Saturday, June 29, 2013

"In the event that a formal charge and/or accusation is made against Pastor Mark ... " who would investigate?

Last year, before it was scrubbed away, the Mars Hill Church Governance page included the following. Keep in mind that none of this may even apply any longer.  Nevertheless, since it was available for about half of 2012, it can be considered as a hypothetical from last year.

In the event that a formal charge and/or accusation is made against Pastor Mark that, if investigated and found to be true, would disqualify him from his position as an elder in Mars Hill Church, a group of five men consisting of both elders within Mars Hill Church and Christian leaders outside of Mars Hill Church, will investigate the charge or accusation and determine if it is true. This group currently consists of Jamie Munson, Dave Bruskas, James MacDonald, Darrin Patrick, and Larry Osborne. If the charge or accusation is found to be true, this group can rebuke Pastor Mark or, if warranted, remove him as an elder at Mars Hill Church. If Pastor Mark is removed as an elder, he automatically ceases to serve on the Board of Elders, on the Executive Elder Team, and as president of Mars Hill Church.”

So, if it ever came to the point where someone made accusations against Mark Driscoll then they would be investigated.  The way things are worded it sounds as though first an investigation would have to take place and that "if" the charges were true and that Driscoll turned out to be unfit for ministry THEN a group of five men consisting of elders in Mars Hill and Christian leaders outside of Mars HIll Church would investigate and determine whether the accusation or charge were true.  A bit fuzzy. 

What's not fuzzy are the names listed.  Let's consider them in order with the caveat that this list of five may have little or anything to do with who would be conducting and investigation NOW if one were, in fact, under way.

Let's start with Jamie Munson. Munson was appointed Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Church in the by-laws Jamie Munson drafted in 2007.  When two pastors disagreed with the by-laws Munson formulated charges against them. One of the charges was a lack of trust or respect for Munson himself.  Munson stated Scott Thomas was in charge of the investigation and Scott Thomas stated the investigation process was not a witch hunt and informed a member that "a conciliatory process" had been completed. As Wenatchee The Hatchet has discussed here Scott Thomas responded to the member enquiry through his Acts 29 Network email. 

If Munson were part of a team to assess whether Driscoll is fit for ministry it's important to keep in mind that Mark Driscoll has described Munson as Mars Hill 1.0, one of the earliest converts under Driscoll's preaching and teaching. Nearly the entirety of Munson's professional life can be summed up as being in Mars Hill. Currently Munson is co-president at Storyville Coffee.  He has a 5% ownership along with Kris Rosentrater. But the majority ownership is Jon Phelps.

So, who is Jon Phelps?  Here's one account.

Jon Phelps is the founder of Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. Jamie Munson will be involved in day to day operations, leadership, sales, management and community engagement. Kris Rosentrater is a coffee specialist and is involved in roasting and production. Jon Phelps is an investor and consultant to the business.

And here's the corporation listing in Washington state.

Governing Persons
UNIT 802
UNIT 802

What else can we find out about Phelps?  He's co-credited with Mark Driscoll for Reverse-Engineering Your Life, copyright 2005.  And here starting at page 6.

This appears to be the Jon who is reference in Real Marriage, chapter 11 as helping Mark Driscoll get his life together (page 208 Real Marriage).  It's evident the reverse-engineering your life process in the 2012 book is a development on the 2005 material. 

Then there's footnote 35 on page 202 of Confessions of a Reformission Rev. Here for an on-line sampler.

footnote 35, page 202 Confessions of a Reformission Rev
I took the concept of shooting our dogs from a conversation I had with a friend named Jon Phelps, who is the president of DC-3 Entertainment and the founder of Full Sail College.

So Jon Phelps is a friend of Mark Driscoll, an investor, and someone who seems to some roots at Mars Hill. If someone like Jon Phelps were selected to consider accusations against Mark Driscoll could Phelps be considered a major donor to Mars Hill?  Does Phelps have a history of contributing large sums of money to Mars Hill?  So Munson works at a company owned by Phelps who is himself credited with the reverse-engineering your life approach Mark Driscoll has been promoting and apparently implementing since somewhere around 2005.  It was certainly part of the mens' retreat materials in 2006.  Phelps seems to be the one referred to in Real Marriage.

But let's move on to the next name.

Dave Bruskas is Vice-President of Mars Hill Church and thus an employee.  Bruskas was at City on a Hill Church, an Acts 29 plant, before it became Mars Hill Albuquerque.  And here.
May 3, 2009

about 4:30 into the sermon

City on a Hill is a church planted through the Acts 29 Network by Pastor Dave Bruskas. He's a great guy. Really great guy. Years ago he was actually on staff in the building our Lake City  campus actually meets at. He has planted his church in Albuquerque. It's going really well. There are over 400 people. Great church. Doing very well. Bilingual, multiethnic, eldership. Really cool things happening. And they have agreed to partner with us. We praise God for that.  We rejoice in that. So they have announced to their people officially today that they're becoming a Mars Hill campus. 

