Are the Lead Pastors of Mars Hill Campuses Lions or Hyenas?

Lion surrounded by Spotted Hyenas

Being from Africa, I know a little about lions and hyenas.

Hyenas eat what the lions leave behind. The lions feed until they are satisfied, and the hyenas will wait patiently until the lions are done, and then they eat the leftovers.

The current lead pastors of Mars Hill Church campuses are all standing by quietly while waiting for the spoils from the upcoming dissolution of the church. Rumors abound that they have been told that they will not get any spoils if they do not fall into line. That means they must wait patiently and quietly like hyenas and not rock the boat.

The pastors that have spoken to me or others are posturing as being “very busy” tending to “their” flock. They are too busy to talk. They claim to not really know what is going on behind the scenes and act somewhat confused. These are men who are poised to become the leaders of their new “replant” in a few weeks time. They are about to transition from being quiet followers into pastoral leaders. They are currently ineffective leaders who are somehow going to transform into true shepherds that effectively care for their sheep.

Do these men not currently care for the many sheep that have been forced out of their campuses and hurt under their watch?

I personally know members who have left the Everett, West Seattle, Downtown and Bellevue campuses. I have also spoken to some of the pastors. They insist they are caring for “their” sheep. They act as if the widespread problems of abuse and coercion were mainly at the other campuses.

And so they currently demonstrate no regard for the members under their care who have left – many hurting deeply and with unanswered questions.

Why do these men not rise and demand closure for their members? Why are these so-called shepherds not rising up and insisting on full transparency from the remaining leaders of Mars Hill Church? Why are they not insisting that Paul Petry and others who have been unjustly shunned be fully restored and the public shunning order lifted immediately?

Is it because they think that by acting like hyenas for the rest of this month it will allow them to enjoy the spoils of the carcass of the dissolved Mars Hill Church? Do they think that after they have received their portion they can finally roar like lions in their “replanted” status?

I implore the lead pastors to stand up and protect the sheep that have been harmed. If the dissolution takes place under your watch and you remain silent, you will be participating in allowing wounds inflicted by the “most abusive and coercive” church, to use Paul Tripp’s words, to never be fully healed.

It is time to speak up.

lions and hyenas 2


13 thoughts on “Are the Lead Pastors of Mars Hill Campuses Lions or Hyenas?

  1. Hello Rob,

    The Hallmark of good leadership at this point would to proclaim what they are all about and go out and state that they are for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is willing to reach out to the over burdened and abused sheep.

    Matthew 23:3-4 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4 They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. (NASB)

    Are they going to carry on the traditions of a Mark Driscoll Pharisaic centered organization or are they going to be servant leaders as Yeshua? Are they going into battle face forward knowing that Yahweh has their back or are they going to surround themselves with toadies and build walls to protect themselves?

    There is time for reflection leader, there is a time for action for a leader. This is not the time of a true leader to moisten the finger to see which direction the wind is blowing. Their battle plan is in the Bible… A novel approach for the emergent church…. The Bible. It is a Time for action.

    They have the battle plan. These confused pastors have one leader who has giving them their mission if they are indeed Christian leaders. Do it in love and truth. But do it now.

    1 John 3:18 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (NASB)

    Matthew 23:8-11 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called [b]leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. (NASB)

    Be humble and a servant with the sheep, but be strong in the word. The mark of a good Christian Leader.

    It is time for Truth. It is a time for Action. It is time for my church, It is a time for Mars Hill Church and it is time for leadership in the American Evangelical Church from Washington State to New York State. There is a question I asked a Deacon in the midst of the battle Christ gave to me with my church when he was fence sitting, “Who is your daddy? Is it the feckless leadership or is it Yahweh God?” You know he couldn’t give me an answer. Not even out of pride. You are either committed to Christ and his teachings or the warp twisted mind of fallen men. There is no room on the fence.

    It is a question we have to ask ourselves every day. Who is our “Leader”? Is it really Christ? Who is our Daddy?

    Let me close with a old military axiom “Follow me, Lead me or get out of my way.” There is no room on the fence when it comes to Christ.

    Bless you brother.

    humbly and a bit weary,

    Sheep and recovering Pentecostal

  2. Oh Rob, there you go again…

    …at least this time your not flipping the bird, dear brother. The middle finger post you made might be the residual MH DNA coursing through your veins; the appeal for people to give money to your legal fund/personal ministry fund along with your refusal to publicly respond to questions about your finances certainly is a true blue MH practice.

