According to Erik Laursen, executive director of the New Covenant Foundation, two former Mars Hill Churches, Foundation Church (Mars Hill Everett) and Trinity West Seattle (Mars Hill West Seattle), have pledged to continue the support of Ethiopian pastors once funded by Mars Hill Church.
Trinity West Seattle’s pastor David Fairchild told me via email that the legacy churches hope to pick up support for all 40 Ethiopian pastors. He said, “Trinity is initially picking up 10 pastors/evangelists to start with and the other legacy churches will pick up the remaining 30 between them.” Fairchild said the pastors of the legacy churches wanted to ensure currently supported pastors did not experience negative effects from the closing of Mars Hill. He added, “[C]ome next year, we’ll want to see how we might expand our partnerships and work with New Covenant.”
After 2012, Mars Hill Church leaders marketed their support of mission pastors internationally to raise millions of dollars, much of which went to general church growth and support in the U.S. To date, an accounting of how much money was spent on international missions and how much was spent on church support in the U.S. has not been offered by the church. Mars Hill Church continues to be in the process of dissolution.
Understandably, Laursen is glad for the good news. In a statement released to me today, Laursen said:
In the wake of one of the most difficult seasons for anyone connected to Mars Hill, I am so honored and impressed by the integrity of the lead pastors who have committed to the work that was started in Ethiopia. The excitement that they bring to the table about supporting church planters and reaching the Unreached has put gasoline on my fire for missions.
UPDATE: After this was posted, Erik Laursen contacted me to say that Cross & Crown Church (formerly Mars Hill Ballard) has also pledged to support some of the Ethiopian pastors.