Modern Post (Dustin Kensrue) – Child of Glory

Former Mars Hill Church worship director and elder Dustin Kensrue has released a extended play collection of songs with a Christmas them. Titled “Lowborn King,” Kensrue released the work under the name, “Modern Post.” Here is a selection from the EP, Child of Glory:
Kensure has this to say about the collection of songs:
ModernPostEPCover“I love Christmas songs and there’s a few classics on this EP that I haven’t tackled before, as well as a new arrangement of my song “This Is War” with an added bridge that some friends and I wrote a couple years back. There’s also my new arrangement of a great song called “Child of Glory” by my friend Brian Eichelberger, who is also the producer of this EP and The Water & The Blood. Lastly I wrote a new arrangement of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, a very old Christmas hymn that we lifted a bit out of it’s overly somber vibe and added a new chorus. In the end, I think that what really defined the overall direction for this project was that rather than trying to shoot for some sort of classic Christmas vibe, we set out to let the lyrical content really drive the arrangements and moods of each song and I’m really pleased with the result. For more info on why I’m releasing this under “The Modern Post” name, check out this post at”
Kensrue was one of the nine pastors who called on Mark Driscoll to enter a restoration plan. Their call came before the Board of Elders investigation concluded the same thing. Eventually Driscoll resigned rather than face accountability to his elders.
I will listen to some of these songs year round, especially Child of Glory and This is War. Long time fans of Thrice and Kensrue’s work will know his work instantly but let me hasten to add that there is something fresh about the arrangements as well.

GoFundMe Account Set Up For Resigning Mars Hill Pastors

A GofundMe account has been set up for Adam Ramsey, Gary Shavey and Dustin Kensrue.  These three were part of the nine Mars Hill Church pastors who called on Mark Driscoll to submit to an elder directed restoration process.  A group of supporters have now set up a fund to help them with the transition after resigning this week.
The website gives more explanation for the effort:

To date one of the volunteer elders was dismissed from his role at the church. The remaining elders have been given a choice on how to proceed according to the these guidelines: When asked if the letter would be discussed the answer was ‘no’. If the elders wanted to stay they would have to champion change within current leadership structure by voicing concerns/issues through proper chain of command, which also means they are not able to talk with elders from other churches or skip levels of command. This is essentially a siloed format in order to keep control. If the elders would not abide by the current chain of command then they were asked to resign. The elders holding to the convictions in which they put in the August 22nd letter that the leadership structure was dysfunctional and not walking in the light could not in good conscience remain in Mars Hill Church. Three men, so far, have determined that they cannot abide by this request and have elected to resign their jobs, elderships, and memberships at Mars Hill. These men are Adam Ramsey (former student ministries pastor), Dustin Kensrue (former Bellevue Worship Pastor) and Gary Shavey (former Bellevue Biblical Living pastor). We believe that these are only the first and that more will follow—likely more than even the remaining elders from the original nine who signed the letter.

As I post this, the site has raised over $10k. Not bad for an hour.

Washington Law and Dustin Kensrue to Mars Hill Church: Release the Bylaws

Former Mars Hill Church Director of Worship Dustin Kensrue resigned on Monday. His letter of resignation was posted yesterday. In it, Kensrue offered several suggestions to current members. I want to focus on his suggestion about church bylaws: Kensrue wrote:

What Else Can You Do?
• Ask questions and share your concerns with your pastors, especially your lead pastor.
 Ask to see the bylaws and study them yourself. If any church will not share it’s bylaws, it’s probably not safe to trust that church. MH has gone so far as to deny the current bylaws to elder candidates (myself included) on the explicit order of Sutton Turner, and when I wanted to see them as an elder, I had to look online where they had been “leaked.” (emphasis added)

This blog is one such place where one can review the Mars Hill bylaws (click the link).
Consistent with Kensrue’s report, I have been told by current and former members that requests to see the bylaws have been denied by Mars Hill pastors. However, keeping people (see below, Mars Hill elders) away from the bylaws may violate Washington law. According to the Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act, members must have access to organization bylaws:

Required documents in the form of a record — Inspection — Copying.
Each corporation shall keep at its registered office, its principal office in this state, or at its secretary’s office if in this state, the following documents in the form of a record:
(1) Current articles and bylaws;
(2) A list of members, including names, addresses, and classes of membership, if any;
(3) Correct and adequate statements of accounts and finances;
(4) A list of officers’ and directors’ names and addresses;
(5) Minutes of the proceedings of the members, if any, the board, and any minutes which may be maintained by committees of the board.
The corporate records shall be open at any reasonable time to inspection by any member of more than three months standing or a representative of more than five percent of the membership.
Cost of inspecting or copying shall be borne by such member except for costs for copies of articles or bylaws. Any such member must have a purpose for inspection reasonably related to membership interests. Use or sale of members’ lists by such member if obtained by inspection is prohibited.
The superior court of the corporation’s or such member’s residence may order inspection and may appoint independent inspectors. Such member shall pay inspection costs unless the court orders otherwise.
[2004 c 265 § 14; 1986 c 240 § 24; 1967 c 235 § 28.] (emphasis added)