And what this means is that we hope to establish them as a regional hub to plant campuses of Mars Hill and churches of Acts 29 all over the Southeast, including into Mexico. Some of their elders are bilingual and are able to minister across cultural contexts and we praise God for that. As well at least one of their primary leaders is part of a Native American nation, tribe, and has full rights to potentially even plant a church in that context so it opens up some wonderful opportunities that we praise God for. 
If Driscoll is President of Mars Hill and Dave Bruskas is Vice-President would Bruskas be in a good position to assess accusations that Mark Driscoll is not qualified for ministry?  Wouldn't it be preferable that a person assessing charges not technically be employed so as to not be in a potential conflict of interest?  What happened to this guy, Michael Van Skaik? He used to be referenced but no longer shows up in the listing of pastors here.  And here.

Michael is passionate about helping others live the life that God intends for them. He enjoys guiding others through the various areas of our lives, searching the scriptures for wisdom regarding those areas and then seeing them implement and do what the Word says (James 1:22-27). He also serves as Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA as Chair of the Board of Advisors and Accountability.

Looks like it's more like he was chair of the board of advisors and accountability and now there's hardly a trace of him.   Anyway, moving along from Bruskas we get to

James MacDonald is a guy described by Mark Driscoll as having a spiritual gift of real estate acquisition, a fascinating gift not attested in most manuscripts of 1 Corinthians. MacDonald's Harvest Bible Church has some substantial real estate debt and in the last year MacDonald's gambling became a matter of public concern.  MacDonald and Driscoll kicked off 2012 with a friendly gesture toward T. D. Jakes, whose alleged shift away from modalism to traditional Trinitarian thought has not , to put it nicely, convinced everyone.  There have been enough questions about MacDonald's approach to pastoral office that it's hard to be sure this is someone who would know whether or not Driscoll had really said or done anything to imperil his own qualifications for ministry. 

Then there's Darrin Patrick, in leadership at Acts 29 Network.  Patrick's church gave Scott Thomas a job as a pastor while Scott Thomas had not bothered to resign his membership from Mars Hill. Given that Scott Thomas described the 2007 trial process as a "conciliatory process" to a member let's just suppose Darrin Patrick was never told that Scott Thomas was still a covenanted member of Mars Hill while preaching at The Journey.  That seems like a fair concession to make.  Nevertheless, the documents of Scott Thomas' conduct and speech during the 2007 termination of Bent Meyer and Paul Petry is out there at Joyful Exiles for anyone to read.  There's also this, a summation of the transition by Thomas. There's apparently another set of transitions with Scott and his son Derrin Thomas having shifted out of The Journey.  Darrin Patrick is another good friend of Mark Driscoll.  It would seem as though the group of five consists pretty much of Driscoll's friends, and in a couple of cases men who played an advisory or participatory role in the 2007 re-org that involved firing Bent Meyer and Paul Petry, and a re-org during which 1,000 members left the church. 

Which gets us to Larry Osborne, referenced by Jonna Petry in her account of how the build-up to the 2007 re-org took place and mentioned by Mark Driscoll early in the 142-page document (page 3 over here).  If Munson formulated charges and drafted by-laws that made himself Lead Pastor and if Osborne gave advice that Driscoll implemented in making Mars Hill multi-site then these two are men who were involved in the 2007 re-org that inspired so much controversy possibly half of the members of Mars Hill left. 

One of the things of note about a number of men who served as pastors on committees intended to keep the executive elders accountable is that a few of them don't seem to even be at Mars Hill anymore.  Where did Michael Van Skaik go?  What about Chad Toulouse?  Where did Will Little go?  Bubba Jennings and Jamie Munson still seem to be around. Justin Holcomb is still around but Brad House has transitioned out. Kerry Dodd still seems to be around. Chris Pledger transitioned out the weekend the eviction of Mars HIll from Orange County happened and it's not clear he was ever licensed to practice law in any states where Mars HIll has a presence anyway. 

At this point if there were a formal charge against Mark Driscoll what was shared about the committee of men who would assess the charge is that they are described variously by Driscoll as friends or men who had a role in the 2007 re-org.  It would be, to go by everything available in public so far, seem to be a very partial jury.

Finally, it is worth noting that all the cited material from Governance as published by Mars Hill in 2012 is gone from the currently available version. 

Mars Hill Church and the idol of social media

A bit more than a year ago Wenatchee The Hatchet published this in the months after Andrew Lamb's case became a set of headlines.  It was simply called "Mars Hill, Andrew in 2012 and the idol of social media". 

