Friday, June 15, 2012

Regrouping for Jesus' Fame: An explanation of the need for the re-org in 2007

The root of our problem is that our ecclesiological model was established for the governance of a single church. We have gone from a single church to a network of campuses requiring multiple levels of authority and leadership, each with defined jurisdiction. In light of this we are quickly moving to move to a greater number of leadership teams with defined scopes of responsibility and oversight. We believe that these teams built at the campus level will allow us to both care for our church and its leaders most effectively and allow us to remain a lean and nimble organization that can adapt to change quickly.

Now if this was the root problem and the need for drafting new bylaws in 2007 how did the new bylaws address that problem? I've looked through the newer bylaws and have had trouble finding indications that the newer bylaws actually established governance of a network of campuses.  There was a lot of attention to the Full Council of Elders, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Elder Board.

Yet if the stated goal was to draft a set of bylaws that provided for a network of campuses requiring multiple levels of authority and leadership, each with defined jurisdiction it looks to this possibly uninformed and ill-informed reader that the old bylaws actually provided for that possibility in Article V.  Where is the Article V equivalent in the newer bylaws? Article V in the old bylaws stipulated Site pastors and their jurisdiction to at least some degree.  The newer bylaws don't even seem to do that.  If someone can point to the article and wording from the newer bylaws that clearly defines the jurisdiction and levels of authority and leadership relating to the network of campuses feel free to point them out in comments.

And after all that and the associated firings and so on then in 2011 this gets published.
Pastor Jamie Munson
August 8, 2011

Last month we decided to put an end to the word “campus” in the Mars Hill vocabulary. It’s been a long time coming, and now, with new locations in the works from Everett to Orange County, the timing is right to make the change.

During our June meeting, the Mars Hill Board of Directors agreed to replace “Mars Hill campuses” with “Mars Hill churches.” This is more than a shift in semantics. The adjustment is the product of a lot of discussion, study, and deliberation involving the entire Mars Hill eldership and experienced theologians like Gregg Allison and James MacDonald.

Referring to our locations as churches rather than campuses helps articulate our theology (what we believe about God and his Word), our ecclesiology (what we believe about church), our ministry, and our mission.

That's informative. Where in the bylaws drafted in 2007 did campuses get discussed again?  Article and sections if readers can spot them.

Though by definition we may be many different churches, the Mars Hill Network of churches remains a single, united church. We share a common infrastructure, a common mission, common teaching, and a common belief that we can reach more people by working together rather than existing separately.

Wouldn't the traditional nomenclature for this group of churches united by infrastructure, mission, teaching, and belief be a "denomination"?

Wasn't the big re-org needed because the old governance system was that of a single church and what was needed was a system that better reflected a network of campuses?  Okay ... but then in 2011 the whole campus thing was tossed out and replaced with churches.  Munson assured readers this was not a purely semantic distinction.  All right then, but it's not entirely clear from the bylaws passed in 2007 that the new bylaws ever addressed campus network concerns that much to begin with but perhaps someone more versed in those things can post some helpful information here. Again, it seems pertinent to ask, didn't Article V of the old bylaws actually cover Site pastors? If someone can spot where in the bylaws drafted in 2007 that campus or site pastors actually got discussed feel free to point out the article and section.

On September 6, 2011 Munson announced his resignation.

Driscoll provided a leadership vision for Mars Hill in the wake of the announcement which included the following:


Pastor Mark Driscoll
September 6, 2011

While we celebrate the past and honor the present, we also need to prepare for the future by God’s grace. We’ve been here before, many times before, in fact. As our church grows, we encounter obstacles and hit ceilings of complexity and need to adjust as necessary to get through the next size barrier. This was true at 200, 800, 2,000, and 6,000, just like the experts predicted. At 10,000 we are there again. (emphasis added) I’ve been working on the beginnings of a comprehensive plan, as I can see into the future to 25,000 people a week, Lord willing. A finished version of that document will be released once it is revised with input and change from various leaders in the church, as well as wise counsel from leaders of churches larger than ours who have become friends. 

Now if I remember clearly one of these friends may now include:

T. D. Jakes (see Elephant Room 2)

Steven Furtick

In just over six years, Elevation Church has grown to more than 10,000 in attendance each week meeting at six locations. Since our launch, we've seen thousands of people give their lives to Christ and be baptized. Elevation has been named one of the "10 fastest growing churches in America" by Outreach Magazine for the past six years.

In the above tweet Driscoll expresses gratitude for being able to teach at Furtick's church.

Then there's James MacDonald, with whom Driscoll extended hands to Jakes at Elephant Room 2

So back in 2007 Mars Hill seemed to have hit a ceiling of complexity that required a re-org. In 2011 Munson mentioned that campuses were no longer the preferred nomenclature, churches were, and that this change was to reflect what had been reality for a while and to make sure terminology fit theology and ecclesiology. Then a month later Munson resigns and he and Driscoll share a few kind words about each other.

Then Driscoll, for reasons I admit I don't quite get, spends a lengthy amount of time talking about growing Mars Hill to the next level and about ceilings of complexity.  When was the last time celings of complexity came up?  Attendance of 6000?  There were about 6000 attending regularly in 2007 during the re-org and when the firings happened because two pastors had substantial reservations about the bylaws revisions, right? Munson, whose educational background has not tended to come up in discussions of his kingly gifts, stepped down and has been replaced by Sutton Turner, whose academic and corporate experience involves companies and churches besides Mars Hill.

For a few references to Sutton Turner a few links may help referencing previous research:

So campuses are out and churches are in.  So if the re-org of 2007 was needed so that campus teams could make decisions more effectively will the bylaws get revised to better reflect the reality that the campuses are churches? Would there need to be new bylaws if Mars Hill has become Mars Hill Network as Munson seemed to describe it? Did the ceiling of complexity reach a level where Munson didn't have the kingly gifts to tackle it and someone else did?  I'm not sure.  Meanwhile, if someone could elucidate how those 2007 bylaws addressed campus jurisdiction that'd be helpful.

No comments: