Until this past weekend, Mike Wilkerson was the Biblical Living Pastor (Pastoral Care) at Mars Hill. Widely respected, Wilkerson helped develop the Redemption group concept (website for Redemption Group Network) which is the Mars Hill effort to provide lay counseling. Here is the announcement:
From Pastor Scott Harris:
Mars Hill Family,
One of our long time friends and pastors, Mike Wilkerson, has decided to step down from eldership at Mars Hill.
Mike has been a part of Mars Hill for many years, and we are grateful for his leadership, particularly in helping us build our biblical counseling and Redemption ministries across all 15 churches. We love Mike and wish him well as he will continue to run The Redemption Group Network which exists to help churches develop their own Redemption Groups ministries.
In the meantime, Pastor Cliff Ellis from Mars Hill Church West Seattle will be assuming Mike’s responsibilities over Biblical Living ministries.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of praying over Mike and for his family at the 7pm service in Ballard. Since he just got back from Latvia and plans to move out of state this coming Saturday, this was the only time we had to do it but are thankful we got the opportunity. Please join me in praying for the Wilkersons as they pursue what God has planned next for them.
What seems unusual about this announcement is that the announcement came only a week before he plans to move. Given his level of leadership at Mars Hill (a ministry director – just under the executive elders) and his popularity at the church, it seems abrupt to announce one week and be gone the next. Given the church’s commitment to biblical counseling (nouthetic counseling), I wonder if Wilkerson’s departure will signal a greater involvement by Board of Advisors and Accountability member Paul Tripp, who is also a leader in the biblical counseling movement.
In any case, ongoing staff turnover must be of concern to MHC leaders. The 20 ex-pastors have been quiet recently but I understand that some discussions about mediation (although no actual mediation) have taken place. However, the only official answer to my inquiries about the matter is silence.