can be ascertained from the cluster or reasons Munson gave for why Paul Petry had to be fired seem to revolve around allegations that Petry disliked the direction he saw Mars Hill Church going in.  This could be a reason a pastor might dislike a few programs but simply dissenting from a number of programs hardly seems like grounds for immediate termination in a church with a plurality of elders.

A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE REASONS JAMIE MUNSON GAVE FOR WHY BENT MEYER SHOULD BE FIRED

* Total lack of trust for Executive leadership and insubordination

Once more with "insubordination".  Toward whom? The executive elders, which at that point consisted of Mark Driscoll, Jamie Munson, Scott Thomas and Bubba Jennings (if memory serves).  What did that look like?  Apparently this ... ?

* Multiple unfounded accusations from Bent regarding abuse of power, power grabbing and motives of leadership

What were Bent Meyer's actual accusations?  So far these stated reasons from Munson read less like a case with evidence in hand as much as a summary judgment of a decision that had already been reached. 

* Not following protocol and process for making bylaw  comments by contacting church attorny without permission

Once again, it looks as though Munson was claiming that Mars Hill pastors could not even talk to the church attorney without following some kidn of process or protocol for making any comments about bylaws.  Apparently to even do this involved getting permission from ... ?  In what kind of business does an employee get fired for talking to the company attorney without having first gotten permission from no one in particular?

* Showing unhealthy family favoritism by establishing son Cameron as spokesman for Salts recap meeting
This statement is mainly interesting for showing that Munson's vocabulary seemed to be so limited he couldn't even use the word "nepotism".  But plenty of churches have nepotism as a leadership practice.  Wasn't Jamie Munson's own brother-in-law a pastor at Mars Hill by then?  Wasn't it customary for pastors to have wives who were deacons pretty much by default?  It had been this way since as far back as 1999 and 2000, what precisely made Bent Meyer having his son in an associated ministry capacity so problematic for Jamie Munson?  Wouldn't the head of the EIT Scott Thomas eventually go on to work in organizations in which his son also found work?  What made it such a sticky point for Munson that Meyer had his son in a ministry capacity while no concern was expressed about the father/son trajectory of Scott and Derrin Thomas?  It can't have just been that a father appointed a son to a role. 

* No communication with elders regarding Cameron's sin and removal of grace group leadership
This statement seems to presuppose familiarity on the part of all recipients as to whatever that sin was. That's not particularly of interest to Wenatchee the Hatchet as a thing in itself ,but it's interesting to note that Munson's statement supposes universal famliarity with this sin.  It would seem that the earlier statement withstanding nepotism couldn't have really be the main problem Munson had with Meyer ... if it was Munson who was formulating the reasons for terminations rather than someone else. 

What is worth noting about this communication from Munson is that it was Munson, who had drafted bylaws making himself legal president of Mars Hill and Lead Pastor after being given the Lead Pastor role, it seems, by Mark Driscoll, who hammered away at the failure of these two men to respect his authority and judgment.  But even by this time people could have had reasons to doubt whether someone who went from being a waitperson at Bucca de Beppo before becoming a Mars Hill intern and eventually an executive pastor had really picked up as much practical business experience as was sometimes credited to him.

But we're not done just yet.  Munson went on from the numerous reasons given for the immediate termination of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer to saw the following:

Some might conclude this is a political move to gain more support for the bylaws as Paul and bent were outspoken critics of the current direction. [emphasis added] This is not the case, the executive team wants to conduct itself in a way that is full of integrity, walking in the light, under full disclosure and in a decisive manner that best serves Jesus and His church through Mars Hill.  If the bylaws don't pass, so be it, we didn't want to wait on what we had determined were necessary and inevitable firings until after the bylaws had been voted into approval because that would have been deceptive. [emphasis added] We made the decision to terminate them now and given them the option to resign or undergo the full investigation. We have a higher value of being men of integrity than playing politics to swing a vote in our favor.

So Meyer and Petry were outspoken critics of the current direction but firing them was not a political move.  Because Munson just said so.  The executive team, according to Munson, wanted to conduct itself in a way that was full of integrity and under full disclosure and so on.