    How much money have you raised, using the MH issue, over the course of the last year? Is this fundraiser number four or five? Please provide documentation that all previous monies raised by you have gone to the appropriate destinations and none has been used by you personally or your ministry. I am a little surprised that you have not yet taken this step given your loud and clanging gong-like demands for financial transparency by MH. Certainly you are not one to engage in, “do as I say, not as I do” behavior, are you?

    Everyone wants a cut of the MH money pie, even you, Rob. In the end, it’s all about greed and the love of money.

    May you have a truly blessed Christmas and may you find a Godly way to disinfect yourself of the MH DNA.

    • Allen, you seem to have at least one thing down pat…. The Mars Hill DNA is bad. Well done. Other than that, you are asking for transparency while not identifying yourself. Rofl. If you think this is as all about money then there is probably not much that could be said or done to change your anonymous mind.

  3. it grieves me to think after 7 years, and the “fall” of mh, that that isn’t enough for you or petry. you were hurt, he was shunned, it was bad – evil perhaps. at what point are you just on a witch hunt vs really seeking biblical reconciliation? did you give to the global fund personally? are you going to attend any of the “new” churches? do you know the governance of each new “church” is adopting (as by my understanding is each one is different). i don’t understand why after all that has happened in the last year you still aren’t able to let it go. you’ll likely never get a verbal or written apology – but those men will account for their sins one day – so at what point can you say “that is enough”?

    • B Smith. You have called the shunning of Paul Petry evil. He is still being shunned to this day. I have simply sought justice for a brother, who represents justice needed for hundreds. When the Petry family and the hundreds others have been fairly addressed, I am sure the matter will be over, Thank you for recognizing the evil that came from the Driscoll regime. That is progress.

      • How can Petry still be being shunned when MHC essentially no longer exists (and barring an extraordinary circumstance won’t legally exist as of the end of this month)? Of the people attending at the various locations that used to be MHC, how many of them would even know Petry if they were face to face with him, or for that matter even know of him? At some point this is just an exercise in vengeance – something the Lord reserves for himself. Are you sure in your heart that it is still God’s justice you seek?

        What would justice look like to you and what would have to happen for you to be satisfied? How do members of the individual churches that are now forming repent of something they weren’t part of? Have we gotten to a point where we consider anyone who starts attending a church to be guilty of whatever may have occurred at that church in the past? We are all sinners and those of us who are saved are saved by His grace, not our own efforts. Perhaps it is time to trust God to work in hearts rather than trusting in the legal system and public verbal stoning to accomplish the goal.

  4. Rob, We know you are big on transparency. You have made your financials available to the general public; you have given a public accounting for all the monies you have raised and we thank you for that…what…what do you mean they’re not available to the general public? Oh…Well we know that you submit your organizations finances to an independent third party group for a rigorous and thorough audit each year…oh…no? Oh…I…well…this embarrassing… Well we know that you are a quiet, humble, gentle man who shies away from the pubic spotlight, not wanting to draw attention to yourself…oh..I see…New York Times…Local news appearances….oh my….well we know that you are not a hyena waiting for the lions to finish so you can come in and clean up; You’ve said, “We need to put the past behind us and move forward in newness of life, or the lions will keep on raging and Mars Hill won’t survive”….what…wait…marched back into MH after MD resigned asserting your desire to …clean up…. oh dear. What….shopping for plaintiffs so you could sue….oh gracious me. Rob we barely recognize you.

  5. Just get over it, already!

    It seems no matter what is said, or done, it’s never enough for those of you who feel either yourself or others have been hurt and/or mistreated. Guess what? Welcome to living in a fallen world. Move on. Do something positive for the Kingdom. God sees and knows all, he is big enough to bring about His plan, His discipline. He can and will make all things right, in HIS time.

    You are tearing down and prejudging the pastors who will be leading these churches before they’ve even begun. It will never be enough for the likes of you who seek the destruction of those who have been affiliated with Mars Hill. You set yourself up as judge and jury and seem to think only you know what should be done to bring all to account. As John Piper has said, (paraphrased) God is doing a thousand things in situations where you can only see, maybe three. I find the whole anti-Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill movement to be hypocritical and self-serving. You are acting no better than what you accuse them of.

    These pastors have wives and families you are affecting. They love Jesus, they are pursuing what God has placed on their hearts to do; to love their flock and lead them. Your words are caustic and judgmental and you set yourself up as God. You will be held accountable for your words an actions as much as Mark Driscoll, his.

    You are so deep into trying to get even, you can’t see anything good coming from all this. God is able to bring good from all things.

    Let God do his work, in his time and in his way.

    Find something productive, God-honoring, loving and kind to do and be a part of.

