Add four more to the growing fraternity of ex-pastors after yesterday’s layoffs at Mars Hill Church.
According to reliable sources, Drew Hensley (University District), Ryan Welsh (Pastor of Theology and Leadership), Ryan Kearns (Director of Community Groups), and Cliff Ellis (Director of Biblical Living/Redemption Groups) were all let go yesterday.
Three of these pastors were directors, meaning they were responsible for ministries across Mars Hill Church and not just at one campus. All four signed the infamous letter that called for Mark Driscoll to step down and enter an elder directed restoration process. These pastors join Dustin Kensrue, Adams Ramsey, Gary Shavey (all three resigned their paid positions) and Mark Dunford (relieved of his volunteer elder status) in the ranks of ex-elders who signed the letter. James Rose, who is a volunteer at Ballard, appears to remain in place.
It is noteworthy that Mars Hill laid off key ministry leaders. The ministry directors were responsible for generating and leading much of the ministry programs (e.g., community groups, student ministry, biblical counseling, etc.) across all of the Mars Hill locations. At the same time, the church has spared the executive pastors who are largely seen as administrators of the franchise locations. It also seems to be likely that laying off Kearns, Ellis, Hensley and Welsh related to their signatures on the letter calling on Driscoll to step down. Case in point: Matthias Haeuser’s Downtown Seattle campus was closed but he will have opportunity for a role at Ballard’s campus. Drew Hensley’s (a letter signer) University District location was shut down and he will be laid off.
One source (a current elder) tells me that executive elders’ salaries are not on the table for discussion. However, the 30-40 (unconfirmed reports tell me the number was higher) people laid off may not get severance pay and don’t have unemployment. The lack of comment from the executive elders about how they personally are going to help is louder than any amended statements could be.
The signers and their status:
Dustin Kensrue – Director of Worship / Worship Pastor at Mars Hill Bellevue (RESIGNED)
Drew Hensley – Lead Pastor at Mars Hill U-District Pastor (LAID OFF)
Mark Dunford – Pastor at Mars Hill Portland (ELDERSHIP REMOVED)
Ryan Kearns – Director of Community Groups/Pastor at Mars Hill Bellevue (LAID OFF)
Ryan Welsh – Pastor of Theology and Discipleship (LAID OFF)
Adam Ramsey – Director of Student Ministry / Pastor at Mars Hill Bellevue (RESIGNED)
Cliff Ellis – Director of Biblical Living / Pastor at Mars Hill West Seattle (LAID OFF)
Gary Shavey – Pastor of Biblical Living at Mars Hill Bellevue (RESIGNED)
James Rose – Pastor at Mars Hill Ballard (REMAINS IN SAME POSITION)
In this post, I provided twitter contact information for these pastors, I encourage Mars Hill stakeholders to contact them for their perspectives.
Additional notes: Cliff Ellis may remain as an unpaid volunteer elder for now. Drew Hensley is still active because he will stay until U-District closes down in October.