Like this?

Calling what had happened up until October 11, 2007 "a conciliatory process" doesn't just stretch the imagination, it's demonstrably not true.  Having an executive elder lie to a person at Mars Hill and use an Acts 29 Network email address to convey that false message is not a promising event in what was supposedly an already completed conciliatory process.  What was in fact about to happen was that Thomas was going to present some kind of case with EIT members Dave Kraft, Gary Shavey and Steve Tompkins for why the removal of Meyer and Petry from employment was justified.  Petry had even been informed by Scott Thomas by that point that he didn't even need to be at his own trial.

http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/scott-thomas-10-10-2007-no-show-for-trial.pdf

From: Pastor Scott Thomas <scott@acts29network.org>
To:   Paul Petry
CC: "Steve Tompkins" <
st@marshillchurch.org>; "Pastor Dave Kraft" >dave@marshilchurch.org>; "Pastor Gary Shavey" <gary@theresurgence.com>
Sent: Wednesday October 10, 2007 4:08pm
Subject: RE: Elder Investigation Taskforce


Paul,

The hearing has been moved to October 15. The taskforce was meeting with you to hear your response to their questions in fulfillment of Article III, Sec. E. Today's outcome will be conveyed to the full council of elders for a judgment. All four of us agree that we adequately heard your responses to the charges/accusations and your presence will not be necessary.  We believe that in so doing, we are fulfilling the requirements of the Bylaws. This is something that we discussed and consulted on with the lawyer.  The elders will submit their vote by show of hands.

Thanks,

Scott

So whatever Kraft has said lately Scott Thomas said on Dave Kraft's behalf that Dave Kraft was convinced that he had heard Paul Petry's responses to the charges and accusations that had been made by Jamie Munson and that Kraft did not consider it to be necessary for Paul Petry to be present at his own trial.  That's what Scott Thomas was saying, and he was saying something similar on behalf of Gary Shavey and Steve Tompkins

Kraft, Shavey, Tompkins and Thomas can feel free to speak up any time now as to what all of that evidence was they had collected and why each and every single one of them were convinced that, according to Scott Thomas, that they had adequately heard Paul Petry's response to Jamie Munson's accusations and allegations. 

So we've got a case where the head of the EIT lied about what had happened, saying a conciliatory process had been completed when he'd really just told Petry to not bother showing up to his own trial.  On October 1, 2007 Mark Driscoll shared that there was "a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus" and "by God's grace it'll be a mountain before we're done" or something like that.

http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/preaching-paul_edits1.mp3

Because this link at Joyful Exiles doesn't work (or at MH) you can go here to hear what Driscoll said at the end of the Nehemiah series about how there were some, even in the leadership of Mars Hill Church, that he wanted to go Old Testament on.

There's nothing in what Driscoll said about "we fired two guys" for the "first time" in the history of Mars Hill Church that sounds like there was a conciliatory process going on.  Even if we account for the reality that Mark Driscoll and the leaders let Brad Currah go years before Meyer and Petry were fired in 2007 the 2007 terminations could not in any sense be construed as "a conciliatory process" that was completed by October 11, 2007.

So Munson insisted that firing the two men in leadership who disagreed with the new direction was not in any way a political move but that the firings were "both necessary and inevitable".

And yet how many pastors voted in the bylaws Jamie Munson had drafted once Paul Petry and Bent Meyer had been fired and set aside?  All of them.

In the last few years there has been a narrative presented by MH PR to the effect that the problem in the past was that all the elders had to agree on everything for anything to get done.  This clearly couldn't have been the case if the two men who DIDN'T AGREE WITH the direction the church was going in were fired and the Lead Pastor said the firings were necessary and inevitable.  This looks more like a case where everyone was expected to agree and those who didn't could (and would) actually get fired and then subjected to a trial to underline the point that they weren't on mission.

So there's nothing in Munson's email outlining the allegations against Meyer and Petry that seems to be anything BUT politics in terms of bylaws and ecclesiology.  Munson went so far as to make several of the allegations/accusations specifically about ways in which he felt he was not respected or submitted to by just two of 24 pastors at Mars Hill Church. 

