Our elders and pastors work together to serve and shepherd our church family in our mission to glorify God by making disciples and multiplying churches among all nations, beginning in greater Washington, DC. We have created this page to provide regular updates for members of our church. If you are a member of the church and have questions or concerns, we invite you to meet with one of our pastors at your location to discuss them.
In May and June 2022, we have been walking through a significant moment in the life of MBC, and we have been praying that God would help us move forward together as a thriving, united church bringing hope to the nations, starting in our city. Voting for this meeting concluded Sunday, June 5, and we are pleased to announce that an even higher percentage of voting members affirmed elders to lead us into the future.
MBC is and has always been an independent, nondenominational Bible Church. On March 23, 2016, MBC began officially partnering with ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) when Lon Solomon made a specific motion among the elders to partner with SBC ministries to plant churches in Metro Washington and to send missionaries around the world. One of the clear provisions of this partnership is that it did NOT involve MBC joining the Southern Baptist Convention. All of our elders have confirmed this understanding, and you can read the SBC’s own confirmation of the original partnership agreement HERE.
By God’s grace and for God’s glory, MBC’s partnership with the SBC’s North American Mission Board has born significant fruit over the past five years, with more than 40 churches planted across greater Washington, DC. In addition, MBC’s contributions to SBC ministries supported missionaries from our church spreading the gospel overseas on mission through the SBC’s International Mission Board.
Even in the midst of these very positive partnership results, there have been concerns as well. Despite MBC’s status as an independent, non-denominational Bible church, various ministries of the SBC have communicated about MBC or listed MBC in the SBC database in ways that have been unhelpful and confusing for our congregation. In light of these concerns, the elder board decided to suspend our contributions to ministries of the SBC in June 2021 to allow for a full review of our partnership agreement.
On August 9, 2021, our elders – including our newest board members Chuck Hollingsworth, Ken Tucker and Jim Burris – completed their comprehensive review and voted unanimously to withdraw from the 2016 partnership agreement between MBC and ministries of the SBC, effective immediately. We prayerfully believe that we can continue to pursue church planting and global missions work in ways that unambiguously and clearly communicate our status as a nondenominational Bible church. We have already begun the process of notifying ministries of the SBC concerning this decision. You can read one of our recent communications HERE.
To be clear, MBC is and has always been an independent, nondenominational Bible church. At the same time, we have celebrated and will continue to celebrate the opportunity to partner together with other churches and ministries in kingdom causes that are larger than our own church family. We praise God for many people who have come to faith in Christ, churches that have been planted, and missionaries who have been sent around the world through this partnership with ministries of the SBC and many other gospel partners, and we look forward to continued partnerships in the future with various churches and ministries for the accomplishment of our church’s mission: to glorify God by making disciples and multiplying churches among all nations, beginning in greater Washington, DC.
We want to address differences among us in biblical ways that honor Jesus and one another, and reflect the biblical picture of love for one another that we see in 1 Corinthians 13. We want every follower of Jesus to know that even amidst disagreements, it is possible to be a church family. We want MBC to be a place where people with all kinds of convictions on matters of conscience can thrive. So wherever possible, we want to work together to move forward together on mission even with our different perspectives. When moving forward together may not be possible and Christians find it necessary to part ways as Paul and Barnabas did in Acts 15, we want to do so lovingly, holding onto the hope of reconciliation, relationship, and partnership together in the gospel in the days to come.
MBC leaders welcome any questions or concerns from church members. If you are a member of the church and have questions or concerns, we invite you to meet with one of our pastors at your location to discuss them. We are committed to addressing questions and/or concerns in as biblical and Christ-honoring way as possible, always praying and working together with an eagerness to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, in all humility and gentleness, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:1-3).
No. During a portion of a worship gathering at Tysons last summer, an individual who is not (and has never been) a member of our church stood and began shouting in a coordinated, filmed effort to disrupt our scheduled vote on elder nominees. According to our protocols, our security team calmly evacuated people from the area around this individual until law enforcement escorted him out of the room. According to Virginia law, it is a crime to willfully disrupt the order of a religious service. More importantly, 1 Corinthians 14 makes clear that God values order in any gathering of the church, and we expect those who are participating in our gatherings to honor that order in a way that honors God and one another. As mentioned above, church leaders are glad to meet with church members about any questions or concerns they may have in biblical ways that honor Jesus and one another. If you are a member of the church and have questions or concerns, we invite you to meet with one of our pastors at your location to discuss them.
When individuals disrupt our gatherings as a church, we always consider disallowing that person from attending our gatherings in the future. At the same time, we aim to be redemptive in every way possible. Toward this end, we are pursuing personal conversations with individuals who have disrupted our gatherings and/or sown division in our church in unbiblical ways. Our hope is to address sin seriously and guard the body of Christ carefully while also pursuing reconciliation and restoration in every way we can.
