An article in the Everett Daily Herald published earlier today reveals that Mars Hill Everett plans to become an independent church. Lead pastor Ryan Williams told the Herald that the elders decided to make a go of it without a congregational vote. Curiously, Williams said the people will “vote with their feet.” He had better hope that their feet want to stay in the church.
I posted this morning about the situation of Phil Poirier who was community groups pastor at Mars Hill Everett until he declined to signed the Unity of Mission agreement which is in essence a covenant not to attend a church within a 10 mile radius of a Mars Hill Church. As I pointed out in a post today, since there are several Mars Hill churches in the vicinity, the noncompete zone includes about 100 miles of Western Washington.
I have obtained a letter from Ryan Williams, Lead Pastor at Mars Hill Everett, to leaders at the church. The letter describes the departure of Phil Poirier and admonishes the leaders to “check your hearts.”
From Pastor Ryan Williams:
I want to inform you of a leadership transition in the CG Director role here at Mars Hill Church Everett.
Phil Poirier will be transitioning from the CG Director role here at Mars Hill Everett and will be replaced by Pastor Jeff Gwin.
Phil has also transitioned from the elder team. The last few months have been very difficult across the church and especially in community group ministry. Due to Phil’s personal convictions he felt that he could no longer be fully unified with the elder team. There was no sin on Phil’s behalf that have caused his disqualification in any way. As an elder there is a level of unity and trust that must be shared and Phil was no longer able to commit to that level of trust and unity.
We will have our scheduled CG leader sync next Sunday, June 1st following the 12:30pm service. Please make this a priority.
Pastor Jeff and I will be leading the sync and we will be asking each of you to check your hearts and commitment to the people you currently lead. If any of you do not have a commitment to the mission of Mars Hill Church, submission to leadership, a love for your groups and cannot lead with a clear conscience I ask that you would reach out to me before the sync and step away from CG leadership.
I love you all very much and am deeply grieved by the transitions that have occurred. In these times there is the temptation to only focus inwardly and to become bitter over situations you do not have all the information on. I challenge you to lift you eyes, and to focus on the people the Lord has given you to care for, and to focus on Jesus’ mission in your neighborhood. We have baptized over 60 people in less than 4 months here at Mars Hill Everett, people are meeting Jesus almost weekly and lives are being transformed. This is not the time to be so focused on ourselves that we forget the needs of our people.
You are loved and cared for by your elders,
On the mission of the King
It appears that Mars Hill is preparing to prune more people. This letter serves as an illustration of the culture of fear described by so many Mars Hill ex-staffers and members. Essentially the message is get with the program or get out. Those who are touting change at Mars Hill are working against the facts on the ground.