[UPDATE: Within minutes of this post from Musings – coincidently, Mars Hill Church posted their bylaws on their website. This is a change – hopefully for the positive (link).]
The elders of Mars Hill Church cannot see their own bylaws, according to the latest departing elder, Pastor Dustin Kensrue (link). As it now turns out, the bylaws of a church that handles millions of dollars can be simply rewritten by the three executive elders at will – without church members or elders even knowing about it.
How can anyone be held accountable if they can simply rewrite the bylaws at will?
This is beyond a joke.
Here is how it happened.
- The entire membership was betrayed in 2007 with a rogue change in the bylaws. The church that we joined, because it had a plurality of elders (i.e.: a safe church) and had given millions of dollars to and countless hours of effort toward, changed its bylaws in a coercive and despicable way.
- The new bylaws became repeatedly changed despite church members being required to agree with them. As the bylaws changed, members were not notified and the bylaws become increasingly hard to find.
- The current bylaws are now withheld from the elders of the church. So who is responsible, and who reports to whom? How is the church governed?
Mars Hill Church has members who are expected to agree with the bylaws, but the bylaws have become as secretive as the lucrative salaries being paid to the three Executive Elders. The last bylaws we did see (link) show that members are “members” in name only. Under the terms of the 2012 bylaws, the only “actual” legal members of the church were the elders. Church members were defined as “members only in a spiritual and theological sense,” but not actually members in a civil sense.
In classic Orwellian doublespeak, members are not actually members, except for the purpose of giving their dollars and time to the actual members (the elders) to spend as they choose.
It would appear that there are now new bylaws where the elders at Mars Hill Church are not actually elders from any Reformed point of view. They have no say in how the church is run and have no right to see the bylaws or to change them.
Because the bylaws are hidden from almost everyone now, this raises serious questions. Questions like the following:
– Who actually owns the property that the church keeps buying with the members’ (non) donations?
– How does the money get spent? What happened to the money that was raised for the Jesus Festival?
– While employees are getting laid off, are the Executive Elders still getting their full salaries?
– What are the cash reserves of the church?
– Who decides to buy new property?
– Who owns the church properties if the church locks its doors?
None of these questions are likely to be answered under the present bylaws, because the Executive Elders are the only actual members of the church. Non-members, who think they are members, and non-elders who think they are elders, have no right to information like this.
And the ECFA continues to endorse the financial accountability of Mars Hill Church.
Yup!! That is what I was thinking too.