After all of that, if there was really a full investigation there's no reason Mars Hill Church couldn't publish the entire set of documents and correspondence connected to that investigation, is there?  Normally investigations involve the collection of and the consideration of evidence.  At least two members of the 2007 EIT, Gary Shavey and Steve Tompkins, are even still within leadership at Mars Hill Church in some kind of capacity.  Dave Kraft has since moved on but his connections to Ministry Coaching International (if still current) could give him an opportunity, in theory, to verify whether there was any legitimacy to Jamie Munson's accusation against Paul Petry that Petry was refusing to cooperate with the Ministry Coaching Program.  Actually, technically it's been conveyed to Wenatchee The Hatchet that as of yesterday Jamie Munson himself is still listed as a pastor at Mars Hill on The City.  If Munson doesn't at some point publicly address his handling of the trials of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer then by now it's a lot more public than whatever Munson himself accused Petry of saying seven years ago, isn't it?

Jamie Munson's role in the 2007 termination and trials of former pastors Paul Petry and Bent Meyer is too central to that period of Mars Hill history to be ignored.  In fact Munson's allegations about Meyer and Petry were explicit in listing their distrust and disrespect of him as key reasons they had to be fired.  And yet Jamie Munson himself stopped being Lead Pastor in 2011 and Mars Hill has for some reason scrubbed even the announcement of that transition.  By June 2012 Mark Driscoll was sharing from the pulpit that every single campus of Mars Hill had been running systemic deficits.  Mars Hill sold the Lake City campus at a loss after shutting it down because, as Munson put it, they weren't getting the numbers the expected or hoped for.  If Munson's going to present himself as a leader of leaders in the future there are some really specific events in the history of Mars Hill and a history announced by none other than Mark Driscoll of systematic deficits that began to develop since Munson became Lead Pastor that might need some explaining and context.  Munson isn't even involved in Storyville Coffee any more. 

Munson put a lot of stock in submission and authority but both of these can be earned by demonstrating integrity and competence.  The 2007 firings smell too much like insider politics to persuade Wenatchee The Hatchet the firings and trials were done with integrity, and no matter how many times Mark Driscoll may say Mars Hill isn't a wealthy church why a church that rented the city of Ephesus for a day and had signed a contract with Result Source was running systemic deficits by June 2012 has yet to be fully explained.  Nor is it clear why even since Sutton Turner took over Jamie Munson's "kingly" role that there have been times where Mars Hill still narrowly avoided its own fiscal cliff.  If when Jamie Munson resigned Mark Driscoll stressed that Munson was always above reproach then what's with having lately removed the published public announcement that Munson was stepping down in late 2011?  Given that Munson's publicly shared ideas about how you should keep growing your church even when it's not a good idea it's hard to escape the possibility that systemic deficits at Mars Hill could have emerged while he was Lead Pastor and legal president of the organization from 2007 to 2011.

And so far the documents available to us through Joyful Exiles show that Jamie Munson's first major moment in leadership as Lead Pastor was drafting bylaws that made him legal president of Mars Hill and being part of a team that had two men fired for not agreeing with the direction Mars Hill was going.  This makes it impossible for Mars Hill Church to claim that the trouble in the past was that everyone had to agree on everything in the leadership culture without the proviso that what this really meant in practice was that those men who DID disagree about some things were urged to resign and then, failing their voluntary resignation, they were fired and then subjected to trials. Practically the first thing did Munson did even before he was technically made legal president of Mars Hill Church was participate in the firing of those who didn't respect or trust his authority, by his own account. 