Most churches have their bylaws readily available for review. Mars Hill Church leaders keep them under cover. This should be a huge red flag.
About a week ago, I asked Dan Busby, the president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, if member organizations were allowed to keep bylaws from members but he did not reply. Guidance for churches on the ECFA website appears to require disclosure of bylaws:

Standard 5 – Transparency – Every member shall provide a copy of its current financial statements upon written request and shall provide other disclosures as the law may require. The financial statements required to comply with Standard 3 must be disclosed under this Standard. (emphasis added)

Washington law requires bylaws be available for review. Unless there are special exemptions for churches, it appears that Mars Hill Church is at odds with state law and out of compliance with ECFA guidelines. I should also point out that the seven member self-perpetuating Board of Advisors and Accountability can change the bylaws without approval of the Full Council of Elders or the congregation.
Additional Information: In re-reading the post, there is a component of the story that I should have included the first time around. While it does not change the general thrust of the post, I need to add some information to this call to release the bylaws.
It seems apparent that the authors of the Mars Hill Church bylaws were familiar with WA state law. In Article 4, the bylaws distinguish between “spiritual” members and members for the purpose of state law.
Mars Hill Church calls people who take the membership covenant “members” but not “members for state law purposes.” Even though the people who agree to the membership covenant are supposed to tithe, give money beyond their tithes, volunteer, support the pastors, etc., they are not “members for state laws purposes.” In other words, they are not entitled to get bylaws and other information that the actual members are supposed to get. In this case, the bylaws labels elder as being “members for state law purposes.” I wonder how many “members” not “for state law purposes” know that they aren’t really legal members of the church? Give time, talents and tithes, support the pastors but members can’t vote or even have access to the rules which govern the body to which they pledge a covenant.
As noted in Kensrue’s resignation letter, the leadership of Mars Hill Church has kept the bylaws even from the legal members which appears to be a violation of state law and ECFA guidance. It seems to me that congregation members could challenge the viability of their membership covenant since they really aren’t joining an organization where they have any participation in governance.
Kensrue also discussed how the bylaws inform the examination of charges against Mark Driscoll. In a related post, later today, I will look at what Kensrue has to say about that in comparison with the bylaws.

Mars Hill Church Director of Worship Dustin Kensrue Resigns

One of the nine elders who called on Mark Driscoll to enter an elder directed restoration process has resigned from Mars Hill Church. Director of Worship Dustin Kensrue resigned on Monday and issued a statement today. Reportedly, two other signers of the letter addressed to their peers at Mars Hill have also resigned. Sources in a position to know tell me that Gary Shavey and Adam Ramsey have also resigned. With these resignations, four of the original nine have now either resigned or been relieved of their position.
Kensrue was the leader of the band Thrice and also led worship at Mars Hill Orange County until he moved to Seattle in 2012 to take on the job of leading Mars Hill Music. Kensrue’s artist profile remains up on the Mars Hill website but his pastor profile has been removed (see it via Google cache).
The statement is at the link and provides an explanation for why Kensrue is resigning now. Rather than take parts of it here or reproduce the whole thing, I recommend that you click through and read it for yourself.

UPDATE: After having read the letter, I want to punctuate it with several segments. Kensrue essentially validates the concerns I have expressed repeatedly as have others. The Mars Hill Church Full Council of Elders has almost no authority and cannot bring accountability to the situation. Kensrue wrote:

So, what’s the answer to the question “what can your elders do?” Simply put, sadly not much. This is why we’ve looked pained when you’ve have asked us what we are going to do about all of this. There is nothing we’ve been able to do except bring the issue to our lead pastor. He in turn can bring it to his lead pastor coach. The coach in turn can bring it to the EE. As far as I’ve seen, if it ever reaches this point the concern is generally ignored and floats away into the ether. At other times recently, we have been told that certain subjects (e.g. the church’s
polity in general) were off the table completely.
This should concern you. Your pastors, who are on the ground with you, who know you, who care for you, who pray with you, and in whom you trust – these men have essentially no voice and no vote in what happens with your church as a whole, and the leadership is actively trying to limit the voice that they do have. If your pastors had a voice and a vote, do not think that the last year would have looked a bit different? Do you not think they would have done something? While the problem with the lack of transparency is huge, the problems with our broken view of eldership and our broken bylaws are more foundational problems.

The clear message from Kensrue is that nothing has changed and the process is rigged. I didn’t say it, he did.