There appears to be a seeming impasse between those who have filed charges against Mark Driscoll and the BOAA who has the responsibility to determine if the charges are credible, and if credible the choice of how to respond.
While we all wait for some sign of progress, I have mused about what kind of leader I would follow.
It is no secret that I hold the 24 men who supported the firings and trials of Pastors Paul Petry and Bent Meyer, and the subsequent shunning of Paul Petry (and his family) responsible for the current mess. These 24 men voted to change the bylaws from the governance model that Driscoll preached and taught, to one that ushered in the current era where Driscoll has no accountabiliy to the elder board of Mars Hill Church.
If I am correct, there are 8 of these men left at Mars Hill Church. Of the 24, as we speak only Mike Wilkerson, Tim Quiring, Dick McKinley, Gary Shavey, Steve Tompkins, Bubba Jennings, A.J Hamilton and Phil Smidt are still at Mars Hill Church. How many are leaving soon remains to be seen. How many are among the 20 that have leveled charges against Driscoll is unknown.
But what interests me is the 16 men who have left. It seems that those who were full time elders at Mars Hill Church disappear and then end up as an elder or pastor elsewhere.
These are men that supported the abusive trial and shunning of Paul Petry.
Their actions were sinful and destructive, and to this day continue to wound and shame. So how is it possible that these men think that they can quietly move on and start or participate in leadership in another church without impunity?
So let me say this, In my opinion, the 24 elders who voted to remove Paul Petry as an elder and who supported his shunning are as disqualified for the office of elder as they now claim Mark Driscoll to be. The men who became elders subsequently but who were aware of the facts yet still supported the shunning of Paul Petry are culpable by their inaction.
So we now have a lot of men who bear the responsibility of the mess we now see who think they can silently exit (with severance pay if they agree to silence) and then just keep on presenting themselves as leaders in some other setting.
These men are not fit to be leaders, yet they march on in various roles of leadership. Often they plant another church or present themselves as experts on leadership. Just Google their names…. they all seem to be in ministry somewhere else.
So, let me tell you what kind of leader I will follow.
The reality is that we are all broken. None of us are above reproach and meet the high standards of en elder. We therefor end up having to follow men who do have sinned, do sin, and will still sin. This does not mean we cannot follow leaders.
It is my opinion that the 24 men who participated in the 2007 trial and shunning, and the subsequent men who supported the actions over the years show themselves to be leaders by openly addressing the sin they participated in.
Several of these men have come to the Petry family in private to repent of a public sin. So some level of healing takes place, but the broader community (the church) is left wondering and in many cases hurting in the dark.
I cannot support such a man taking a place of new leadership in a church plant, or another church, or a para-church ministry as if he had nothing to do with the sin against the Petrys.
I will respect and follow the men that come out into the light, and say in public that they sinned against Paul Petry and Bent Meyer. They need to make public the call to end the shunning of the Petry family, and show public repentance for the public sin they participated in. Failure to do this simply continues the abuse and continues to hurt the hundreds of families that were harmed as a result of the 2007 sins of the elders. It also shows that these men lack the courage that a leader needs in order to lead.
In my opinion, failure to address this publicly shows continued disqualification of leadership. If you cannot address your public sin in public, you have no business slinking off starting new churches or ministries and acting like you are a qualified elder or leader.
Confessing in private is great. But if that is your choice, then please do not step back into leadership elsewhere. You are prolonging the harm and you need to heed Paul’s warning to the church in 2 Cor 2:11. Failure to end the punishment of the shunned brother leads to being outwitted by Satan.