Lone executive elder Dave Bruskas gets more specific about changes in the works at Mars Hill Church in this message on The City (and the website):
The full statement is here:
From Pastor David Bruskas:
While most of the recent attention surrounding our church has been focused on accusations against Pastor Mark, I along with your Lead Pastors, are painfully aware that we have an unhealthy culture in our church, and many of us have contributed. We love you very much Mars Hill, and it is our deep desire to begin a new chapter focused on new values. We ask for forgiveness from those who have been hurt by this church because of the culture we contributed to. We wish to move forward together knowing that we are a broken and repentant church in need of a forgiveness and restoration that only Jesus provides.
We are determined to honor the past work that Jesus has done through this church and those that have labored with us, while correcting and setting a new course for the future where he can be most glorified as we move ourselves out of the way.
During this time of transition, we have enacted a previously established plan in which I have committed to fulfill the role of interim Preaching Pastor, doing so as one of many voices on Sundays along with your Lead Pastors. However, I will not be functioning as a remaining Executive Elder, or even as a “first among equals”, but I will be working to facilitate decisions among many leaders.
As we work through needed changes, your Lead Pastors and I have committed to focus on three areas during this transition: localized governance, financial clarity, and cultural change. We will communicate with increasing detail in these three areas in the weeks to come.
Going forward we intend to pursue a more localized governance and oversight model in our churches. As we move toward a new structure there is no desire to consider a continuation of the current model of leadership, including the Executive Elder roles and the Board of Advisors and Accountability. We are currently not considering an option where I would take over in Pastor Mark’s previous role. We intend to provide more self-determining freedom to our local churches in a way that empowers local leaders to direct the future of their churches.
In mid-November we will be releasing our 10th annual independent audit of our financial statements from this past fiscal year. This had been delayed as the auditors awaited the conclusion of the investigation into the allegations against Pastor Mark. We will be posting them to our website at marshill.com/stewardship and our desire is to continue providing better financial clarity going forward. Our hope and anticipation is that we will receive a good report. But if that isn’t the case, we will work openly and diligently to correct any problems.
We want to be leaders who are humble, repentant, accountable to you and each other, and who communicate openly and regularly to our members. We want to be known not only for preaching the truth, but also for living it out by loving others well. As the Board of Elders continue to glean the lessons learned during this season, we are confident this will lead to greater church health through deep cultural change. Please pray for us. Jesus is our Senior Pastor. He loves you dearly and we as your elders desire to serve you better. We need his gospel and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to become Jesus’ faithful under shepherds.
How You Can Participate
As we work towards a new future together in service to Jesus, we are still called to be the people of God in every arena of life. This means that it will be more important than ever that each one of us that calls Mars Hill Church home continues to operate in faithfulness through serving God’s people, giving generously to God’s work, and loving one another well.
We need your patience and prayers as we seek to live out our commitment to these areas of significant change in our church. Sunday we will again gather with our churches and worship, open the Bible and hear about Jesus and what he has done on our behalf.
Pastor Dave Bruskas
Bruskas indicated that the structure would not include the executive elders and Board of Advisors and Accountability but he was less than clear about his own status. From reading material from people who supported the old paradigm, I am aware that some Mars Hill members don’t want change. However, for those who do want change and to help bring along the entire group, it seems that even more openness is going to be required. For instance, the status of Mark Driscoll’s termination is still unclear. Did the Board of Elders find him to be disqualified? If so, then why did the BoAA lighten the verdict in such a way to allow Driscoll to resign with benefits? So many church members have taken sides over the past few months, it would be healing for them and others to know the facts.