Elder and worship leader Zach Bolen has resigned from Mars Hill Ballard.
Bolen, a high profile elder at Mars Hill, is the leader of Citizens, a popular band which has become well known outside of Mars Hill circles. The band’s first album, the eponymous disc Citizens, was released in March 2013 and has enjoyed critical and commercial success. Bolen served at Mars Hill University District prior to coming to Ballard in February of this year. Bolen was one of the most popular and accomplished worship leaders at Mars Hill.
Bolen’s resignation comes amid significant staff changes at Mars Hill Ballard. Recently, popular biblical living pastor Phil Smidt was fired and then this week pastor Aaron Mead and elder candidate Tim Klassen resigned. In recent months, elders Nate Burke, Jon Krombein, and Mike Wilkerson also left Mars Hill Ballard.
The UK Christian music magazine Crossrhythms raved about Bolen and Citizens, saying:
Clearly Citizens have a bright future ahead of them. As Breathecast commented, “Musically, Citizens have created a patented type of indie rock that flutters with the electronic beat of Switchfoot, yet shimmers with the emotional intensity of Hillsong United. Above all, Bolen sings with a sense of honest gravitas; it is as if leading worship is more than just a day job. Rather, he sings with a deep-seated passion that can only come from a man who knows grace.”
A single, You Brought Me Back to Life, was released around Easter from an album slated to be completed by August.
Although Bolen’s future in music and ministry looks bright, it will not include Mars Hill Church.
Additional note: I have been listening to more of Zach’s band and I like most of what I am hearing. For instance, this track:
Another note: I wrote earlier that the new album would be released in August. I remembered one of the articles I read about Citizens incorrectly. The band hoped to have the album completed by August.
UPDATE (6/8): According to attenders at Mars Hill Ballard, Bolen’s resignation was announced this morning near the end of the service.