Starting off with two controversial terminations and trials for two pastors at Mars Hill and ending up resigning in late 2011 as Mars Hill spiraled into systemic deficits at every single campus doesn't seem like a sparking track record.  Right now Munson isn't even publicly listed as a pastor of Mars Hill Church and the church has even scrubbed away the 2011 announcement that Munson was stepping down.  At this point, so far as publicly documentable activity goes, if the trend keeps going the way it's going with Mars Hill purging stuff all that may be left of Jamie Munson's role in leadership at Mars Hill might potentially be what has been documented at Joyful Exiles

Monday, June 09, 2014

Jamie Munson's role within Mars Hill seems to have continued, absence of public disclosure about his membership or role as a pastor withstanding


http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/09/where-are-they-now-update-jamie-munson.html

http://marshill.com/2011/09/06/important-letters-from-pastors

My proposal to the Board of Directors (BOD) is that Pastor Jamie Munson remain an elder at Mars Hill Church Ballard. Following a sabbatical through the end of the year to enjoy his family, rest up, and finish writing a book, he will rejoin us as an unpaid board member at the highest legal level of Mars Hill Church. [Munson ended up on several boards] In God’s providence, the same day that Pastor Jamie made this decision, one of our unpaid BOD members had to resign due to escalating demands at his place of employment. So, while this man will remain an elder at his local Mars Hill Church, it opened a seat on the BOD for an unpaid elder, which Pastor Jamie fills perfectly. We need many more unpaid elders and Pastor Jamie helps us to raise the profile of that service. The plan is simply that Pastor Jamie will remain an elder at Mars Hill indefinitely. [emphasis added] He has clearly communicated his desire to stay at Mars Hill and serve as an elder and we welcome this. So, Pastor Jamie is still Pastor Jamie. Also, the door to employment is always open to Pastor Jamie. It has been clearly communicated to him by myself personally and by his performance review team collectively that should he ever change his mind, we would welcome him back on staff at Mars Hill Church. Our bylaws require that our Executive Elder (EE) team have at least three members. Pastor Dave Bruskas and I remain on the EE. Thankfully, Pastor Dave and his family recently moved to Seattle after leading Mars Hill Albuquerque. His leadership, wisdom, and experience come at just the right time and we praise God he is on the team. In God’s providence, the sermon he preached at Mars Hill Ballard will air this Sunday at all our other churches, helping you to get to know him better. To fill Pastor Jamie’s vacancy on the EE, I am recommending that the BOD vote for Pastor Scott Thomas to join the EE for at least the foreseeable future. Pastor Scott has served faithfully for many years as an elder at Mars Hill, is among our most trained and seasoned leaders, is already a BOD member, and has served previously for many years as an EE member while also leading Acts 29.  Pastor Dave and I both believe Pastor Scott is the best choice for this role in this season. Pastor Scott has been very clear in his love and commitment to Mars Hill and has said he will gladly serve wherever he is needed, which we deeply appreciate. Administratively, Pastor Jamie was our senior "king" and his departure requires very competent leadership to cover his many responsibilities. Thankfully, Pastor Jamie was a great leader and humble man. He surrounded himself with great people.
Before the above material was removed this was available for consultation.  Mark Driscoll wrote that he recommended Scott Thomas to join the Executive Elder team for what was at the time the foreseeable future.  That apparently did not last long if, in fact, it actually happened. 

But that's neither here nor there.  While Jamie Munson is no longer necessarily publicly listed, these days, as a pastor at Mars Hill Church, that doesn't mean he has stopped being a pastor at Mars Hill Church, even if no longer in a paid staff role.  Munson's recent departure from Storyville Coffee, which has been co-owned by Jon and Esther Phelps (and Jon Phelps has a history of connection to Mark Driscoll that has been discussed elsewhere at this blog). Munson's role in the 2007 terminations and trials of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer has been documented to some extent elsewhere. This entry could be a starting point.

That Jamie Munson has not stopped having some role inside Mars Hill Church, even as a pastor, got documented last year in early October over at this post.
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/10/where-are-they-now-update-2-jamie.html

But for today's blog post a visual demonstration of a recent screen capture (as in today, literally)  might be helpful in establishing whether perhaps Jamie Munson has remained a pastor at Mars Hill Church regardless of what has or hasn't been revealed to the public at large about him.  Remember, Driscoll said in 2011 the plan was for Munson to remain a pastor at MH indefinitely.





