Marching in step with their abusive leadership, the pastors of the 11 Mars Hill Church campus replants remain silent.

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Jon Krombein, who was an elder at Mars Hill Church for almost eight years, made an impassioned appeal to the remaining lead pastors of the eleven campuses to speak out and call for the release of information that so many ex-members and donors want to see.

These pastors simply refuse to walk in the light.

We need mediation to get the truth. An anonymous donor will match your contribution to help pay for mediation.

Jon Krombein’s challenge went out to Pastors Dave Bruskas, David Fairchild, Ed Choi, Tim Smith, Ryan Williams, Matthias Heusel, Aaron Gray, Bubba Jennings, AJ Hamilton, Matt Rogers, Jason Skelton, Scott Harris, and Seth Winterhalter.

He said that these men know more than they are saying, and that they knew Mars Hill Church had “cooked the books,” yet they remained silent. He implored them to speak openly to avoid their culpability in these matters from hanging over their future ministries.

Jon Krombein’s call was simply ignored.

These pastors are telling their “new” churches, made up of the same members of Mars Hill Church, meeting in the same buildings with the same donor money “seeding” each location for the next three months, and the same leadership (except for Bellevue), that they will not reflect the same bad DNA that brought Mars Hill Church to its knees.

But sadly these men are behaving in the same way that the Executive Elders of Mars Hill Church have behaved. They simply will not answer the questions that us former members and donors have asked. They will not meet. They will not walk in the light.

This behavior was a part of what led to Mars Hill Church being recognized as the most abusive church in recent church history. Yet despite witnessing the results of such behavior, these pastors seem to acting the same way. They have disregarded Jon Krombein’s appeal, just as they refuse to speak to those of us seeking to have our grievances mitigated.

One of those pastors, while completely ignoring Jon Krombein’s appeal, said this last Sunday that he is struggling to see how he and his fellow elders have been complicit in the pattern of sin in the leadership at Mars Hill Church. He seems to not be able to connect the dots, or he is not being honest.

Former donors and members are calling Mars Hill Church executives to come to the table of mediation. This is the Matthew 18 mandate. I urge each reader to consider supporting the costs of such mediation.

If the executives will not come to the table, it would seem to serve the cause of justice and truth to pursue the matter in civil court. If indeed they have “cooked the books” the donors and members have a right to know.

Please support the effort to get these answers. After all, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with on another.” — 1 John 1:7

Mediation will cost us at least $20,000. If mediation is refused, a civil RICO lawsuit that will expose the “cooking of the books” will cost a lot more. Your help will enable these costs to be covered.

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In a classic showdown, Mars Hill Church leaders want to see lawsuit first, then may allow Matthew 18

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Mars Hill Church leaders are forcing aggrieved members to spend the money to prepare a lawsuit, and then want to see the lawsuit before deciding if they will meet in a biblical way.

When Dave Kraft, while still a Mars Hill Church elder in 2013, filed charges against Mark Driscoll, I was contacted by one of the aggrieved elders who appealed to me to reach out and speak with Michael van Skaik, the chairman of the Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA).

Michael van Skaik refused to see me. That was in June 2013.

Since that time, I and others have attempted repeatedly to engage the leadership of Mars Hill Church. They simply refuse to talk. The only time I have pulled off a meeting was with the BOE where the focus of the meeting was largely instruction to me that both I and the aggrieved members, ex-members and donors of Mars Hill Church should simply agree to be defrauded in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6. The abusers were telling the abused to suck it in and walk away.

I have recently appealed to Executive Elder Dave Bruskas several times that we meet face-to-face and talk. I have repeatedly appealed to the lead pastor of MH- West Seattle, David Fairchild, who tells me he cannot meet because he is working “70 to 80 hours a week” preparing for the new church to open. I have reached out to the lead pastor of MH–Everett. All are “too busy” to sit down as brothers in Christ.

Despite the call in 1 Corinthians 6 for brothers to avoid legal action against one another, Mars Hill Church Leadership, led by Executive Elder Dave Bruskas and Chairman of the Board Matt Rogers, is insisting that we prepare a legal action before they will consider talking to their aggrieved brothers.

So while their Pastors Ed Choi and David Fairchild are instructing us that rather than take legal action the aggrieved should agree to be defrauded, the leadership of Mars Hill Church is demanding that we prepare a legal action in order to sit down as brothers and work out our grievances.

It would appear as if we are not dealing with brothers in Christ. It appears that we are dealing with corporate executives who are being governed by their lawyers.

So the leadership is forcing aggrieved brothers and sisters in Christ to prepare a legal action. They block all attempts to sit and talk, refuse to be defrauded themselves by seeking the protection of their lawyers while expecting the aggrieved members they have abused to just walk away being defrauded, and now make the aggrieved spend legal fees in order to prepare for legal action.

