Michael Redfield is a current Mars Hill Church member. He recently posted a couple of lengthy comments on my blog which include his assessment of Mars Hill’s leaders, and their response to the recent crisis. They seem to express what many former and current members are saying to me. Redfield told me that he also posted these comments to the church feedback website.
His first comment about 6 days ago regarding the “Financial Challenges” page on the church website:
Below is my just posted member comments on the Mars Hill church site, this fully tipped me off the fence –
RE: “Financial Challenges” As a member for about seven years I have in the past been both thrilled and disturbed by several things related to my and my family’s experiences here in Shoreline. None has to date enraged me more than the arrogant, blame shifting, non-contrite attitude expressed in this page today. With all that has transpired to state essentially that the closings and staff cuts are because you “sheep” have failed to give enough is appalling. This on top of statements like giving is down due to “negative media attention” clearly show that the current leadership doesn’t get it and I will not be surprised if the whole Mars Hill Church meets its demise soon with such attitudes continuing. Where is a statement from the mysterious EE stating that “these cuts are a direct result of the mistakes we have made and are endeavoring to correct” or “in light of the current situation we are cutting our salaries’ by X starting today”??? If it was in question before, there is no doubt – you leaders have now totally lost my trust. As a former Elder there, today I now also understand what I could not before – why God saw fit to deny Esperance Baptist Church’s facility to Mars Hill Church. It is so sad but understandable with these attitudes that the lampstand is being withdrawn.
A couple of days later, Redfield posted the following comment in response to the note from pastor Alex Ghioni:
Dear Mars Hill elders,
Forgive me if after all the ill hearted recent missteps and outright blunders that I don’t embrace the long overdue humility with immediate trust. I sent a message expressing my extreme disappointment yesterday based on the original “Financial Challenges” post. As is the pattern, I received no Mars Hill reply nor do I expect to get one. However when I posted those comments on Pathos site (instrumental in exposing many of our issues and without the likes of we may have continued in for who knows how long?), I received almost instant support and replies.
The pastoral spirit in the update and today’s post “Going Forward” are steps in the right direction, and I hope not too late to save this church. Questions and answers I am sure will be asked and answered must include: When will the crisis management, spin, and self protection end? Have you been grooming submissive clones for leadership and removing the others? What are EE salaries and concealed expenditures? What were the Global Fund, Jesus Festival, book royalties, etc., monies true and actual amounts and were the uses proper and legal? Were disqualifying sins committed? Is lying one of those? How can so many pastor/elders leave without explanation or thankful sendoffs?
Obviously many things must be addressed. Included we must eliminate any “non-compete” clauses – (we are first and foremost commanded and led by Jesus not Mars Hill Church). We must re-establish real biblical leadership including bylaws. Provide real procedures where member questions will be asked and answered not just deemed divisive.
While I technically remain a member since my family and I have not landed permanently elsewhere yet, I like so many, have lost trust in leadership. Especially the EE, but increasingly so in our remaining local elders who either kept their heads in the sand, chose to implicitly ignore issues that many less informed members like myself began to notice some time ago. Or worse, they out of self preservation, disregarded God’s promptings that as leaders they should address. For the most part the more courageous ones found or were shown the door.
Better to have never given reason for lost trust but failing that it will take much longer to regain it. Therefore I do also take issue with not hashing out issues in social media. How and why is that increasingly taking place? In MH redemption group the biblical mandate was emphasized to live in the light. When I sought answers from leaders to some of the issues that are decimating MH church today I was politely told the leaders were aware, to check my own heart, and not to be divisive. When issues perpetuate that leaders fail to address privately or publicly, leaving quietly fails to honor the heart God gives some of us. The MH Church doors seem closed to exposing hurtful wrongs, cover ups and silence were the norm, so people like me feel led to seek justice. The internet, although prone to abuse, provides that opportunity.
God is great and does not blink an miss things, He has an uncanny way of fulfilling Romans 8:28. My job is to follow him and I fear you leaders would still be managing crisis in your closets without the unwelcome light shining by the internet. Here’s praying the elders of MH will match their talk to live in His light. That’s it for now.
Does it sound like Michael would like more transparency?