on ten painful lessons from the early days of Mars Hill, Driscoll said, "I was carrying the burden myself ... " a series of screen captures from marshill.fm seem to suggest otherwise

http://pastormark.tv/2011/12/06/10-painful-lessons-from-the-early-days-of-mars-hill-church
...
For the first five or six years of Mars Hill, I was the only paid pastor on staff and carried much of the ministry burden. I was doing all the premarital counseling and most of the pastoral work as the only pastor on staff. This went on for years due to pitiful giving and a ton of very rough new converts all the way until we had grown to about 800 people a Sunday. At one point I literally had over a few thousand people come in and out of my home for Bible studies, internships, counseling, and more. My phone rang off the hook, my email inbox overflowed, my energy levels and health took a nose dive, and I started becoming bitter and angry instead of loving and joyful. It got to the point where either something had to change or I was going to go ballistic and do something I really regretted.

Through much prayer and study of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that I’d done a poor job of raising up leaders along with me to help care for his church. I was carrying the burden myself and was not doing a good job because it was too much. [emphasis added] I needed to transition from caring for all the people to ensuring they were all cared for by raising up elders, deacons, and church members. This spurred me to make some dramatic changes to increase membership and train leaders.

We began a process of intentionally challenging qualified men to step up as elders to lead, finding and training men and women to serve and lead as deacons, and we started a Gospel Class to clearly articulate what we believed about Jesus, the Bible, and the church to make clear what we expected from members. Our first teams were not amazing, but some of those people, through years of maturing by God’s grace, are now amazing leaders and servants.
...
Another problem that came from not having built a great team is that everyone expected me to be their pastor in a therapeutic model where we had 1-on-1 meetings every week.

Who was this "we" Driscoll was referring to?  Didn't he say earlier that he had done a poor job of raising up leaders with him?  Didn't he just say in the previous paragraph he was carrying the burden himself?  This ... within the first six years of Mars Hill?

For the sake of review:
Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan
ISBN-13:978-0-310-27016-4
ISBN-10:03-10-27016-2

page 54

... The church started as an idea I shared with Lief Moi and Mike Gunn. Lief is a descendant of Genghis Khan and his dad was a murderer, and Mike is a former football player. They proved to be invaluable, except for the occasional moments when they would stand toe-to-toe in a leadership meeting, threatening to beat the Holy Spirit out of each other. Both men were older than I and had years of ministry experience, and they were good fathers, loving husbands, and tough.  [emphasis added]...

But since it's conceivable that some people will get tired of reading the same material published by Mark Driscoll quoted again this time we've got pictures.









What exactly about all of that suggests that there was no team in the first six years of the history of Mars Hill? 

Driscoll went on to write:

We began a process of intentionally challenging qualified men to step up as elders to lead, finding and training men and women to serve and lead as deacons, and we started a Gospel Class to clearly articulate what we believed about Jesus, the Bible, and the church to make clear what we expected from members. Our first teams were not amazing, but some of those people, through years of maturing by God’s grace, are now amazing leaders and servants.

Within the first six years of the church?  But if that's the case then Mark Driscoll playing some role in getting Paul Petry and Bent Meyer into the leadership structure of Mars Hill happened after this first-six-years period.  Again, who is this "we" if Driscoll was carrying the burden by himself? 

Moving along ... Driscoll wrote more in the piece about ten lessons from the early years:

While the sentiment of being a unified team was good, since we required a unanimous vote of the elders to do anything, the leadership team went from being accountable to being adversarial, stifling, and impossible. But, we could not move leaders on unless they chose to resign and leave. The truth is that when a church is planted, the first elder team will not be in place years later—even Jesus’ team of a mere twelve people did not hold together for a full three years, and we cannot expect to outperform his leadership. The goals of the church are not to secure power and position for leaders but rather to glorify God, reach non-Christians, and mature Christians by putting in place whoever is best suited for these tasks

This claim that a unanimous vote was required by some group keeps being asserted but evidence for the claim is rarely (if ever) produced.  As for the claim that "we could not move leaders on unless they chose to resign and leave" the testimony of Mark Driscoll himself suggests that they were letting people go.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/02/where-are-they-now-part-6b-mark.html
CONFESSIONS OF A REFORMISSION REV
MARK DRISCOLL
(C) 2006 BY MARK DRISCOLL
ZONDERVAN
ISBN-13:978-0-310-27016-4
ISBN-10:0-310-27016-2