The aggrieved do not want to file a lawsuit, but the leadership of Mars Hill Church is insisting that we move forward to do so in order to work out our grievances.

At this stage, days from the dissolution of the church, these men are still not willing to come to the table and be transparent about the use of millions of dollars of donors’ money, as well as identify the widespread abuse that has been alleged.

Surely a Matthew 18 mediated airing of grievances, something that Mars Hill Church preaches while refusing to practice, is the right thing to do. It seems only two scenarios will hold these men accountable for their actions. Either a civil lawsuit is filed – which Mars Hill leadership requires before they will take the time to sit down and try to resolve grievances, or Attorney General Ferguson steps in.

 [I edited the 5th paragraph – it was pointed out to me that Dave Fairchild works 70 to 80 hours per week, not 80 to 90 hours per week. My apologies/]

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.

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Mars Hill Church, are you listening to your own? Release the report on Driscoll!

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This following is from a former Mars Hill elder and extracted from the comment section of Warren Throckmorton’s latest blog post regarding the proposed changes at Mars Hill Church.

A few interesting things to note that may help people understand why so many contrary reports are coming out, and why any change is going so slow:

1. Mark owns the rights to many things at Mars Hill including his sermons. He’s insistent they take them down (and they’re more than happy to oblige). But a complication is that Mars Hill will now have to do a whole redesign of the Web page while also recognizing there will most likely be more redesigns in the near future.

2. They’re seriously considering filing bankruptcy because of the amount of debt facing the church.

3. Ballard may become the “hub” once again. In fact, it might be the only church left with the name and legal ownership of Mars Hill.

4. Several of the LP’s on the BOE felt Mark was disqualified. In fact, they felt it was obvious once they heard the stories. Unfortunately, they chose to “submit” (read: cowardice) to the overseers and read the collective statement. They violated their own consciences in doing so, but many of them are still submitting to the false view of “submission” to leaders that Mark taught.

5. Several more elders are set to resign. They are disheartened with the cowardice they see displayed by the LPs.

6. Lastly, people should insist – INSIST the BOE release their findings. Every CG leader at every sync should insist on this. Every member should demand this. Every LP (but specifically those on the BOE) MUST be asked why they did NOT declare Mark DQ’d. They are violating their own consciences and most of these men will not be able to stand up and answer pointed questions about something they themselves do not believe. In particular, talk to Ed Choi, Alex Ghioni, Miles Rhode, Alex Early, and even (surprisingly) Tim Smith and AJ Hamilton.

This is VERY important. Especially if you are a CG leader. They cannot handle more people leaving and they realize that now more than ever they are going to be held accountable by the members. So stay. Pray. And don’t stop demanding transparency and answers. It is having an effect. [emphasis added]

What is good for the Mars Hill goose, is NOT good for the Mars Hill gander!

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Mars Hill Church to the abused: “Suck it in and be defrauded!”

Now comes a second Mars Hill Church pastor arguing that those who have been abused and defrauded by the actions of the church leaders should choose to be harmed and defrauded versus seeking resolution – especially through civil recourse.

This had already been argued by Pastor David Fairchild, lead pastor of Mars Hill West Seattle (link) who claimed that taking one’s case of abuse to the court of public opinion through social media was akin to taking it to the courts. Fairchild suggested that the abused should rather choose to be defrauded. In his opinion, that is what 1 Corinthians 6 teaches.

Lead pastor of Mars Hill Rainier Valley, Pastor Ed Choi, in a discussion I had along with Pastors AJ Hamilton (setting up a possible MH campus in Los Angeles), Aaron Gray (lead pastor of Mars Hill Shoreline), and Alex Ghioni (lead pastor of Mars Hill Sammamish), chided me that 1 Corinthians 6 should be interpreted to say that we grieved and abused members should simply agree to be defrauded rather than seek redress of our grievances.

I heard no kickback from the other pastors in the conversation. So it seems that at least five of the pastors at Mars Hill Church believe that abused members should just agree to be defrauded rather than seek either the court of public opinion or the civil court for redress.

My reaction to Ed Choi was to thank him for making Mars Hill Church’s position clear. What I heard him say was that it is right to choose being defrauded over using the civil courts to address matters. This surely would mean that if Mars Hill Church was sued, they would not choose to defend themselves or counter-sue. They would choose to accept a summary judgment against them, even if it meant that they would be defrauded in the process.

Pastor Choi’s response was immediate and strong. “No, no, no, no, that is not what I am saying,” said Pastor Choi.

Apparently, the appeal to Christians to accept being defrauded over seeking redress in court does not apply to Mars Hill Church or its leadership.

This explains why they can threaten lawsuits in non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) forced on exiting staff. It also explains why they threaten other churches that come too close using their “brand” with civil action.

What is good for the goose is not good the gander.

Of course, to even the casual observer, this is just plain old hypocrisy.