Mars Hill Ballard Moves Toward Independence Amid Unanswered Questions

Last night, a trusted source attended an organizational meeting at Mars Hill Ballard. Several changes were announced with information provided about the move toward becoming an independent church.

According to the source:

Scott Harris is stepping down as lead pastor. It was announced that he plans to find employment and stay on at the church as a lay elder. The preaching pastor will be Matthias Haeusel. Adam Christiansen (paid) and Kirby Langley (lay) will remain as elders. Cam Huxford will remain as worship pastor. Anthony Ianniciello was described as “very tired” and will thus step down. He will continue as a church member and lead a community group. Joe Stengele feels called聽elsewhere.

The elders gave out paper to use to suggest church names. However, Harris said that the elders will choose the name. As the papers were distributed, the elders promoted “Seven Hills” Church. Seven was described as a “contextualization” specific to Seattle with Hills paying deliberate homage to the old Mars Hill name.

The church will probably not remain in the current location. The building hasn’t sold and the lease-back provision from the listing has been removed. They expect to take between 3 months to a year to find a suitable location.聽It was disclosed that the Ballard and Sammamish buildings are being liquidated to cover Mars Hill’s debts. The seed money then will be given to the different churches according to the location’s former budget and their attendance throughout this last year. Some locations will get cash, and others will get an improved equity position in their building.

The leaders promised that the new church will be “elder led, congregationally informed.”

Questions were asked about severance pay for executives and the Mark Driscoll investigation. The elders聽claimed they didn’t know.

I find that hard to believe, but if true, it lends some credibility to a comment made by MHInsida on another post that seed money from sale of properties and any remaining tithes and offerings is conditioned on silence and lack of disclosure. Perhaps, the pastors don’t want to know. However, it is stunning to me that the elders could go before a group of people, ask for their support, and not have answers to those questions.

Another implication of the possibility that the elders don’t know what’s happening in their own church is that the Board of Advisors and Accountability is still in charge and desires to run out the clock on the questions that have arisen about the Global Fund, severance pay, the credibility of BoAA statements about Acts 29 and Paul Tripp, and the Driscoll investigation.