CHAPTER FIVE, 350-1,000 PEOPLEpage 135

We had to quickly reorganize all of our systems and staff.  Our administrative pastor, Eric, left, which we all recognized was God's call on him.  And our worship leader was a great guy and great musician but was unable to coordinate the multiple bands in the three locations, so we let him go. [emphasis added] This was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made because he was a very godly man who had worked very hard and would have been fine if the church had not gotten so crazy so quickly, and he and his very sweet wife were both close personal friends of mind. But I needed a worship pastor who could lead mltiple bands, coordinate multiple services in multiple locations, and train multiple worship pastors while keeping up with a church that was growing so fast that we had no idea exactly where it was going. I had no one who could possibly fill this role but felt compelled to wait until God let me know, so I just left a gaping hole in our leadership to create a crisis that would force a leader to emerge. 
Strangely, even though Mark Driscoll spent time repeatedly telling Brad Currah he'd seen Currah leading worship at Mars Hill in a dream that was taken as a divine oracle ... Currah didn't have that role for really all that long before "we let him go". 

For as much time as Driscoll spent in a post from 2011 explaining how he was carrying the burden of Mars Hill by himself anyone who visited marshill.fm circa 1999 to 2002 might have the impression there was actually a team of people and of people that Mark Driscoll actively recruited to join him in planting Mars Hill Fellowship. 

As a postscript, for those interested in reading an examination of pre-2007 bylaws to assess whether or not complete unanimity in voting was actually necessary:

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/08/mars-hillgovernance-that-required-more.html

There were decisions that executive elders made that had to have unanimous voting (with abstentions permitted) but the repeated claims that all MH elders all across the board had to agree on everything is simply not true. Not only was there a team but that team did not necessarily have to always agree on everything all the time at all levels for decisions to get made. 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

so Yates and Yates looks like they've dropped Driscoll as a publicly listed client

http://yates2.com/blog/about/

Scroll through their clients list and you won't find Mark Driscoll these days.  However ...

http://web.archive.org/web/20140509135108/http://yates2.com/blog/about/


as recently as May 9, 2014 it looks like Mark Driscoll WAS listed as a client for Yates & Yates. 

Furthermore the first printing of Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage mentioned that it was published in association with Yates & Yates , LLP.

and in the "ring the bell" category of posts.

http://yates2.com/blog/2012/01/ring-the-bell-another-1-new-york-times-bestseller/

Ah, yes, see Warren Throckmorton's comment asking a few questions.  Whether or not Yates & Yates opts to answer Throckmorton's questions on record or publicly remains to be seen.  What can be verified by way of The WayBack Machine (at least for now) is that Mark Driscoll was listed as a client up through early May 2014. 

MH Ballard communicates re elder recent elder transitions

It appears that recently Mars Hill Ballard Pastor Scott Harris has conveyed some information to Mars Hill Ballard regarding transitions in eldership there.




Pastor Scott Harris
From Pastor Scott Harris: Hello Mars Hill Ballard Family,
Today during all three services we are announcing a few changes with our elder team here at Mars Hill Ballard. I’m sharing them with you here as well, in case you are not able to make it to church today. Four godly, Jesus-loving men are leaving our Ballard elder team, and I invite you to celebrate with me the many years of faithful service and sacrifice that these men have given to the church. I know that we may not agree on everything, but these men do love this church very much. None of these changes are easy for any of us and I ask for your grace and mercy as we seek to learn from them.

Phil Smidt
Many of you know about Phil’s transition already, as this was shared with our Community Group and Redemption Group leaders last week. After many conversations along with much prayer and deliberation I decided to ask Phil to step down from staff and eldership. Phil has been a valuable member of the Ballard leadership team, and has contributed greatly to the counseling and marriage ministries of our entire church. We are very thankful for his many years of service and continue to pray for him and his family as we do care for them deeply. In the interim, Pastor Cliff Ellis will be taking some of the leadership load in our Biblical Living area as we look for a long term pastor to fill that position. 
 
