As we bring this letter to a close, we want to again reiterate that we are sending this as an act of love, not of defiance. Love is not compliance, but rather speaking the truth and seeking to walk in the light together. Brothers, we know that we do not stand alone in our concerns for our church. We stand as your brothers, risking our future for the sake of the bride of Christ. It is time for us as elders to "stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong," (1 Cor 16:13) while still letting all that we do be done in love. It is time to take responsibility for our church, regardless of how much our current bylaws prevent us from exercising that authority. It grieves us that the only voice that has never been heard in all of this is the voice of the current elders.
Lead Pastors - you can lead the way and your men will follow.
Volunteer Pastors - you carry more weight than you know.
Staff Pastors - Jesus is good and sovereign and he will take care of you.
It's been implied that Pastor Mark may be stepping down this week. If he does, then we can joyfully affirm his decision. If he does not, it will continue to be our belief that is what would be best for Pastor Mark and the church. But either way we must make the following clear:
•We, the elders of Mars Hill Church, love Pastor Mark and truly desire his full restoration to preaching Pastor of this church.
•Whether he were planning to step down or not, we direct that he steps down from ministry, submitting himself under the authority of the elders of the church, who will oversee the details of his restoration plan.
•He must step down not only from the pulpit, but from all aspects of ministry and leadership.
•He will continue to receive his salary so long as he continues to cooperate with the restoration plan set before him by the elders of Mars Hill Church.
•Dr. Tripp has agreed to serve us in a consulting role to oversee the restoration plan for Pastor Mark. We direct the BOAA to retain Dr. Tripp in this capacity, and in doing so also to agree that Pastor Mark only be restored when Dr. Tripp and all members of the BOAA and the Board of Elders believe that process to be complete.
• Lastly, we direct that this information (Pastor Mark stepping down in submission to the authority of the elders) be lovingly but candidly presented to the people of Mars Hill Church, as we know that this will be helpful in rebuilding their trust in their leaders and hope for their church.
We will close this letter with a sermon excerpt from Pastor Mark, exhorting the members of Mars Hill to follow their Jesus and their elders.
Part 3 of 1st Corinthians
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Pastor Mark Driscoll
January 22, 2006:
...That's what Paul's saying. "I don't remember atoning for the sins of the world. I don't remember living a sinless life and dying as a substitute in your place and rising to forgive your sins. Was I crucified for you? No!" And his third question: "Were you baptized in the name of Paul?" Is your ultimate allegiance to me, or Jesus? This is so important. I want you guys to respect me, the pastors and the leaders in this church. I don't want you to have too low a view of leadership, too high a view of leadership – the extremes that we see in the church in Corinth. At the same time, your primary and ultimate allegiance is not to me, and it is not to the pastors in this church. I will say this publicly: I am one of the pastors. They can out-vote me and fire me. They have total freedom to do so.
And if at any time in the history of this church the elders discipline me, do not be loyal to me. Be loyal to them; be loyal to Jesus. And if at any point – God forbid – I should say or do something that would disqualify me from being your pastor – and I have no intentions of, and I do live a life above reproach. And I'm not a sinless man, but I do love Jesus and I do love my family and I do love you. And if by – I just shudder to say this, but if I should ever say or do anything that the elders would need to fire me, do not be loyal to me. Be loyal to Jesus; be loyal to your elders. Be loyal to the pastors in your church. Trust them. Follow them.
And if you forget, this'll be archived. Pull it down and listen to it again, and say, "Mark, you told us to ignore you and follow the leaders in the church and Jesus." Do that – because at the end of the day, you're not baptized in my name. You're not ultimately loyal to me. You are not ultimately devoted to me. My job is to point you to Jesus. He was crucified for your sins. He forgives your sins. He is your God and Savior. He's the one when you are buried in baptism and raised in newness of life that you are celebrating and honoring – that the focus and heart and the devotion and commitment and the passion in the church must be for Jesus; no one else; no one else.
With the love of Christ,
Pastor Dustin Kensrue - Director of Worship / Worship Pastor at Mars Hill Bellevue
Pastor Drew Hensley - Lead Pastor at Mars Hill U-District
Pastor Mark Dunford - Pastor at Mars Hill Portland
Pastor Ryan Kearns - Director of Community Groups / Pastor at Mars Hill Bellevue
Pastor Ryan Welsh - Pastor of Theology and Discipleship
Pastor Adam Ramsey - Director of Student Ministry / Pastor at Mars Hill Bellevue
Pastor Cliff Ellis - Director of Biblical Living / Pastor at Mars Hill West Seattle
Pastor Gary Shavey - Pastor of Biblical Living at Mars Hill Bellevue
Pastor James Rose - Pastor at Mars Hill Ballard