Saturday, August 23, 2014

reviewing Turner's fiscal missives, noting that Good for Bellevue has vanished altogether, and how this may be a clue as to what the forthcoming big announcement "could" be

Some of you will no doubt remember this.
End of Fiscal Year 2014Thank you for your faithfulness! Fiscal year 2014 ended on June 30th and we are excited to report that we beat budget for the year! Thank you to each person in our Mars Hill family across our 15 locations and our Global Family across the world. 

Just as some of you may remember that.

Wenatchee The Hatchet did not see any particular cause to believe the financial situation for Mars Hill basic operating expenses was ultimately in peril.  Systemic layoffs have been happening at Mars Hill for as long as many can remember.  The real question was not whether they would merely "beat budget" for the basic annual expenses (like the as yet undisclosed salaries, housing allowances and so on for the executive elders) but capital expansion or high profile big-ticket public events.  It has since come to light that Mars Hill Church has cancelled Resurgence 2014 and the Jesus Festival (though there is a question hanging over how firmly scheduled that ever was with respect to Marymoor Park).  But Mars Hill Schools is on the way.  The guess Wenatchee The Hatchet would have is that MHC has a home for the schools project and for MH Bellevue to move into.  Not even Wenatchee The Hatchet has the time to trawl through local real estate listings to find out if this is the case but ever since went missing ...

Let's revisit what Wenatchee the Hatchet was able to preserve regarding the MH Bellevue situation as related by Thomas Hurst. The material was originally posted here:

From October 26, 2013, though the robots.txt introduced to MH websites make this link dead ...


Letter from Pastor Thomas Hurst

At the heart of every church plant is a “core group” of committed individuals who are always driving toward the mission of Jesus – making disciples and planting churches. This committed core sacrifice with great passion so that the church might grow and that more people would have their lives changed by Jesus. Much like the church elders, the members of a core group are able to see the vision of how the Gospel can change people, neighborhoods, even cities.

Through much prayer and consideration, the Executive Elders and I believe strongly that Jesus wants us to set down deep roots here on the Eastside by owning our next location [emphasis added] and planting a large healthy church that would include a training center. This location would serve as Mars Hill’s central operations center and regional hub for making disciples and planting churches.

Why Now?

God’s plans have far exceeded our own and, for his glory, He has given us fruit that has outgrown our current facility.

Our current location at the Danz building is a leased space and has been sold to the Rockefeller Group. They have announced plans to demolish the building and develop the entire block. Over the next few years our church would be situated in the middle of a major construction project, and ultimately we would be forced to move at the end of our lease in 2017.

The bottom line is this: God has had bigger plans for Mars Hill Bellevue all along, bigger than we could have ever imagined. When we moved into the Danz building we prayed for growth, and by God’s grace, the growth we’ve seen in Bellevue makes us one of the single fastest growing churches in America today. We need a larger location to accommodate what God is doing in our church.
We believe the right location is in Bellevue and that this church and training center will be the epicenter from which the Gospel will ring out around the world.

We’re Still in Core Group Phase
As we walk down the path God has laid out for us, we want to share with you a bit of a paradigm shift: Bellevue is now in “core group” phase. [emphasis added]

While many churches plant with a core group of 25 people, or 250 people, Mars Hill Bellevue is currently a core group of 2,500 people. As we look ahead, the Bellevue elders and the Executive Elders are not just praying for 1,000 people, or 5,000 people on a Sunday, we’re praying for 10,000 people to worship on a Sunday at Mars Hill Bellevue…10,000 individuals whose lives are forever changed by the Gospel. To this end, we need to think, act and pray differently, starting today.  If we wait until tomorrow, a year from now or three years from now when our lease is up, it will be too late.

With this in mind, we have found a site in Bellevue that meets these needs. I’m asking you to pray with us as we explore what it will take to move Mars Hill Bellevue to this new location, and how you can be a part of the mission.

The International Paper Property on 120th St.

