As noted earlier this week, Bellevue Church announced today that Jeff Vanderstelt will become the lead teaching pastor at Bellevue Church. The Church intends to become a part of the Soma family of churches. The bylaws for the new church has been available to those interested and are linked here.
The church will be more open to the congregation than Mars Hill Church was. Members will be able to vote on purchases over $100k but not on the elders (see below).* The Board of Elders will be a self-perpetuating board.
To read the Bellevue Church bylaws, click here.
Jason Skelton posted this information earlier today:
As we wrap up 2014, we wanted you to know about the schedule for the remaining weekends, and what to expect as we enter the new year and begin the new church.
Jeff Vanderstelt will be preaching at all of our services to continue our“Jesus: Gift of God” series, and we will formally welcome him as our Lead Teaching Pastor who will serve as one of the elders to replant the church. We have some additional exciting news to share, including the selection of our church name (“Bellevue Church” has been a placeholder while we are in the selection process for a new name). As well, on the 21st we will have the final in our series of “Interest Meetings,” with the topic of this week’s meeting being Counseling, Redemption Groups, Kids Ministry, and Student Ministry. This meeting will be led by Jeff Vanderstelt and Alex Ghioni, with other key leaders as well. Our ministry leaders will be here to talk through plans for the new church, and they also want to hear from you.
We will not be hosting a Christmas Eve service this year, in an effort to ensure that volunteers and staff families have a great opportunity to be with their families after what has been a very busy season. If you’re interested in the festivities, many of the area churches are hosting Christmas Eve services, and we would encourage you also to attendSnowflake Lane together with your family or community group.
This will be the last Sunday of the year, as we also celebrate the work that God has done through Mars Hill Church. Thousands of lives have been changed, millions of sermons have been downloaded and the Word of God has been powerfully at work. We will gather together for one final service together at 10am on December 28th. This will be our only service this Sunday to have an opportunity for the whole church family to be together.
The start of the new year will mark the start of our new church. Join us on January 4th as Jeff Vanderstelt begins as the new Lead Teaching Pastor. Service times will be at 9am and 11am.
Lastly, we want to share just a few brief details related to planting the new church, especially amidst the busyness of the Christmas season. Most of these have already been communicated, we just wanted to compile to share it as reminders.
Last week, we shared that we have hired a number of new staff members. On Sunday we announced that Jeff Vanderstelt had resigned his position at Soma Tacoma and now joins the leadership team for the new church plant. The elders of the new church plant include Dave Cox, Alex Ghioni, Roger Molvar, Tim Patton, Matt Rogers, Jason Skelton, and Jeff Vanderstelt.
In the new year we will change our service times to 9a and 11a. This will allow us to focus our efforts on Sunday morning services, as well as utilizing the remainder of the day for additional training and equipping opportunities, particularly allowing those driving from a further distance to not be required to come into Downtown Bellevue on multiple days per week. It’s our prayer that this will also help our volunteer teams who have served sacrificially these past few months.
Also in the new year, Student Ministry will be on Sunday evenings at 5p. We will be sharing more details about Student Ministry in the coming weeks.
Our new church plant will seek to become a member of the Soma Family of Churches, but we will not be “Soma Church” or directly connected in any legal or financial manner with Soma Tacoma. Jeff Vanderstelt will be our Lead Teaching Pastor, but he has resigned from his role as an elder at Soma Tacoma. He will remain in an oversight role of the Soma Family of Churches but it should be noted that this network functions solely as a relational network of like-minded churches and has no governing or binding authority over local churches. The new church plant will be an independent church. We will be sharing more about our desire to become part of the Soma Family of Churches in the new year.
We have attached a version of our preliminary bylaws that will serve for the next six months while we evaluate and assess their effectiveness, as well as work toward affirmation of the new elder team. These bylaws are formed from the principles we shared in November at our Vision Meeting, and have been reviewed by numerous church members, leaders through our Interest Meetings,and have also been reviewed by outside counsel. We have intentionally created a version that is not extremely robust, in order that we can learn and grow over time.
In addition to this information, we’ll be sharing an extended post on what transparency will look like in the new church early next week.
We’re excited, and we pray that you are too. Jesus has been abundantly showing his grace and opening doors for the future and we confidently believe that a great, healthy church for the Eastside is in store. If you have not had an opportunity to talk to us in person and have feedback you’d like to share, we have created a form where you can provide it here. That being said, our elders are always available to you, please reach out to any of us moving forward.
*While it appears that the elders will elect people to their board, there is a provision on page 5 or the congregation to have some kind of input. According to the provision on the annual meeting, the congregation will affirm the elders:
An annual meeting of the church shall be held each year at a date, time, and place to be determined by the Board of Elders. At the annual meeting, the voting members shall affirm the elders assessed and appointed by the Board of Elders, affirm an annual budget, provide notice of changes to the church bylaws, and transact any other business as may come before the meeting.
This is not fleshed out. The congregation may simply get a slate of board members and be instructed to vote on the slate. If so, the opposition to one member would have to be intense for the congregation to vote down the entire slate. However, since the method of affirm is not spelled out, one cannot know how much congregational input there will be.