While Mars Hill PR worked hard to avoid discussing disciplinary cases in early 2012 and leaned on the idea of protecting the privacy of victims, generally women, the reality was that the parties involved had largely blogged and tweeted away their privacy. As documented at considerable length, no less than Mark Driscoll himself preached tidbits giving away the identity of a party involved. 

All of that thumbnail review is to propose that Mars Hill Church has a fixation of some kind on social media and branding.  The fact that they are hunting for a Chief Sales and Marketing Officer makes this all but impossible to dispute. Come on, we can't quote ourselves all the time, though we could and that, too, would be a distinctly Mars Hill thing to do, in it's way.  In fact ... let's just quote from ourselves now.

Every god and every cause demands a sacrifice and the great sacrifice made to the idol of social media and media saturation is what? What you publish is there for everyone to see.  In other words, what you sacrifice when you immerse yourself in the internet and social media long enough is something called privacy. You can choose to give up ten percent of your privacy or thirty percent or you can create a persona that you offer to the internet and social media.  That, too, is a sacrifice.

Mars Hill members, even leaders, have posted huge amounts of information to social and broadcast media in the course of more than a decade.  It's conceivable, in fact, that some have posted information on social media or broadcast media they shouldn't have, even to the point of publishing something that might have cost them a job or two.  Maybe it has already happened.  Who knows?

To by what Mark Driscoll's associates did with his sermon quoted by Andy and Wendy Alsup last year, when something that has been in the public for years is quoted and shows Mars Hill or Driscoll in a potentially less than favorable light things get redacted.  There are places where the longer material has been preserved in some fashion here and here. So between Wenatchee The Hatchet and the other two blogs there are at least three places where you can compare what Driscoll is quoted saying in the earlier form and what is available to hear on download more recently.

Last year Fighting for the Faith broadcast statements by Mark Driscoll made in the wake of the termination of two men from pastoral work. Chris Rosebrough discussed what the changes in Mark Driscoll's roles meant, as he understood them, here. That the words of Driscoll were not available, apparently, until last year suggests that this was material that nobody in association with Mark Driscoll seemed to think would be good to have available for public consultation. They're worth listening to for what Driscoll said about the necessity of casting vision and then just moving on if people aren't on board. 

Short version, backing away from visible power and consolidating informal power.  In fact Driscoll is currently legal president of Mars Hill Church. The secretary of state listing for Acts 29 Network looks out of date since there's no sign of Scott Thomas anywhere, but when Mark Driscoll mentioned in February 2012 that Scott Thomas asked him to resume presidency that's apparently what happened. So it seems that Mars Hill Church and Acts 29 Network, as legal entities, looked to be pretty much the same three officers.  it may be different now that Acts 29 Network has a presence in Texas things may be different. And so it is, in that Texas does not consider it suitable or necessary to divulge the identities of the legal officers of an organization like Acts 29 Network.

What appeared to be happening was that Driscoll had been consolidating formal and legal power while the public statements were to the effect that Sutton Turner would be replacing Jamie Munson as the one with the "kingly" gifts.  Now perhaps Turner is an adequate treasurer and secretary for Mars Hill Church but that remains to be seen.  It also remains to be seen, if discoverable, who the legal officers of Mars Hill in Texas are and when the agent information on the Washington side may be updated.

It remains to be seen how soon Mars Hill will fill that Chief Sales and Marketing Officer position.  Whoever gets that job may want to consider at least the possibility that social media is one of the idols of Mars Hill and that a careful examination of Mars Hill's social and broadcast media output "may" reveal that the controversies that have bedeviled Mars Hill may not be a devilish plot as much as unforeseen consequences of Mars Hill's own cultural fixations.  Just presenting that as a possible interpretation of the evidence in social media at hand.  Others are welcome to other interpretations.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

a possible preview of coming attractions

There have been a number of dormant projects incubating at Wenatchee The Hatchet, most of which haven't emerged just yet.  Research and writing has been sporadic but continues. 

What may pop up here?  Reviews are forthcoming, to be sure, but of what?  Let's settle for at least some mild suspense for now. 

Hope you're having a good summer.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mars Hill is looking for a Chief Sales & Marketing Officer$160,000-jobs.html

And a lead pastor role at Mars Hill Downtown.

Last Wenatchee checked A. J. Hamilton was still listed as Lead Pastor at Mars Hill Downtown.  Hamilton has, however, been an interim pastor pending a selection of someone else, apparently.