Aaron Mead
Aaron, one of our volunteer pastors, has submitted his resignation this week. Aaron has served faithfully in Biblical Living and as a Redemption Group leader, teacher and coach. We are so thankful for his service and very sad to see him go. If you are able, please thank Aaron and his family for their service and bless them in any way that you can. They are going through many changes and we would ask that you pray for the Mead’s as they seek what the Lord has next for them.
 
Matt Repucci
Matt is another one of our volunteer pastors, and he has also submitted his resignation this week. Matt has been a faithful leader in our prayer ministry and community groups. Again, this is another sad and sudden change for us. Matt is a good man and he along with his family will be missed greatly. Matt let me know that he loves the church and wants the best for Mars Hill. Please join me in thanking Matt and his family for their service and pray for them as well, as they seek what is best for their family.
 
Zach Bolen
Zach, our Worship Pastor, has submitted his resignation this weekend as well. Zach has served for many years, and has been a tremendous part of shaping worship and music at all Mars Hill churches. While I am tremendously sad to see him go, we honor him today for all his hard work and sacrifice, and thank him for everything that he has done for this church. We don’t know what is next for Zach, but we hope to be able to support him and help him transition off of staff well as we work with him over the next few weeks.

From Pastor Zach Bolen
Mars Hill Family,
This past week I resigned from my role as the Worship Pastor at Mars Hill Ballard. It was always my intention and the intention of the leaders at Mars Hill to communicate this transition to you in a timely manner.  Unfortunately, many of you, who my family and I dearly love, were made aware of my resignation through outside sources online.  We love you, we love the leaders of this church, and the information being shared online before I could communicate that to you has not only been harmful but also very unhelpful. Mars Hill you deserved to find out about my resignation from me and your leaders, it was never anyone else’s information to share.  As we process information, it is important that we remember the only thing that can truly guide our conscience in a way that is safe and right is the Holy Spirit and the word of God.  Please do not assume that because I have resigned from my role that I wish harm upon Mars Hill or it’s leaders.  I do not.  Again I’m sorry that you did not find out about this resignation from me and the leaders of Mars Hill first.  I invite you to join my family and I in praying for Jesus to be glorified in and through His church.
Pastor Zack Bolen

I am saddened that some of you may be hearing about these difficult communications from other sources and I hope that you can see my heart as we try to communicate well to you about these changes in the midst of them.
Family, I want you to know that these changes are hard for us and we are very saddened by them. I know that they are painful and sad for you as well and if you have any questions you can come to me or any of the other elders. We don’t take this lightly, but we are seeking to learn and grow in love with every change. This is especially challenging with the sadness of these changes coupled with seeing many people get baptized and hearing some great stories of lives changed through the work of the Holy Spirit here at Mars Hill. God is being very gracious to this church, and I believe he will continue to be for many years to come.  I hope that you are encouraged by God’s work in changed lives, even amid today’s sad news, and especially on the heels of a sad week for our SPU community. Now is not the time to retreat, but the time to step up and be a part of helping continue to grow this church. We need elders, we need deacons, we need church members, CG leaders, RG leaders, children’s ministry volunteers, and more. As you pray for our church, please pray and ask how Jesus wants you and your family to be a part of it. There is much work to be done.
May the Lord bless you and keep you today.
Pastor Scott

Scott Harris (who would appear to have said he directly asked Phil Smidt to step down (and here it's worth noting that other bloggers and journalists will want to remember to actually spell the names of these people accurately)) doesn't seem to offer any explanation of any kind for why Phil Smidt was asked to step down. 

What might be of importance to Mars Hill Church as a whole is whether or not Phil Smidt's brother-in-law, Jamie Munson, is still a pastor at Mars Hill Church or not.  Munson is verifiably no longer associated with the Storyville Coffee company owned by Jon and Esther Phelps but since Mark Driscoll said in 2011 that the plan was for Jamie Munson to be a pastor at Mars Hill indefinitely whether that has turned out to be the case in the wake of Smidt's resignation remains to be seen.  Munson seems to have long since stopped having a role as someone who would consider any formal charges made against Mark Driscoll.  Just because Munson has stopped being listed as a Mars Hill pastor in public webpages does not mean he couldn't be a member of Mars Hill internally.

