Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ballard News Tribune quotes Justin Dean saying Mars Hill Ballard growing and can accomodate people from closing campuses, commenter states this has not been the case

Wenatchee The Hatchet sometimes wonders how on earth Justin Dean still has anything to do with MH PR. 
It's not like the stuff he said at the start of 2013 about Mars Hill and Lifelong Aids Alliances turned out so well, for instance.

And it's not as though what he said really cleared up much when Mars Hill took interest in real estate Sound Transit had already bought.

But perhaps the recent campus closures could go to show there's no situation connected to Mars Hill where the waters couldn't be muddied just a teensy bit more by Justin Dean saying anything.

Why?  Well ...

 The move comes after the church announced last week that the churches would be closing because of a decline in financial “giving” after “negative media attention.”

“Some of our churches can no longer support the ongoing costs associated with their buildings and paid staff. We acknowledge that the reason for much of the decrease in attendance and giving falls to us, the leadership of Mars Hill,” said spokesperson for Mars Hill, Justin Dean

“The Ballard church has been growing and is in a strong position to support those coming in from other churches.” [emphasis added]

Because Ballard is relatively close to the U-District and Downtown locations, Mars Hill hopes that the change in venue will not negatively affect the number of attendees.

“Our Ballard church has plenty of room to accommodate people coming from these other churches, and we can increase the number of services as needed. … Some will be traveling farther than others, but our Downtown Seattle and U-District churches are fairly close to the Ballard church location. Our hope is that everyone will make the transition to the Ballard church, or another nearby Mars Hill church. If they are not able to make it then we know there are many great Bible-believing churches in the area, and if they choose to attend them instead then we hope they are a blessing to those churches.”

Dean reported that leasing arrangements influenced the decisions to move the Downtown congregation.

“We recently received notice from the Daniels Company that they are exercising an option in our lease for the Downtown Seattle location that would force us to move out of the current building within 12 months. Because they are enabling this option earlier than we expected, this results in a significant cost savings and payout to Mars Hill. We have been discussing what the best option would be for this church, whether we find a new location or consolidate the church with Ballard. Ultimately due to our current financial position, we believe the best option is to consolidate with Mars Hill Ballard.

 One commenter and churchgoer responded to Justin Dean, MHC spokesperson, stating that the Ballard congregation is growing and that the reason for closing the University District location was because of financial issues brought on by a drop in attendance.

“Attendance at Mars Hill U-District has declined significantly in recent months, and the cost of operating the church compared to giving that is received makes keeping this location open untenable. We feel the people of U-District would be better served by joining the family at Mars Hill Church Ballard. ... This decision was made carefully and prayerfully by our Executive Elders with consultation from Lead Pastors and approved by our Board of Advisors and Accountability,” stated Dean. 

 The commenter on the BNT site wrote, “Ballard has been growing? That's not true. In fact when I attended there a couple of weeks ago the entire back half of the auditorium was curtained off. [emphasis added] There might be an attendance decline at the university campus but that campus has always had a small and fluctuating attendance due to the majority of attendees are students. When school is out attendance is down when school is in session attendance is up. The reason they are consolidating is to give them a reason to pull Drew Hensley (lead pastor of the u-district campus) out or the lead pastor role because he was one of the nine signers of the charges submitted against Driscoll.”

Of course if Mars Hill Ballard is really growing Justin Dean can post the attendance listings for this year and last year to prove that's the case.  Wenatchee The Hatchet would love to see the attendance figures for Ballard month-by-month over the last two years. 

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