Monday, September 30, 2013

Where Are They Now update: Jamie Munson no longer listed in the pastors of Mars Hill

For those alert readers who saw that the MHC Downtown leaders are currently listed as pastors for Mars Hill Rainier Valley you may have also spotted that there's no sign of Jamie Munson.  For those without the background on changes in late 2011, Sutton Turner joined up in April 2011 and by late 2011 there was a new ceiling of complexity and Munson stepped down.

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. 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.[emphasis added]  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.

Sorry, dear readers, Mars Hill peeps apparently don't believe in paragraph breaks. Scott Thomas didn't last long. 

Then there's ...

We are inviting other churches to join us on this big campaign, and in the grace of God I believe 2012 will be the biggest year we’ve ever had. 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. [emphasis added] This was true at 200, 800, 2,000, and 6,000, just like the experts predicted. At 10,000 we are there again. 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.

What that document was was not clarified.  A possible guess is the "Governance" page that went up in early 2012.  It was subject to some collosal trimming and revision between 2012 and 2013, documented at some length here.

"Ceiling of complexity" is an interesting term, particularly since it got mentioned during a period of reorganization of governance inside Mars Hill.  Why does that sound familiar ... ?  Ah, yes, because of this.  New ceiling of complexity was arrived at and Jamie Munson stepped down?  New kingly gifts guy, it did have some ring of familiarity to it. 

Apropos of transitions amongst guys with kingly gifts, a about a year ago Sutton Turner published the following piece advising pastors on how to leave well.

Of particular note in light of the announcements of the resignations of Bill Clem and Tim Gaydos is the following:

6. Be prepared to sacrifice

If you resign, do not request or expect to receive severance pay (severance
is for layoff situations). Sudden staff loss is painful and expensive for
your church. The recruitment process is a costly, time-consuming distraction,
and severance essentially doubles that cost. If you’re the one who wants to
leave, don’t ask your church to invest in a new hire and keep paying you a
salary after you’ve gone.

I.e. if you DO quit don't expect any monetary compensation when you go and don't ask for it.  That's for people who get laid off. 

Sutton Turner's post was eventually followed up by Mark Driscoll's Do You Trust Your Pilot? that Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith discussed.

The most recent contribution Munson made to The Resurgence was July 7, 2013

and his profile:

Jamie Munson is a long-time pastor and board member at Mars Hill Church and author of Money: God or Gift and Authority: The Leader's Call to Serve. Born and raised in the state of Montana, Pastor Jamie came to Mars Hill as a 19-year-old non-Christian, not long after the church began. He met Jesus, got baptized, and after a stint in the corporate world, became the first Mars Hill intern in June 1999.
Over the next decade, Jamie became a pastor and continued to take on more leadership responsibility to help shepherd Mars Hill's tremendous growth by serving as executive pastor for many. Pastor Jamie married his wife, Crystal, in 2000. They have four children: Caleb, Kara, Orin, and Haley.
"It is my heart's desire and calling to follow Jesus faithfully," Pastor Jamie writes, "and to help build an army of faithful Christians who love and steward well the relationships and resources that Jesus has blessed them with."
Though he departed vocational ministry in 2011, Pastor Jamie continues to pursue his calling by influencing leaders in business, non-profits and the church.
Learn more at

So Munson, if he's gone, will by no means be part of a process assessing any charges that may be made against Mark Driscoll if that happens, even though that was outlined in the 2012 governance statement

There have been some comments in one or two places to the effect that Munson has moved on, we're not going to quote them here but we'll just say for the moment that the question of whether or not Jamie Munson was going to stay at Mars Hill after such a large step-down in status and influence was a question I've contemplated from time to time.  Despite Munson's notable role in the termination of Meyer and Petry and the expansive send-off given to him by no less than Driscoll himself it's starting to look like Munson isn't in leadership at Mars Hill in any capacity and who knows if he is even on the bus? 


Anonymous said...

Is Dave Kraft gone? He's not listed as a pastor anymore. Doesn't come up in searches either.

May just be coincidence, but interesting choice of words and topic in his blog last Friday.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

From the link:

A controlling leader is one of the most destructive forms of leadership there is. It is a momentum and morale killer and leaves many “dead” bodies in its wake. I have worked with more than my share of them. One thing I’ve discovered is that many of them don’t see it. It’s a blind spot for them. They see themselves as:
◾A leader who has high standards
◾A leader who wants things done in a certain way
◾A leader who wants nothing less than excellence in all endeavors and in every decision
◾A leader with no desire to see any failures (Failure disgusts God. He wants us to be successful)
◾A leader who is establishing good accountability

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Another notable excerpt

2. Establish A Zero-Based Tolerance Policy For Mistakes And Failures -

Not three strikes and you’re out…one strike and you’re out! People will be fearful of messing up; but that’s a good thing in helping you keep the bar set high. You’d rather have people fear you than like you. Popularity is way overblown.

3. Make Everything About You -

Make sure your name and picture is everywhere. Make sure that you always receive credit for every success--even if you didn’t actually do it. Take credit when credit is due. Make sure that you maintain your grip on power, position and all decisions being made. Be upfront and on center stage as much as possible--at all meetings, on the website and in the media.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

And, finally ...

Anonymous said...

Kraft's post from today is also interesting:

Around the time of Real Marriage, MH campuses started to become more uniform in the areas where Kraft advocates for experimentation.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Now that the post has been up it comes to mind that just because Munson isn't listed as a pastor does not mean that 1) he isn't a pastor at Mars Hill any longer or 2) that he is no longer even a member of Mars Hill. It may simply be that information is not being publicly disclosed any longer. If it turns out he still is a pastor at Mars Hill and still a member that's something someone else would have to field. It's not a certainty that Munson isn't completely gone, just that given the history of MH leadership interaction with the public and with members we can't be 100% sure Munson isn't still connected to MH in some way.

Anonymous said...

The landing page for Kraft's blog has a bio. First paragraph, last sentence:

"He also served as a Pastor at Mars Hill Church for eight years."