MH Governance in 2013 and in 2012

Some time in 2012 the following page went up.  Now if you follow the page you'll see that it includes the following: 

How Mars Hill Church is Governed

If you are a member of Mars Hill Church, if you are considering membership, or if you have questions about how Mars Hill is governed, we created this FAQ page to provide answers to any questions you may have.
How is Mars Hill Church governed?
At Mars Hill Church, we make every effort to obey the Scriptures and to have leadership organized as the Bible teaches. This means that we have the following offices:
•Jesus, our senior pastor

Each of these offices is described in greater detail below. For a more thorough description, check out Pastor Mark and Gerry Breshears’ book Vintage Church.
What does it mean that Jesus is our “senior pastor”?
Jesus Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 1:9, 22–23; 4:15; 5:23), the apostle who plants a church (Heb. 3:1), the leader who builds the church (Matt. 16:18), and the senior pastor and chief shepherd who rules the church (1 Pet. 5:4). It is ultimately Jesus who closes down churches when they have become faithless or fruitless (Rev. 2:5). Therefore, it is absolutely vital that a church love Jesus, obey Jesus, imitate Jesus, and follow Jesus at all times and in all ways, according to the teaching of his Word (Col. 3:16).
What does the organizational structure of Mars Hill Church look like?
Mars Hill Church is an elder-led church. Therefore, the leadership and governance of Mars Hill is established within the office of elder. We have several Boards and committees, comprised of elders, that provide organized leadership over the church, and accountability in different ways.

The Board of Advisors & Accountability has three categories of responsibility:
1)     Counsel. Assist and advise the Church on those matters where prudence requires an outside perspective.
2)    Accountability. Provide support and outside objective oversight when needed.
3)    Governance. Manage or direct the civil and business affairs of Mars Hill Church, as required by all 501(c)3 organizations.
The Board of Advisors and Accountability meets twice every year.

The Executive Elders oversee and manage the day-to-day affairs of the church as a standing committee and first-among-equals within the Board of Advisors and Accountability.
Our current Executive Elders are Pastors Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas, and Sutton Turner.

All of the pastors at Mars Hill (paid and unpaid) comprise the Full Council, which meets annually. The Full Council approves the slate of nominees for the Board of Advisors & Accountability, and changes to the doctrinal statement.

Advisory committee of Mars Hill elders selected by the Executive Elders to provide recommendations to the Board of Advisors & Accountability.
Well, this is how it looks today but how it looked back around July 2012 things were a little more detailed.  How much more?

Here's a sample of what the page had circa August 2012.  Notice there's a bit more content.  Where applicable previously done research is linked to for supplementary reading.  Wenatchee The Hatchet had planned to get to blogging about the rest of the early 2012 Governance material anyway and now that the 2013 version is so significantly truncated, here's the whole thing as it used to be with relatively little immediate comment.

How is Mars Hill Church governed?

At Mars Hill Church, we make every effort to be obey the Scriptures and have leadership organized as the Bible teaches. This means that we have the following offices:
•Jesus, our senior pastor
Each of these offices is described in greater detail below or, for a more thorough description, in Pastor Mark's book Vintage Church.

What does it mean that Jesus is our “senior pastor”?

Jesus Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 1:9, 22–23; 4:15; 5:23), the apostle who plants a church (Heb. 3:1), the leader who builds the church (Matt. 16:18), and the senior pastor and chief shepherd who rules the church (1 Pet. 5:4). It is ultimately Jesus who closes down churches when they have become faithless or fruitless (Rev. 2:5). Therefore, it is absolutely vital that a church love Jesus, obey Jesus, imitate Jesus, and follow Jesus at all times and in all ways, according to the teaching of his Word (Col. 3:16).

What is an elder/pastor?

At Mars Hill, we use the term elder and pastor interchangeably. Elders are the male leaders of the church chosen for their ministry according to clear biblical requirements after a sufficient season of testing in the church (1 Tim. 2:11–3:7; Titus 1:5–9). Elders are nearly always spoken of in plurality because God intends for more than one man to lead and rule over the church, as a safeguard for both the church and the man. This is illustrated by Paul when he speaks of a council of multiple elders ruling in a local church (1 Tim. 4:14; Titus 1:5). Currently there are more than 50 elders and another 50 men being trained and examined for that role. Some elders are paid, and some are unpaid.
What are the qualifications for of an elder?

