This was announced earlier today via The City:
From Pastor Jason Skelton:
On behalf of the elders of Soma Tacoma and Bellevue Church, it is our privilege to share with you today the news that Jeff Vanderstelt has been selected as the Lead Teaching Pastor of Bellevue Church in Bellevue, WA.
Over the last six weeks, the elders of Bellevue Church and Soma Tacoma have been praying together to seek the Lord and know His will in this important decision. It has been our desire to create as many opportunities as possible to allow the congregation to speak into the process. This has included multiple public gatherings from Q&A in Bellevue, Sammamish, and Soma Tacoma, as well as Jeff preaching at Bellevue Church on November 23rd and December 7th. With a remarkable spirit of unity from both congregations, that we take as a sign of confirmation from the Holy Spirit, we now move forward with confidence in presenting this decision to you.
Today at the Soma Tacoma gathering, Jeff has resigned his eldership, and formally accepted the role as Lead Teaching Pastor of Bellevue Church. He will be publicly welcomed on December 21st when he will be present to preach that day as well in Bellevue. His first official day will be January 1st, 2015, which signifies the beginning of planting a new church.
“Jayne and I are blessed to be clearly led by the Spirit in conjunction with the affirmation of Soma Tacoma and Bellevue Church to step into this new adventure. We are confident that Jesus is leading us into this and eager to serve Him as he continues to build his body on the Eastside. We can not do this without Him nor without the prayers of his people. In light of that, we earnestly ask that you lift us up in your prayers as we make this difficult transition from a church family that we dearly love to one that we are already growing in love for and anticipate loving in ever increasing ways over the coming months and years. We are eager to see the glory of Jesus fill the Eastside through his body the church as the waters cover the sea!”
With this decision, Bellevue Church will seek to become a member of the Soma Family of Churches, though the timeline for this has not been determined.
Our prayer, and our vision, is that the good news of Jesus would saturate the Eastside so that every man, woman, and child would have a daily encounter with Jesus in word and deed.
Soma Tacoma Elders
Bellevue Church Elders
After the news from Bellevue recently about new staff, it was unclear that Soma was still involved.
Barring any legal complications, Bellevue Church is in line to receive what could be a substantial amount of money from the dissolution of Mars Hill Church. Initially, there were high hopes that the involvement of Vanderstelt and Soma would bring in a new era of transparency. However, up to now, those representing Soma Church have ignored questions from the public and from Soma members about the transition of Bellevue from Mars Hill Church to Soma.