    You will never find the satisfaction you are looking for concerning this. No matter what transpires, it will never be enough or what you deem right.

    Bitterness will/does rule in your heart. And, the world will see, and think there is no difference.
    Is there?

    Philippians 4:8English Standard Version (ESV)

    8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

    • Diane,

      I am not sure that we have ever met, Thank you for paying attention to my blog “Musings from under the bus” I will approve your comment soon (I just read it). I also plan to respond with a blog about it because you say things that others have said. My response to you is therefor a response to others that have said the same thing.

      While what you say sounds very good -“Get over it”, it is also loaded with implication. Add to it the rest of your comments, and you will see that it is filled with accusation and unproven (and perhaps unintended) assumptions that violate the very verse that you use to conclude your comments. Let me start with that verse, which is one that I quote a lot to myself and those with whom I have fellowship.

      “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

      So we are encouraged to 1) seek truth, 2) be honorable, 3) seek justice, 4) pursue that which is lovely, 5) do that which is commendable, 6) seek excellence, and finally 7) think about that which is worthy of praise.

      You quoted this verse after making the following accusations and assumptions:

      Accusation #1: Regardless of what is said or done, it is never going to be enough for those of us who feel mistreated or hurt.

      This is an assumption that you cannot prove. If you had been paying attention, when Mars Driscoll resigned, I called for us all to return to Mars Hill Church and participate in bringing healing. This was highly criticized by many (on both sides) and shortly thereafter we were told that the church would dissolve. There is much that needs to said and done that has not been said and done. For a church that has been identified as the most abusive and coercive in recent history, very little has been said by the leaders (including the pastors of each campus) and almost done to identify the abuse and to address it repentance and restitution.

      Accusation #2: I am tearing down and prejudging the pastors who will be leading these churches before they have even begun.

      I am certainly not prejudging these men, and they are not leading churches that are “yet to begin”. They are churches that are a part of Mars Hill Church and their pastors are the very men who participated in creating the most abusive of churches in recent history. I am able to judge their past actions, and call them to account. I have known several of the men for years. At what point am I able to judge their character and call them to action? You are judging mine and you do not know me from a bar of soap. If in fact they are about to attempt to bury the sins that they were complicit in and “move on”, and God withhold His blessing for such, then it is an act of kindness to call them to a different path. Don’t forget that “faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kiss of an enemy is death”.

      Accusation #3: I seek the destruction of those affiliated with Mars Hill Church

      Wow, that is quite a strong accusation. For it to be true I would be seeking my own destruction, because I am affiliated with Mars Hill Church, as are many of my friends. Some who have left and have been destroyed are people whom I am assisting in one way or another, including financial or emotional support. Some of those participated in the slander and abuse of me and my ministry. I harbor no bitterness to these men, and have withheld stories of their abuse because it would further harm them. In more than one case I have chosen to not pursue them as they are vulnerable, weak, and struggling in the aftermath of their abuse (both given and received). Some of the details of abuse would add credibility to a lawsuit, yet I choose not to use the details as they would harm people, even though would make a civil case more solid. I am not a heartless man. I am a man that seeks justice, mercy, and humility.

      Accusation #4: I set myself up as judge and jury and seem to think that only I know what should be done to bring all to account.

      Firstly, you have no way of knowing what I think. I am wired in a certain way, and would have likely made a very good attorney for either the prosecution or defense as I do have a strong sense of what is right or wrong. That does motivate my thinking, and it may be because I was raised in a home where Philippians 4:8 was frequently meditated upon. I think the more one lives in God’s word, the better sense of knowing what is right is likely. However, If you read the email that I sent the elders calling for a fair trial or Paul Petry in 2007 (, you will see that I do not set myself up as judge and jury. It is probably more fair to say that I set myself up as an advocate – seeking to present my case to a judge and jury. In the current matters, seeing that dialog with the leadership has been vigorously opposed by Mars Hill’s leadership (including the pastors that are currently pastoring the eleven campuses) the judge and jury has become the larger church through social media. You are a part of that process in your engagement here. In fact, you are acting more of either a judge or a juror in your comments than I have, which is a reaction to my advocacy. Since I and others have been calling for an address of the many grievances that have become apparent, thousands have become judge and jurors, with many voting with their feet and leaving Mars Hill Church.

      Accusation #5: I am a part of an anti- Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll movement.