The Bible defines the qualifications of elder in two primary places in 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:5–9, and the lists are virtually identical.
From 1 Timothy 3:1–7

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
From Titus 1:5–9:

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

In addition to the qualifications of an elder, the Bible also provides the duties of elders/pastors:
 •Praying and studying Scripture (Acts 6:4)
•Ruling/leading the church (1 Tim. 5:17)
•Managing the church (1 Tim. 3:4–5)
•Caring for people in the church (1 Pet. 5:2–5)
•Giving account to God for the church (Heb. 13:17)
•Living exemplary lives (Heb. 13:7)
•Rightly using the authority God has given them (Acts 20:28)
•Teaching the Bible correctly (Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 3:2)
•Preaching (1 Tim. 5:17)
•Praying for the sick (James 5:13–15)
•Teaching sound doctrine and refuting false teachings (Titus 1:9)
•Working hard (1 Thess. 5:12)
•Rightly using money and power (1 Pet. 5:1–3)
•Protecting the church from false teachers (Acts 20:17–31)
•Disciplining unrepentant Christians (Matt. 18:15–17)
•Obeying local, state, and federal laws (Rom. 13:1–7)
•Developing other leaders and teachers (Eph. 4:11–16; 2 Tim. 2:1–2)

An elder is not a helper who does a lot of work for the church, because that is the definition of a deacon. Rather, an elder is a leader who trains other leaders to lead various aspects of the church. Therefore, no man should be an elder unless he has proven that he can effectively train people to be not only mature Christians but also mature Christian leaders who train other leaders.

What is a deacon?

Unlike members or elders, the New Testament says very little about deacons. When senior spiritual leadership is overburdened to the degree that they are unable to simultaneously get time for prayer, Bible study, and the care of needy people, they are free to appoint pastoral assistants or ministry team leaders to help alleviate some of their burden (Acts 6:1–7). This is the pattern of the New Testament: elders are continually appointed first in local churches, and once they are overburdened they appoint pastoral assistants to aid them.

Deacons are mentioned on two occasions in the New Testament. Both occasions are in relation to elders because the two groups of leaders work so closely together (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1–13). Practically, elders and deacons work together like left and right hands, with elders specializing in leading by their words and deacons specializing in leading by their works.
Deacons can be male or female and serve the church by overseeing and caring for God’s people. They must have theological convictions that are true to Scripture (1 Tim. 3:9). Deacons are appointed only after they have proven themselves to the elders as faithful and mature church members (1 Tim. 3:10).

The Greek word for deacon simply means “servant,” and beyond that title we are given little indication of what a deacon should do. This is because while the duties of an elder are universally constant in every church, in every place, in every age, the duties of deacons vary according to the needs of local churches and their elders. In this way, the Bible brilliantly establishes a theologically grounded, morally qualified group of senior elder leaders and grants them the freedom to appoint whatever deacons are needed to help them lead the church in whatever areas they deem require a deacon to lead. The primary list of qualifications for the office of deacon is found in 1 Tim. 3:8–13.
1 Tim. 3:8–13

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

These qualifications are nearly identical to the qualifications of elders—minus the teaching and preaching gifts.

At Mars Hill we currently have over 500 men and women serving as deacons.
What is a church member?

Church members are Christians whose eyes are capable of seeing beyond themselves to the well-being of the whole church. They realize that God died not just for them but also for their church (Acts 20:28). They also realize that he commands them to give selflessly of their money (2 Cor. 8–9) and abilities in order to build up their church (1 Cor. 14:12).

Church members are, in a sense, leaders of and servants in the church who serve according to their abilities in accordance with Jesus’ commands to love God and their neighbor. This shows up not just in what they feel but also in what they say and do. The church members must be trained and released to use their spiritual gifts in various ways so that they too are leading the church, behind the elders and deacons, as the priesthood of believers that Scripture speaks of throughout the New Testament.

To become a member at Mars Hill Church, an attender must be a Christian who has met the requirements of membership established by our elders. Those include being baptized at some point as a demonstration that Jesus died and rose to wash them from sin. Members must also complete the Doctrine series, which explains the essential beliefs of Christianity, and our church as well as the philosophy of ministry and organizational structure of the church, and sign our membership covenant with the elders to serve in the church, pray for the church, give to the church, read their Bible regularly, love their brothers and sisters in Christ in word and deed, respect the authority of church leaders including submitting to discipline if necessary, attend church services, and share the gospel with others in word and deed.

How has church governance within Mars Hill Church changed over the years?
As Mars Hill Church has grown over the years, we have had to reorganize ourselves more than once. We do this because we love Jesus and want to love and serve people and steward resources as well as we can. For example, when Mars Hill started, it was a very small church of a few dozen people all meeting at one time in one room. At that time Pastor Mark was the only pastor, and we did not yet have any other official elders, deacons, or members. When things are small they tend to be informal. Most churches operate in an informal way as the average church in America is roughly 70–80 people. For a church to grow it has to reorganize itself much like a married couple that has done things one way for years has to make serious changes if they birth triplets. In the same way, a church has to make changes when God brings the new birth of new Christians. While the growth makes things complicated, we praise God for it because we love people and want to serve them. In 2011 alone, we baptized 1,392 people! But to welcome that many people across multiple states is complicated.

