Former Mars Hill Church Pastors Announce the Formation of Redemption Church in Seattle

Ryan Kearns and Drew Hensley, two of the nine pastors who called on Mark Driscoll to enter a elder supervised restoration plan, are starting a new church in Seattle. Earlier today, Kearned tweeted an announcement of the formation of Redemption Church.

A New Church Family Forming In North Seattle
Our hope for Redemption Church is that we would be a tangible place where people see the grace of God lived out in the life of his people. That as we make disciples and love each other, our city would be attracted to the transforming story of God’s redemption that is offered in the good news of the Gospel. We pray deeply that we are a safe place for everyone, the skeptic, the tired, the wounded, the religious, and the confused. That we would trust Jesus to do his work and thank him for letting us watch him show off.

Kearns and Hensley took a risk by voicing their concerns about Mars Hill leadership and eventually left the church in the fallout. Hensley’s University District campus was closed recently and Kearns was laid off in the most recent wave of downsizing.
In this new endeavor, I hope they get time to process their experiences of the past few years. I also wish the best for them and this effort.

Nine Mars Hill Church Elders Took a Bold Stand and Now Eight Are Gone

Add four more to the growing fraternity of ex-pastors after yesterday’s layoffs at Mars Hill Church.
According to reliable sources, Drew Hensley (University District), Ryan Welsh (Pastor of Theology and Leadership), Ryan Kearns (Director of Community Groups), and Cliff Ellis (Director of Biblical Living/Redemption Groups) were all let go yesterday.
Three of these pastors were directors, meaning they were responsible for ministries across Mars Hill Church and not just at one campus. All four signed the infamous letter that called for Mark Driscoll to step down and enter an elder directed restoration process. These pastors join Dustin Kensrue, Adams Ramsey, Gary Shavey (all three resigned their paid positions) and Mark Dunford (relieved of his volunteer elder status) in the ranks of ex-elders who signed the letter. James Rose, who is a volunteer at Ballard, appears to remain in place.
It is noteworthy that Mars Hill laid off key ministry leaders. The ministry directors were responsible for generating and leading much of the ministry programs (e.g., community groups, student ministry, biblical counseling, etc.) across all of the Mars Hill locations. At the same time, the church has spared the executive pastors who are largely seen as administrators of the franchise locations.  It also seems to be likely that laying off Kearns, Ellis, Hensley and Welsh related to their signatures on the letter calling on Driscoll to step down. Case in point: Matthias Haeuser’s Downtown Seattle campus was closed but he will have opportunity for a role at Ballard’s campus. Drew Hensley’s (a letter signer) University District location was shut down and he will be laid off.
One source (a current elder) tells me that executive elders’ salaries are not on the table for discussion. However, the 30-40 (unconfirmed reports tell me the number was higher) people laid off may not get severance pay and don’t have unemployment. The lack of comment from the executive elders about how they personally are going to help is louder than any amended statements could be.
The signers and their status:

Dustin Kensrue – Director of Worship / Worship Pastor at Mars Hill Bellevue (RESIGNED)

Drew Hensley – Lead Pastor at Mars Hill U-District Pastor (LAID OFF)

Mark Dunford – Pastor at Mars Hill Portland (ELDERSHIP REMOVED)

Ryan Kearns – Director of Community Groups/Pastor at Mars Hill Bellevue (LAID OFF)

Ryan Welsh – Pastor of Theology and Discipleship (LAID OFF)

Adam Ramsey – Director of Student Ministry / Pastor at Mars Hill Bellevue (RESIGNED)

Cliff Ellis – Director of Biblical Living / Pastor at Mars Hill West Seattle (LAID OFF)

Gary Shavey – Pastor of Biblical Living at Mars Hill Bellevue (RESIGNED)

James Rose – Pastor at Mars Hill Ballard (REMAINS IN SAME POSITION)

In this post, I provided twitter contact information for these pastors, I encourage Mars Hill stakeholders to contact them for their perspectives.

Additional notes: Cliff Ellis may remain as an unpaid volunteer elder for now. Drew Hensley is still active because he will stay until U-District closes down in October.


Mars Hill University District Pastor Drew Hensley Clarifies Position

Drew Hensley is one of the nine current pastors at Mars Hill Church that signed the letter calling for Mark Driscoll to step down and enter an elder directed restoration program. He also signed the letter yesterday from lead pastors and Board of Elders.  To clarify his position, he posted a note to the members of the University District group on Mars Hill Church’s City website. I want to note that I did not obtain this note from Rev. Hensley.

From Pastor Drew Hensley:
Mars Hill U-District Family,
I want you to know how much I love you and count it a great privilege to be your pastor. My desire has always been to point you toward Jesus and help you grow in him, better understand his love and grace, and share that with the community around you.
I never want you to feel confused, especially by any of my actions as your pastor. Last week a letter from myself and 8 other elders was sent to the full council of elders. That letter somehow leaked out to the media this week and curiously didn’t include the confidentiality statement that was originally at the top. Yesterday a letter came out to all of Mars Hill Church from the lead pastors. I signed that letter as well because the main purpose and intent of that letter was to explain that the original letter wasn’t intended to go public, which it wasn’t. Obviously it did, but that wasn’t the original intent. With that being said, that you for all of the encouragement that many of you have show over the last few days. Tears have not stopped shedding at the love you’ve always shown me and continue to show.
For clarity sake, I absolutely stand behind what I helped write in the original letter from the 9 elders. I believe it’s very important that your pastor stand behind what he says.
I love you all and am praying for you daily. I have been called to care for your souls and as long as Jesus allows me to do that I want to do so above reproach and out of a genuine love for the sheep and Jesus church.
Only by His Grace, Pastor Drew

I want to add that there was no confidentiality statement on the materials I obtained.