      Calling out for a just response to the abuse emanating from Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll is exactly the opposite of being anti the church or the man. I am absolutely for Mars Hill Church and for Mark Driscoll. The leadership of Mars Hill Church have decimated their own church rather than deal with the abuse. Mark Driscoll, rather then put things right and take responsibility for his actions, abandoned Mars Hill Church like a father does his children. These men are anti Mars Hill. And some of these men are continuing to “pastor” the same church with new names. They are not for Mars Hill Church. They want nothing to do with Mars Hill Church.

      Accusation #6: Such a movement is hypocritical and self-serving.

      If seeking justice for those who have been shunned and falsely accused through slander and libel is hypocritical, then so be it. If asking for transparency from a church that has received millions of dollars of my and other members’ and former members’ donations is hypocritical, then so be it. Sadly, you just made the accusation without saying how those of us that you are accusing are being hypocritical.

      Accusation #7: I am acting no better than what I accuse them (the lead pastors) of.

      My post was one of questions, not accusations. Will they act like hyenas and stay quiet about the questions of abuse and fraud, or will they stand up like lions and insist on closure for the members and former members of the church? I think I am acting better then these men, as I am willing to risk my comfort and reputation to stand up for what I believe to be honorable, truthful, just, and worthy of our attention. These men do not seem to be willing, thus my post which was written in an attempt to prick their conscience.

      Accusation #8: I have set myself up a God and my words are caustic and judgmental.

      One of the things that has been characteristic of this struggle has been that those of us advocating for justice have been truthful and clear. Mars Hill leadership, including the men you say are pursuing what God has put on their hearts, have been either quiet or non-truthful when they speak. Many have pointed out the spin and the lack of information that we have received. Often the words are by people who do not even identify themselves (as in your case). Those of advocating are doing so with clarity and in the open. We can stand behind everything we say and are willing to be corrected. When truth hurts, as it sometimes does, I can understand that truth seeming to be caustic to those who do not want to hear truth.

      Accusation #9: I am trying to get even.

      This a repeated accusation, even from the 21 elders that brought charges against Mark Driscoll. What an unfair accusation as you have no way to prove it even if it were true. If I were trying to get even I would have done so years ago. The abuse I and my dear wife and family suffered occurred years ago. I had moved on until I heard about the repeated abuse of many last December. To stand up to stop abuse and to call for accountability has nothing to do with getting even.

      Accusation #10: I cannot see anything good coming from all this.

      How do you know what I see. I see an immense amount of good. God is good and I truly believe that “all things work together for good those that are in Christ Jesus”. Much good will occur as the evangelical church begins to fully process how a leading mega-church can say in January that 2014 will be “our best year ever”, and the entire church is gone in disgrace less then twelve months later. It most heartening to see James MacDonald quite the Mars Hill BOAA and run back to his own church and very publicly put matters right with the elders he threw under the bus a year earlier. The days of domineering leadership are over. we have only just begun to see the good that will come from all of this. The various campus pastors are all promising their members better accountability. That is good.

      Accusation #11: I will never find the satisfaction I am looking for in this matter.

      As an advocate, the satisfaction that I am looking for may allude me. I seek justice and transparency. As long as the existing elders are prepared to bury the truth the odds of justice occurring is diminished. However, I must say that there has been a lot of satisfaction already. Fifteen of the twenty two elders who treated Paul Petry and Bent Meyer with such disdain seven year ago have confessed their sin and sought forgiveness. I believe we will most of the remaining men do the same. It will be a moment of deep satisfaction when I hear that Bubba Jennings (lead pastor of MHC – Tacoma), Tim Smith (lead pastor of MHC – Portland), A.J. Hamilton, Jamie Munson, Tim Belz, Tim Quiring, and Bill Clem see the depth of their sin against Mars Hill Church and the men they placed on trial and finally confess their sin.

      Accusation #12: Bitterness rules in my heart.

      I certainly do not feel bitter. This is something that totally unprovable and a frequently used “sin” to throw at people when you do not have an actual sin in mind. It is even more frequently used against people who are seeking for a wrong to be made right. Seeking justice for another does not make the advocate bitter. What a pathetic accusation to use when someone is seeking to defend those that have been hurt.

      I am sure I could analyze more.. but the main point here is that your call to me is full of accusations, most unfounded and impossible to even defend. The abuse and sin within the Mars hill camp is clear. have you written a single word calling for the sin to be dealt with as you are doing with me?

      Please do not feel like I am condemning you. I am not. you have taken the time to reach out and I do appreciate you doing so.

      You have said God will make all things right in His time. I totally agree. I also am aware that God will frequently use His servants to accomplish making things right. I hope to be one of those servants.

      Satan is known as an accuser. He also uses people to carry out his ends.

      “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

      Rob Smith

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