The old announcement from 2011 about Munson stepping down would have been here:

http://blog.marshill.com/2011/09/06/important-letters-from-pastors/
https://www.facebook.com/pastormark/posts/10150303239766912

Once again Mars Hill Church is scrubbing away documents that just about anyone who reads English could have consulted for years.  Driscoll was pretty clear at the time that his hope was Jamie Munson would remain a pastor at Mars Hill Church indefinitely and was welcome to come back to formal staff activity when he chose.  Perhaps others have already documented the material statements.  In the last three months it's been kind of amazing how much Mars Hill Church has withdrawn or erased.  The important announcement regarding the resignation of former executive elder Jamie Munson has evidently become another such case.

But this may have to suffice for reviewing the announcement about Munson's resignation from the time it was announced.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2011/09/and-jamie-munson-has-stepped-down-from.html

Aaron Mead's resignation is presented as a brief narrative in which no explanation for the action is given.  While it appears Scott Harris explained that he asked Smidt to resign Mead seems to have resigned and Harris seems to have not addressed what (if any) reason may have been given for the resignation.

What is striking about the Matt Repucci resignation is that it wasn't that long ago there was word that Repucci was an elder candidate as recently as August 2013. It does not just so happen Wenatchee The Hatchet had a blog post about that particular person that may be pertinent to recent announcements.  Repucci was a candidate so recently that to resign in June 2014 meant he wasn't even a pastor at Mars Hill Ballard for even a single year.

The Zach Bolen resignation announcement was, clearly, accompanied with concern that the resignation seemed to be scooped via Warren Throckmorton before there was even internal communication of this announcement/plan to Mars Hill Church at Ballard.

What is striking about the material above that seems largely attributed to Harris is that there is no explanation of why any of these decisions were made.  Bolen has apparently provided some kind of statement that he does not wish any harm to Mars Hill.  In a resignation announcement from a pastor in a church setting the more customary thing to be expected would be a set of positive reasons for why something is being done.  If someone has been planning for years to eventually plant a church in a given region, and an opportunity to do so emerges, then it's normal to expect the pastor to share with the church the reason for a pending departure.  If someone takes a sabbatical that gets announced.  What is strange is when five resignations happen in short order at a single campus and the lead pastor announces that he essentially required the first person to resign in some fashion and that the other four voluntarily resigned for reasons that never get explained, anywhere, at all in the formal announcement.

If now is not the time for retreat (whatever that means) why not address exactly why no less than five men at one Mars Hill campus tendered their resignations?  The announcement quoted above explains who did what when and where but it's not really news unless we finally get a why.  That is, of course, something the resigning men can share at their discretion in whatever manner they may choose.  But it's striking how scrupulously the announcement from Scott Harris avoids any attempt to explain what the reasons for the resignations were. 

And it's striking that the resignation announcements about Jamie Munson have also been wiped out.  If Munson has also departed then this could raise the number from five to six men who have in some way resigned from eldership at Mars Hill Church.

It's worth noting that Phil Smidt's role in the trials of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer would be worth addressing at some point.  Smidt and is brother-in-law Jamie Munson did not exactly have entirely minor or insignificant roles in the termination, trial, and post-trial correspondence of Paul Petry.

Finally, while Bolen is certainly entitled to believe that the sharing of information outside of Mars Hill in the way that it was "has not only been harmful but also very unhelpful", there's no explanation provided for how or even why it would be harmful or very unhelpful, much like Scott Harris merely announced five resignations without explaining the reasons for any of them, even in the case in which it was explicitly stated that Phil Smidt was asked to resign.  Why? 

Seven years ago the pruning season was initiated by executive elders.  Now it's looking as though a new season of pruning is happening in which men are (mostly) voluntarily leaving or in some cases are asked to leave for reasons that upper level leadership at Mars Hill Church seems eager to avoid even mentioning.