The Phil Smidt Fund Doubles the Goal: Will the Non-Disclosure Agreement Threat Lose Power at Mars Hill Church? UPDATED

UPDATE (6/3): In a surprising move, Mars Hill Ballard pastor Scott Harris alerted Phil Smidt that the church leaders had reversed themselves and will provide a severance for Smidt. No word about what Smidt will do with the $50k raised on his behalf.
As I write this, supporters of fired Mars Hill pastor Phil Smidt have raised nearly twice as much money as the established goal, almost $40k, in less than two days.  Many donors were former Mars Hill leaders and members, a kind of Mars Hill church in exile. Initially, Mars Hill Ballard lead pastor Scott Harris, who dismissed Smidt, said the church was going to support the Smidts financially. As it turns out, Harris was inadvertently correct. A church is supporting the Smidts, but it is not the Mars Hill Church that Harris works for.
For several years, the threat of having no severance income or health insurance was used by Mars Hill executive elders to coerce departing elders and other staff into an agreement not to raise concerns about Mars Hill in public. Previously, I posted one version of the non-disclosure agreement. In it, all rights and grievances are signed away in order to maintain health insurance coverage and a source of income for a individually determined period of time. The employee also has to agree not to say anything negative about Mars Hill. Reportedly, Phil Smidt declined to sign this agreement and apparently was denied severance pay as a result.
The outpouring of support for Smidt may change business as usual for departing Mars Hill employees.
Now it is plausible that Mars Hill employees who are in the same position as Smidt may follow his example and decline to sign the NDA. Since they can reasonably predict that there will be a community of support for them, they may decide instead to speak out. Time will tell.
In the mean time, the Smidts can breathe a little easier and others who might soon be in his position can rethink their options.
Read all posts on Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll here.