After many months of searching and narrowing down our choices, only one building in Bellevue is available that meets the needs of the church that God is building on the Eastside. A few weeks ago we made an offer on a property in the Bel-Red corridor on 120th St. which is currently owned by the International Paper Company.[all emphasis added]

The space is about 180,000 sq. feet on 10.5 acres of property, located directly on the new light rail line being developed in 2017. The City of Bellevue has plans to develop the area immediately surrounding this site with retail, restaurants, and urban housing.

After renovations the property could feature:
Seating for 3,000+ per service
Local Bellevue Church office space
Central Operations office space
Media & Communications space
Much larger Kids Ministry area
Space for Mars Hill Students
Training classrooms for a future Bible college
Ample parking space on-site
Large common areas

Mars Hill Bible College
Part of this vision includes opening a Bible college. Recently we sent out proposal requests to the best Bible colleges in the U.S. with the intention of partnering with one of them to establish an accredited Bible school at Mars Hill Bellevue. We want to provide sound theological training for your children as we raise up the next generation of leaders and church planters.

We’re Not Done Yet
Upon submitting our offer for this property, we’ve hit a snag.

Sound Transit, the government agency responsible for building and operating the light rail transit system, has purchased this property to protect their interests, even though we offered to outbid any other offers.

Sound Transit intends to use this property to build an Operations & Maintenance Satellite Facility (OMSF), basically a large barn they will use to maintain the light rail trains, much like the one located in Georgetown just south of downtown Seattle. They have five locations in mind for this facility, and this property on 120th St. is currently their top choice.

“Good for Bellevue”
We believe, though, that this property is the location that God wants us to use to further the mission of the Gospel through Mars Hill Church [emphasis added], so we are continuing to pursue this property and work with Sound Transit to come to an agreement that works well for everyone involved.

We believe a Mars Hill church at this key location is far better for the church, better for the City of Bellevue, and better for the community and local economy than a transit maintenance barn. We will provide:

Immediate benefit to local commerce (restaurants, hotels, transit and more).
More jobs to Bellevue (150+ employees).
Much needed conference/multi-use space to Bellevue.
Ridership for Sound Transit will increase due to our large events and regular attendees because we will be located directly on the transit line.
We plan to use the existing structure, which supports local green initiatives and the development plan for the Bel-Red corridor.

The City of Bellevue can benefit greatly by having both Mars Hill Church’s largest facility and the Sound Transit OMSF located in the city. While Sound Transit has several options for their maintenance barn, we only have one option for our church. Our intention is to work with Sound Transit as they decide by the end of the year whether to use this location or choose one of the other locations that they have available to them.

Unfortunately we find ourselves in a position where we are going up against the government. Given the perspective, we are a small church with little chance of being able to make the government change their decision. However, we will continue to move forward with faith in a God who is bigger than any government. [emphasis added]

Why delete all that material in which Hurst explained the pressing and serious need for a new home for Bellevue?  Is there still only one building that meets the requirements the Mars Hill elders believe must be met for the path they think God wants them to take moving forward?  Or has another option potentially emerged?

If there is another building besides the ONE True International Paper Building available (where ever that new option may be), then there's no reason to have all that material up any longer.  Good for Bellevue can be gone. Mars Hill has probably not actually purchased the building (or even be close to having the money at hand) but they may have a workable site lined up for which they can do fundraising.  If so, it wouldn't be a bad guess to assume that Sunday might be a big fundraising pitch comparable to the 2005 capital campaign project Mars Hill did to get what has since become MH corporate headquarters. 

Speaking of which, you don't put the Mars Hill Church Admin (i.e. the corporate headquarters) out on the market if you don't think you have at least one real viable alternative for a replacement. Wenatchee The Hatchet has kept tabs on that site for years.

Now the possibility of a permanent home for MH Bellevue that could double up as the site for MH schools and MH corporate headquarters is just a guess, of course, and it could prove to be wrong come this Sunday when Mark Driscoll makes whatever the big announcement is being reported to be ... but it's not an entirely uneducated guess. These days it seems you can potentially learn more about what's potentially going at Mars Hill from what they purge than from what they publish. 

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