 Pastor Tim Keller explains this well, saying:

One of the most common reasons for pastoral leadership mistakes is blindness to the significance of church size. Size has an enormous impact on how a church functions. There is a “size culture” that profoundly affects how decisions are made, how relationships flow, how effectiveness is evaluated, and what ministers, staff, and lay leaders do.

We tend to think of the chief differences between churches mainly in denominational or theological terms, but that underestimates the impact of size on how a church operates. The difference between how churches of 100 and 1,000 function may be much greater than the difference between a Presbyterian and a Baptist church of the same size. The staff person who goes from a church of 400 to a church of 2,000 is in many ways making a far greater change than if he or she moved from one denomination to another. A large church is not simply a bigger version of a small church. The difference in communication, community formation, and decision-making processes are so great that the leadership skills required in each are of almost completely different orders.

Every church has a culture that goes with its size and which must be accepted. Most people tend to prefer a certain size culture, and unfortunately, many give their favorite size culture a moral status and treat other size categories as spiritually and morally inferior. They may insist that the only biblical way to do church is to practice a certain size culture despite the fact that the congregation they attend is much too big or too small to fit that culture.

At Mars Hill, this means we have had to make changes as we have grown. For example, for the first year or two of the church, we had one formal elder, Pastor Mark. Then, a few other elders were added. By 2007, the church was approaching 6,000 people and meeting in multiple locations but still had the same governance structure that required more than 20 elders to vote in 100% agreement on everything. [this is asserted but if you read the old by-laws you discover this assertion isn't true]It was impossible for the elders, many of them unpaid volunteers with more than full-time jobs, to keep up with everything that was going on across the various Mars Hill churches. So, the elders voted for a new governance structure at that time which has allowed us to now become one church, meeting in 14 locations across four states, caring for upwards of 14,000 people each weekend.[What happened to "The root of our problem is that our ecclesiological model was established for the governance of a single church."? That was the rational for voting in the by-laws of 2007 at the time]

In the fall of 2011, we undertook yet another restructuring as we planned for more churches in more states to serve more people. As part of the restructuring, we researched the governance structure of other large churches across the United States. We sought counsel from outside attorneys with practices devoted to providing legal services to large churches. With this background and research in mind, Mars Hill’s in-house legal counsel, who specialize in corporate law and came to Mars Hill as a partner in a national law firm, together with our Executive Elder Team, proposed a revised organizational structure for the church that would allow us to plan for, rather than react to, the rapid growth we have experienced by God’s grace.

What does the organizational structure of Mars Hill Church look like?

Mars Hill Church is an elder-led church. Therefore, the leadership and governance of Mars Hill is established within the office of elder.

What is the Full Council of Elders?

The Full Council of Elders comprises all the elders at Mars Hill Church. Currently there are more than 50 elders, and another 50 men are being trained and examined for this role. Because of the size of our church, leadership within the church has to be local. The primarly role of the elders is to provide leadership within the local church in which they serve with the lead pastor for each local church, serving as a “first amoung equals” among his local elder team. In addition, the Full Council of Elders elects the Board of Elders and Executive Elder Team based on slate of nominees presented by the Board and votes on any amendments to the Mars Hill Church doctrinal statement. Finally, the elders serve as the civil members of Mars Hill Church for purposes of the Washington nonprofit corporation act.

What is the Board of Elders?

Mars Hill Church is a Washington nonprofit corporation, and as such is required to be governed for civil law purposes by a board of directors. The Board of Elders fills this role and performs other functions within church government. The principal function of the Board of Elders is to assist and advise the church on those matters concerning executive compensation, financial audits, and formation and oversight of the annual budget, as well as any other duties required under the Washington nonprofit corporation act.

In addition, the Board of Elders has the following powers:
(i) alter, amend, or repeal and adopt new articles of incorporation or bylaws;
(ii) oversee an evaluation of the performance of the Executive Elder Team and approve the annual compensation for each member of the Executive Elder Team;
(iii) appoint, retain, compensate, evaluate and terminate the church’s independent auditors;
(iv) establish the annual budget for the church;
(v) alter, amend, or repeal and adopt a new conflict of interest policy for the church;
(vi) indemnify an officer (or former officer), or make any other indemnification other than as authorized in the articles of incorporation and bylaws in accordance with Washington State law;
(vii) adopt a plan of merger or adopt a plan of consolidation with another corporation;
(viii) authorize the sale, lease, or exchange of all or substantially all of the property and assets of the church not in the ordinary course of business;
(viii) authorize the voluntary dissolution of the church or revoke proceedings therefor;
(ix) adopt a plan for the distribution of the assets of the church; or
(x) make a material tax election under the Internal Revenue Code affecting the church.

How is the Board of Elders comprised?

The Board of Elders consists of seven elders: three employee elders who form the Executive Elder Team, and four nonpaid elders. A “nonpaid elder” is an elder
(i) who is not an employee of Mars Hill Church;
(ii) who does not have any family or business relationship with any member of the Executive Elder Team; and
(iii) who does not have any material business relationship with the church.

