Support the Elders
$54,347 of $60,000 goal
Paul Tripp counseled these men, saying, "This is what God ordained elders to do. You are going to risk your future - and I’m serious about this - by standing together and saying ‘It’s done. It’s over. We go no further. We’re done with skirting issues. We’re done mourning the loss of yet another leader. We are done with all the public humiliations and accusations. We are going to deal with our stuff and Mark, that begins with you. We will not continue. We will not plan further ministries. We will not cooperate with further ministries. We’re done. We’re gonna deal with these issues. And based on our authority as elders of Christ’s church, we are directing you to step down. We will fully support you and will do everything we can to restore you. We’re not divorcing you. We’re not kicking you out of the ministry. Our whole purpose is restoration. It’s the only way that change is going to happen, and no one is going to make that happen but the elders of Mars Hill Church.” This letter came to light on August 28th. You can read the letter in its entirety here.
To date one of the volunteer elders was dismissed from his role at the church. The remaining elders have been given a choice on how to proceed according to the these guidelines: When asked if the letter would be discussed the answer was ‘no’. If the elders wanted to stay they would have to champion change within current leadership structure by voicing concerns/issues through proper chain of command, which also means they are not able to talk with elders from other churches or skip levels of command. This is essentially a siloed format in order to keep control. If the elders would not abide by the current chain of command then they were asked to resign. The elders holding to the convictions in which they put in the August 22nd letter that the leadership structure was dysfunctional and not walking in the light could not in good conscience remain in Mars Hill Church. Three men, so far, have determined that they cannot abide by this request and have elected to resign their jobs, elderships, and memberships at Mars Hill. These men are Adam Ramsey (former student ministries pastor), Dustin Kensrue (former Bellevue Worship Pastor) and Gary Shavey (former Bellevue Biblical Living pastor). We believe that these are only the first and that more will follow—likely more than even the remaining elders from the original nine who signed the letter.
None of the three have been offered any form of severance. Their last paychecks will be September 15th and they will continue to have insurance coverage until the end of September. Adam Ramsey, due to restrictions imposed by his work visa, is required to leave the country and head back to Australia within ten days of finishing employment at Mars Hill. Mars Hill has decided to not honor the four week's notice that he gave them and currently has no plans to provide any financial assistance.
These men love Jesus and love His Church. By acting in faith according to conscience they and their families face varying degrees of hardship as they must now figure out what is next for church and work. We’d like to show love and support for them by providing for them financially during this time. We collectively want to say "thank you" for loving Jesus, truth, and the gospel more than stability and comfort and we want to love and serve them now since they have previously loved and served so many of us.
Updates will be posted as additional information becomes available.
Thank you for supporting these men,
Jon Krombein, Mike Wilkerson, Adam Wygle, Zack Hubert, Dwayne Forehand, and Zach Malm
There have been a handful of questions: whys, hows, logistics, etc. I will attempt to answer a few of them. Please note that these responses are mine (Jon Krombein). I am not speaking for anyone else involved in this effort.
Q1: Who is actually getting this money? How is it being divided?
A: I acted as the administrator of both this fund and Phil Smidt’s fund. In both cases, I never had any direct access to the money myself. I have not and will not see a cent of it. GoFundMe, as we learned putting this together last week, is a bit tricky. Only one person can be a beneficiary. With the Smidts that was no problem. For this fund, we explained to Adam, Dustin, and Gary how things work and they elected to have Gary act as the "lead beneficiary." He will receive the disbursement of the funds and the three of them, together, will decide how to split it up. We initially picked $60,000 as the goal because that very roughly works out to something like three months of severance and insurance costs. It's not exact; it's an estimate. The estimate was based on the assumption that they would divide it evenly, but the final decisions will be up to them. They may determine that one of them has more need than the other two and disburse accordingly. I'm fine trusting these honorable men to figure that out.
Q2: Didn't these men resign? Usually a severance would only be offered when someone is laid off.
A: Yes, they did resign. That is technically true. The details though are much more nuanced. These men were existing in the midst of a broken system. It is a system that, it seems, cares more about numbers, growth, platform building, and donor bases than Jesus, the Gospel, or people. These men took a big risk by trying to confront that system. As I understand it, they were given the choice to leave things alone, stop speaking up, and trust the broken system or to leave. They chose to leave. It's not getting fired, but it's a long way from a neutral separation as "resign" would seem to connote. They left under duress. As I said in a post on Facebook about this, "elders who rule well are worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching." (1Tim 5:17) These men have preached well by aligning their conviction with their actions. I believe it is appropriate to honor them.
Q3: What about everyone else connected to MH that is hurting? Why these guys and not others?
A: You have to start somewhere. Will other elders be pushed out and need help soon? Yes. We already know of several. What about current and former staff? Do we only care about elders? What about members who have been hurt? What about people who were pushed out long ago (Petrys, Meyers, Mois, others)? I love and care for everyone involved. I and others have some thoughts about what could possibly be done to help others. That is a huge project that requires significant planning and organization, and is underway. This GoFundMe fundraiser was an approach that could be built in a few days, while the larger project will take more time to build. I do want to see it happen though. A few of us former elders have suggested that we feel like the disciples in Mark 8. A vast multitude has need. They are tired, hungry and wanting to be fed. They need help and healing. Their needs are both spiritual and practical. Jesus is ultimately the one who provides, yet he calls his disciples to go gather what they can and to trust him to multiply it. I don't entirely know what that will look like in our situation. I do know that we'll need Jesus to make it happen. We love and serve a gracious God. His love and care is extravagant and overabundant. Hopefully, sooner than later, a sustainable solution will materialize. Whatever that is though, it will require God's miraculous love and provision and many many more people who trust Jesus and put their conviction into action.
For the time being, thank you for loving these men and their families, and for allowing me (and the others who help put this together) to be conduit of blessing for them.
Here's a quick note of thanks from Adam, Dustin, and Gary:
"We are blown away at the encouragement we have received from so many people. Thank you for showing the love of Christ to us and our families in the midst of a difficult and sad time, through your generosity, your kind words, and your prayers on our behalf. We appreciate each of you more than we could possibly express. Thank you.
To God be the Glory,
Gary, Dustin, & Adam"
Does the money donated simply get split 3 ways between Adam, Dustin, and Gary?
@John Cardwell... The Ramseys are going to try to plant a church in Australia...no funding lined up aside from 3 months from a sister church. They had no "plan" to leave/move internationally and are still reeling from the shock of breaking rental/lease agreements, moving 3 little kiddos, being mid-adoption process, and just finding out today that they have TWINS on the way. With no insurance past this month, and 10 days to leave the country after their last day of MH employment (due to VISA regulations)...they are VERY much in need of support and encouragement.
Doesn't Gary Shavey own a $90,000 vehicle, Adam has a job lined up on the Austrian Riveiera and Dustin Kensrue have cash from Thrice? Am I off base here or does it seem crazy they would accept this cash?
Blessings to you three men. May you grow from this experience and find the goodness of God's people in the midst of your pain. In His Love.
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. John 1:5