We have seven elders: Jim Burris, Larry Cooper, Wayne Fujito, Chuck Hollingsworth, Patrick Lee, David Platt (who serves as our Pastor-Teacher according to our church’s constitution), and Ken Tucker. These elders serve the church alongside Lead and Location Pastors including Wade Burnett, Mike Kelsey (Montgomery County), Todd Peters (Prince William), Eric Saunders (Arlington), Nate Reed (Tysons), and Britten Taylor (Loudoun), as well as many other pastors at our different locations. All of the pastors on church staff mentioned in the previous sentence are considered Associate Pastors according to our church’s constitution. Ultimately, all of our elders and pastors serve under the direction of Jesus as the ultimate Leader of His church.
Radical is a book written by David Platt over ten years ago exhorting followers of Jesus to give their lives to truly follow Jesus no matter what it costs in this world, knowing that He is our reward. That book eventually led to the formation of Radical, a registered, independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit ministry dedicated to equipping Christians to live on mission. David Platt founded Radical before coming to MBC.
Radical and MBC are different in the sense that MBC is a local church with a mission to glorify God by making disciples and multiplying churches among all nations, beginning in greater Washington, DC Radical is not a local church; instead, Radical exists to serve and help local churches like MBC (and other Christians churches around the world) accomplish their mission. As such, MBC partners together with Radical in ways that are mutually beneficial and intentionally designed to help MBC carry out our mission. The following include some of the many ways that MBC and Radical partner together:
To summarize, MBC is a local church devoted to making disciples and multiplying churches among all nations, beginning in greater Washington, DC, and Radical exists to help churches like MBC and Christians around the world (including members of MBC) to accomplish the Great Commission that Jesus has given us.
No. The existence of this question has been extremely surprising to us because we have not at all been discussing this. On the contrary, we just completed a fairly extensive office renovation at Tysons. In addition, we have recently built out our first 24/7 location in Arlington, and we have authorized our real estate teams to pursue long-term strategies for both Prince William and Loudoun (where we currently lease facilities). Even still, we have tried to discern why people might raise this question.
Years ago, before David Platt came to MBC, staff leaders conducted an assessment of the Tysons facility in order to determine the monetary value of our overall assets as a church. However, there was never a plan to sell the facility.
Also, over recent years, we have said many times that our desire as a church is for every member to be equipped and empowered to make disciples here or anywhere in the world in ways that are dependent solely upon God’s Word and God’s Spirit, regardless of the availability of church buildings or programs. We have said that we only want to hold tightly to God’s Word and God’s Spirit, not our buildings or traditions, willing to do whatever Jesus calls us to do to reach people with the gospel. However, we have not taken any steps toward selling the Tysons facility. While we don’t want to be dependent on any building to glorify God as a church, we are grateful for the buildings He has provided, and we want to steward them well for the accomplishment of our mission as a church. The answer is an emphatic “No, we are not selling the Tysons building.”
We teach only what the Bible says about justice and race, including the development of a lengthy discipleship resource that is still in the “draft” stage and that has received more than 1,000 additions and suggestions from MBC members. CRT is a buzzword today, often used as an accusation (like “woke”) to label someone in the body of Christ in a way that cuts off any further discussion. We understand CRT to be a human (and therefore inherently flawed) effort towards understanding injustice. As followers of Jesus, we always want to listen to the concerns and observations of those around us, but we never want to elevate those concerns above our foundational belief in God’s Word. The Bible teaches that all expressions of racism are sin, displeasing to God, and incompatible with following Jesus, but we do not need a “theory” in order to communicate this truth.
In June 2020, David and Mike joined many other church leaders and members from all around metro Washington, D.C., in an explicitly Christian march to pray for unity and healing in the midst of escalating racial tensions. Mike’s son held a poster saying, “Black Lives Matter to God,” as Mike and his dad (a longtime pastor in Washington, D.C.) led in prayer on the lawn in front of the Capitol. The gospel was proclaimed to the surrounding crowds, and people were invited to trust in Jesus.
Lon Solomon is the former pastor of MBC, and he was not at all pushed out of MBC. Lon’s numerous communications to the church in 2017 affirmed that he was the one who approached the elders with the idea that it was time for him to transition out of his role as Lead Pastor for MBC. We are extremely grateful for God’s grace in Lon’s leadership over 37 years in our church family.
As you can imagine, church staff members are privy to all kinds of very private information concerning the members and attenders of the church. Non-disclosure agreements are a fairly standard way to protect that information even after someone leaves the MBC staff.
In addition, we should point out that the church is also bound by similar agreements. There are a number of things related to the employment of former staff members that we are prohibited from sharing, even though we might wish we were able to provide helpful context in certain situations. In short, a non-disclosure agreement protects both the people of MBC and the former staff members from the disclosure of sensitive information after the working relationship no longer exists.
Building upon God’s grace over 60 years since our church family started, our mission as a church family is to glorify God by making disciples and multiplying churches among all nations, beginning in greater Washington, DC. Grounded in biblical foundations, we are continually working to cultivate 12 biblical traits as a church: biblical teaching and preaching, biblical prayer, biblical evangelism, biblical discipleship, biblical membership, biblical leadership, biblical fellowship, biblical accountability and discipline, biblical worship, biblical ordinances, biblical giving, and biblical mission. We want to walk faithfully in obedience to God’s Word, shepherding the body of Christ at MBC as we together pursue the Great Commission in the next chapter of MBC.