Two More Resignations at Mars Hill Ballard; Another Resignation Announced (UPDATED)

UPDATE (6/8): According to attenders, near the end of the service at Mars Hill Ballard, the firing of Phil Smidt was announced along with the resignations of Aaron Mead, Zach Bolen, and Matt Repucci. Repucci’s resignation had not been previously reported.
Recently Pastor Phil Smidt was fired by Mars Hill Ballard lead pastor Scott Harris. That action set off a wave of support for Smidt from former and current Mars Hill members. Now, in the aftermath of Smidt’s dismissal, two resignations have become public. Ballard non-staff (meaning they were volunteers) elder candidate Tim Klassen and volunteer elder Pastor Aaron Mead have now resigned. My sources tell me that other resignations are coming.
Neither Klassen nor Mead have issued comments. However, another Mars Hill elder speaking on condition of anonymity said, “What is going on at Mars Hill Ballard is wrong. Phil was forced out because the EE [Executive Elders] are not tolerating anymore dissent or questions.” Another elder commented, “I’m really afraid Scott [lead pastor Scott Harris] has become a mini EE [Executive Elder] and instead of trying to work things out with elders who have legitimate concerns, he’s simply going the abusive route and getting rid of them. The people of Ballard deserve better from their pastor who Heb 13:17 calls to ‘care for their souls’.”
These resignation come amid other staff changes at Mars Hill. Within the past year Ballard pastors Nate Burke and Mike Wilkerson resigned. Also at Ballard, volunteer elder Jon Krombein and staff deacon in charge of worship Chad Gardner have resigned. Dalton Roraback was forced out of his position as mentor of community group leaders for questioning the executive elder salaries and other matters. Then, Phil Poirier at Mars Hill Everett declined to sign the non-compete clause in his annual review and was dismissed from his non-staff elder position.

Mars Hill Church Reverses Decision, Provides Severance for Fired Pastor

This just in regarding former Mars Hill Ballard pastor Phil Smidt from Jon Krombein and Josh Moore:

W… O… W… To arrive at total amount of donations of $50K in the span of a few days is incredible. Thank you all for all of your continued generosity.
There is even more grace that we need to tell you all about!
At 6pm tonight Scott Harris, Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Ballard, contacted Phil and notified him that Mars Hill had reversed its position and has elected to give the Smidt family the severance offered previously – but this time without conditions. Phil accepted this offer at 7pm. Please continue to pray for the Smidts as they continue to determine how to steward this outrageous outpouring of God’s grace. Because the Smidts need has been so generously met by everyone, we will be closing this site tonight. If Phil had received an unconditional severance to begin with, there never would have been an opportunity for so many people to reach out and let the Smidt’s know how much they are loved. Thank you for supporting our friends.
In the near future, the Smidts will be posting here to more personally communicate out their gratitude to everyone. If you have any questions in the meantime, please continue to contact Jon or Josh through the methods published below.
Josh & Jon

What an interesting situation. Clearly, many former and current Mars Hill members did not approve of the decision to withhold severance and voted with their donations. However, now over $50k has been raised. It will take some wisdom to decide how to proceed.
More broadly, if this decision represents a change at Mars Hill, then perhaps the executive elders could make right their treatment of other dismissed elders who could use some of this love. There are other elders dismissed by Mars Hill who are in need of help.

The Phil Smidt Fund Doubles the Goal: Will the Non-Disclosure Agreement Threat Lose Power at Mars Hill Church? UPDATED

UPDATE (6/3): In a surprising move, Mars Hill Ballard pastor Scott Harris alerted Phil Smidt that the church leaders had reversed themselves and will provide a severance for Smidt. No word about what Smidt will do with the $50k raised on his behalf.
As I write this, supporters of fired Mars Hill pastor Phil Smidt have raised nearly twice as much money as the established goal, almost $40k, in less than two days.  Many donors were former Mars Hill leaders and members, a kind of Mars Hill church in exile. Initially, Mars Hill Ballard lead pastor Scott Harris, who dismissed Smidt, said the church was going to support the Smidts financially. As it turns out, Harris was inadvertently correct. A church is supporting the Smidts, but it is not the Mars Hill Church that Harris works for.
For several years, the threat of having no severance income or health insurance was used by Mars Hill executive elders to coerce departing elders and other staff into an agreement not to raise concerns about Mars Hill in public. Previously, I posted one version of the non-disclosure agreement. In it, all rights and grievances are signed away in order to maintain health insurance coverage and a source of income for a individually determined period of time. The employee also has to agree not to say anything negative about Mars Hill. Reportedly, Phil Smidt declined to sign this agreement and apparently was denied severance pay as a result.
The outpouring of support for Smidt may change business as usual for departing Mars Hill employees.
Now it is plausible that Mars Hill employees who are in the same position as Smidt may follow his example and decline to sign the NDA. Since they can reasonably predict that there will be a community of support for them, they may decide instead to speak out. Time will tell.
In the mean time, the Smidts can breathe a little easier and others who might soon be in his position can rethink their options.
Read all posts on Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll here.