Editor’s Note: The era of Mars Hill Church and its founding pastor Mark Driscoll is a phenomena not easily forgotten within the Christian community—especially for members who were a part of the Seattle-based movement. TogetherLA felt it worthy to refresh our memories as to what happened in a general way and perhaps learn from what had to be a teaching moment for many, many people. Below is an outstanding piece written by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra for The Gospel Coalition. Readers can begin reading and follow the link provided below for the full article.
Seattle Reboot: Life After Mars Hill
By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
Four years ago, Mars Hill Church in Seattle seemed too big to fail.
Just 17 years old, the church was drawing an average weekly attendance of 12,329 to 15 locations. In fiscal year 2013 alone, Mars Hill baptized more than 1,000 people, planted 53 churches in India, and supported 20 church planters and evangelists in Ethiopia. It released 50 new worship songs, gave away more than 3,000 Bibles in the United States and Ethiopia, and took in nearly $25 million in tithes and offerings.
Then, in a few breathtaking months, the whole thing collapsed. Founder and lead pastor Mark Driscoll’s bent toward the provocative, which was part of his draw, increasingly came under fire, fanned by a series of controversies.
Driscoll announced he was taking a break in August 2014, then resigned less than two months later. By the end of October, lead preaching pastor Dave Bruskas announced the whole thing was shutting down.
“We don’t have anything in church history this apocalyptic, as far as a behemoth like Mars Hill—not only a city but national and international voice—collapsing in a two-month period,” said Taproot Church pastor Dan Braga, who watched the whole thing from the adjacent suburb of Burien.
Mars Hill’s final announcement was optimistic: “With her final breath, Mars Hill gave birth to 11 newly independent churches where, by God’s grace, the gospel will continue to be preached, his name will be glorified, and thousands will be saved by Jesus.”
Technically, that was true. But the legacy of Mars Hill is a lot more complicated…
BROKEN CITY: Is there hope for Los Angeles? We continue the conversation at Metropolis in Santa Monica on Philosopher’s Cafe night on June 15 at 7:30 pm. Pastor Steve Snook of Metro Church will moderate the panel that will include urban leaders talking about the tough issues and the possible solutions. The event is free and everyone is invited. #santamonica #losangeles #dtla #dtlaartsdistrict #hollywood #venicebeach #carson #boyleheights #inglewood #silverlake #echopark #westwood #culvercity #westside #southbay #valley #longbeach #torrance