Friday, March 28, 2014

Bylaws and changes in accountability:

Bylaws and changes in accountability:

Over the years, I witnessed several changes to the Bylaws. There were two in particular that caused great concern for me. The first was before I was a pastor and it can be read about in Paul Petry and Bent Meyer’s stories. In that change, from what I understand, the accountability for pastor Mark and the church moved from a large group of elders that would have to agree with majority to a small board of directors that would agree with the decisions made by the Executive Elder team consisting of three men to include Mark. The fear of that change was that there would be less accountability, and that Mark could make whatever changes he wanted and that the power to make those decisions rests on the Executive Elders. Mark communicated that in fact the change was made to streamline the decision-making process and that he was actually giving away power, not gathering it. Paul and Bent both lost their jobs and were branded as outcasts because of their push back on this change. I sinned against both Paul and Bent in not following up with them and simply obeying Mark’s orders to have no contact with them. (At this time, I was not yet a pastor, was not in these meetings, and did not have a vote.)

The second major change confirmed from Mark’s own mouth that he holds the power to make changes, not only to the Bylaws, but across the board with no accountability. This happened in 2011-2012 when there was another proposal to change the Bylaws to incorporate the Board of Accountability and Advisers, consisting of Jon Phelps, Michael Van Skaik, James MacDonald, Larry Osborne, Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas, and Sutton Turner.

Mark presented the argument in front of the entire full council of elders consisting of around 80 men, that he wanted to move the accountability away from Mars Hill Elders board of directors and move it to people who aren't employed by Mars Hill so they would have greater accountability. Several elders pushed back on this live video conference saying that they didn't think that was a good idea. How would this accountability group know what was happening within Mars Hill? How would we know that they were doing anything about concerns that were raised?

Mark’s response was simply, I don’t give a shit what you guys think. I brought this in front of you guys trying to be nice and make you feel like you are involved in this decision. I don’t even need to get your permission to do this; the last change to the Bylaws gives me permission to do what I want and we are doing this. It doesn't matter what you say.

With that, the change was made with little protest because if you want to keep your job you don’t cross Mark. My push back is simply, if Mark can make statements like that in front of the people who are his peers as elders/pastors and the people who he has put in place to hold him accountable to begin with, then what makes us think that he would submit himself to a group of people who are outside of the church? To give a little perspective on the accountability group, here is a quick breakdown of the relationships.

All in all, the people who are now in position to hold Mark accountable are friends, not peers within his own church. I didn't then and don’t now see how this is better for the church and its leaders in holding them accountable. 


  1. Abominable.

    I heard a political statement by Christian radio show host Steve Deace the other day. People complain about Barak Obama running roughshod over the constitution, but he said you know, dictators and despots don't rise in a vacuum. They don't jump up one day and say "I'm here to rule over you" all by themselves. They only rise because people allow them to. I'm sure you realize that -- it happens in every organization, it's the worldly way. One person amasses power, and the others allow it. It's a worldly system. True believers, those who stand for truth, those who attempt to slow or change the direction of the bus, this worldly system will throw them off the bus without apology, and let the bodies pile up. It doesn't care. And many people will continue to support it. The only way for this monstrosity to stop is for people EN MASSE to walk away, or God to strike it down somehow (I imagine that would be Mark Driscoll imploding). I would also guess that if Grace got tired of this charade and quit submitting to this yoke of slavery that might have some impact, too, but I would not count on that.