The Board of Elders currently consists of: Jamie Munson, who serves as chairman of the Board, Michael Van Skaik, Will Little, Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas, and Sutton Turner. There is one vacancy on the Board of Elders which will be filled in the coming weeks.
How are the Board of Elders members selected?

Members to the Board of Elders are elected for one-year terms. Each year, the Board of Elders nomininates a slate of seven elders to serve on the Board of Elders for the upcoming year. This slate is then voted upon by the Full Council of Elders. If the slate is not approved by the Full Council of Elders, the Board of Elders nominates a new slate until approved by the Full Council of Elders.
What is the Executive Elder Team?

The Executive Elder Team is a first-among-equals committee within the Board of Elders and serves as the executive leadership and management of Mars Hill Church. In so doing, the Executive Elder Team oversees and manages the day-to-day affairs of the church and ensures execution of the church’s vision, mission, and strategic objectives. The Executive Elder Team currently consists of three elders: Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas, and Sutton Turner. The Executive Elder Team is elected on an annual basis by the Full Council of Elders, as part of their election of the Board of Elders.
What is the Senior Ministry Council?

The Senior Ministry Council is a standing committee established by the Executive Elder Team consisting of the members of the Executive Elder Team and other key ministry leaders designated by the Executive Elder Team to serve on the Council. This council is the primary discerner and guardian, after Jesus, of the organization and overall mission of Mars Hill Church. In this role, the council recommends to the Executive Elder Team programming based on its appropriateness and effectiveness in furthering the overall mission of the church.
What is the Leadership Council?

The Leadership Council is a standing committee established by the Executive Elder Team that consists of key ministry leaders and the lead pastor of each local Mars Hill church. The Council functions to (i) facilitate communication by the Executive Elder Team of the church’s vision, mission and strategic objectives, as well as changes in church programming; (ii) facilitate communication by and among executive elders, senior ministry leaders, and lead pastors; and (iii) advise the Executive Elder Team on the licensure of individuals to perform sacerdotal functions, appointment of lead pastors to local churches, and the appointment and removal elders.
What is the Compensation Committee?

The Compensation Committee determines the total compensation for each member of the Executive Elder Team and discharges any other responsibilities delegated to it by the Board of Elders regarding staff compensation and benefit plans at Mars Hill Church. In determining the total compensation for each member of the Executive Elder Team, this committee hires an independent compensation consultant to prepare and deliver a report detailing compensation levels and benefits for similarly qualified individuals in comparable positions at similar organizations.

The Compensation Committee consists of at least three members of the Board of Elders chosen from among the nonpaid elders serving on the board. The members of the committee are appointed by the Board of Elders. Currently, the following elders serve on the Compensation Committee: Michael Van Skaik (Chairman), Will Little, and Jamie Munson.

What is the Audit Committee?

The Audit Committee advises the Board of Elders and oversee all material aspects of the organization’s financial reporting, internal control, and audit functions. The committee’s role includes a particular focus on the qualitative aspects of financial reporting and organization processes for the management of risk and compliance with significant and applicable tax, legal, ethical and regulatory requirements. The role of this committee also includes coordination and strong, positive working relationships with management, external auditors and other committee advisors. In carrying out these fucntions, the Audit Committee is responsible for the following areas:

Financial Reporting
•Review and assess the financial statements before they are released to the public or filed with funders or regulators.
•Review and assess the key financial statement issues and risks, their impact or potential effect on reporting financial information, the processes used by management to address such matters, related auditors’ views, and the basis for audit conclusions.
•Advise financial management and the external auditors that they are expected to provide a timely analysis of significant current financial reporting issues and practices.
•Review the management letter and review management’s response to the management letter.
 Risks and Controls
•Review and assess Mars Hill Church’s operating and financial risk management process, including the adequacy of the overall control environment and controls in selected areas representing significant risk.
•Review and assess the organization’s system of internal controls for detecting accounting and financial reporting errors, including computerized information system controls and security, fraud and defalcations, legal and tax code violations.
•In that regard, review the related findings and recommendations of the external and internal auditors, together with management’s responses. Review the results of the annual audits of directors’ and officers’ expense accounts and management perquisites prepared by the external or internal auditors.

 External Auditors
•Recommend the selection of the external auditors for approval by the Board of Elders.
•Review the performance of the external auditors.
•Obtain a formal written statement from the external auditors as to their independence. Discuss with the auditors any relationships or non-audit services that may affect their objectivity or independence.
•Consider, in consultation with the external auditors, their audit scopes, fees and plans to ensure completeness of coverage, reduction of redundant efforts, and the effective use of audit resource.
•Review and approve requests for any consulting services to be performed by the external auditors, and be advised of any other study undertaken at the request of management that is beyond the scope of the audit engagement letter.
•Review with management and the external auditors the results of the annual audits and related comments in consultation with other committees as deemed appropriate, including any difficulties or disputes with management, any significant changes in the audit plans, the rationale behind adoptions and changes in accounting principles, and accounting estimates requiring significant judgments.
•Conduct an annual self-evaluation of the committee and its performance, which includes an evaluation of the adequacy of this Charter, and recommend changes, if any, to the Board of Elders for its approval.
•Oversee administration of the church’s conflict of interest policy, including the review and approval of significant conflicts of interest and related party transactions.

The members of the Audit Committee are appointed by the board and must include at least one nonpaid elder. Adequate financial expertise is required to be represented on the committee. Currently, the following elders serve on the Finance Committee: Will Little (chairman), Chad Toulouse, and Bubba Jennings.

What is the Finance Committee and what do they do?

The purpose of the Finance Committee is to advise the Board of Elders in the areas of financial planning and budgeting. This committee’s primary responsibility is to review and provide advice regarding Mars Hill Church’s annual budget and recommend the church’s annual budget for approval by the board. The members of the committee are appointed by the board and must include at least one nonpaid elder. Currently, the following elders serve on the Finance Committee: Jamie Munson (chairman), Brad House [out of date, of course], and Justin Holcomb.

What other expertise does Mars Hill have when it comes to finance?

In addition to the Finance Committee and Audit Committee, Mars Hill is blessed to have a number of financal and accounting experts on staff. The two most visiable within the church are Pastor Sutton Turner, who has MBAs from both Southern Methodist and Harvard Universities, and Kerry Dodd, who spent nine years in the audit group of Deloitte & Touche LLP. In addition, Kerry has compiled a fantactic staff of finance and accounting experts to ensure that Mars Hill stewards the resources God entrusts to us in a way that best honors him.

Who are the officers of Mars Hill Church?

For state law purposes, Mars Hill has a president, Mark Driscoll; a vice president, Dave Bruskas; and a secretary/treasurer, Sutton Turner. Mars Hill also has a chief financial officer, Kerry Dodd; and a chief legal officer, Chris Pledger. [whether Pledger was actually licensed to practice law in Washington state is not something Wenatchee can immediately recall, Pledger transitioned out the same weekend the eviction at Orange County got announced, it seems]

What accountability structure is in place for Pastor Mark?

Given that Pastor Mark serves as the most visible representative of Mars Hill Church, we have put in place an accountability structure that includes both internal accountability and external accountability. Internally, Pastor Mark is held accountable to every elder at Mars Hill Church, through the Executive Elder Team, the Full Council of Elders as well as the Board of Elders. He also has external accountability among church leaders outside of Mars Hill Church.

In the event that a formal charge and/or accusation is made against Pastor Mark that, if investigated and found to be true, would disqualify him from his position as an elder in Mars Hill Church, a group of five men consisting of both elders within Mars Hill Church and Christian leaders outside of Mars Hill Church, will investigate the charge or accusation and determine if it is true. This group currently consists of Jamie Munson, Dave Bruskas, James MacDonald, Darrin Patrick, and Larry Osborne. If the charge or accusation is found to be true, this group can rebuke Pastor Mark or, if warranted, remove him as an elder at Mars Hill Church. If Pastor Mark is removed as an elder, he automatically ceases to serve on the Board of Elders, on the Executive Elder Team, and as president of Mars Hill Church.
That's a lot of content to peruse at one's leisure. Whether or not the team of Munson, Bruskas, MacDonald, Patrick and Osborne would continue to be the team that would assess accusations is impossible to establish at this point.  However, the composition of the team bears at least some cursory discussion.  Munson is Mars Hill 1.0.   Munson presented accusations against Petry and Meyer in 2007 over their disagreement with the 2007 by-laws Munson drafted.  There's a new update at The Elephant's Debt on MacDonald for those who keep track of that.  Darrin Patrick's church was where Scott Thomas landed for a time after Joyful Exiles went up.  Dave Bruskas is an executive elder at Mars Hill and his church plant with Acts 29 got absorbed into Mars HIll a while back. Larry Osborne was one of the men with whom Driscoll met before the 2007 re-org began to take shape (top of page 4 here).  Munson is currently co-president of Storyville coffee, which was founded by one Jon Phelps.  A Jon Phelps is co-credited with "reverse-engineering your life in a 2005 document). Reverse-engineering your life also featured in a 2006 mens' retreat at Mars Hill. Phelps is also credited by Driscoll with the "shoot your dogs" approach to leadership. 

But if you go to the governance page now the majority of the above-quoted text would be hard to find.