Saturday, August 01, 2015

another visitation in irony, does God still want MH to have the International Paper Building after all if they're auctioning off assets? revisiting Driscoll's warning against the "God told me" card and the 2013 "Good for Bellevue" claims

Since there is no longer a Mars Hill as more than a holding company for assets (if that), it's all the more striking to revisit Mark Driscoll preaching in May 2014 about how you can't just pull out the "God told me" card.  Moreover, it's fascinating to revisit "Good for Bellevue" in this light.

Pastor Mark Driscoll
ACTS (5:12-42)
May 04, 2014

So I want to be careful with this because this can be an opportunity for spiritual abuse. Because sometimes people say, “God told me.” Well, we’ll see, OK? You can’t just pull out the “God told me” card. [emphasis added] Ladies, let’s say you meet a guy and the guy says, “God told me to marry you.” “Interesting, he didn’t tell me or my dad, you know, so I don’t have to just assume that because you say the Lord says that the Lord in fact has spoken.”

You need to be very careful. Somebody comes along, “God told me to plant a church.” Let’s check that. All right, you can’t—I mean, 1 Corinthians 14 is clear. If you think you got a word from the Lord, you’ve got to check it by the leaders. So what we’re looking for, if you believe God has told you something, especially to do something that is difficult like this, we’re looking for a godly person—Peter’s a godly person. In godly community—it says he’s with the apostles, they’re all agreed. Under godly authority—they all agree on this. With a godly motive—to talk about Jesus. Doing a godly thing—wanting to minister to people. In a godly way—by being open in public and not hiding anything. So if you believe the Lord has told you something, he may have, but I would ask, “Are you a godly person in godly community under godly authority with a godly motive doing a godly thing in a godly way?” ... [emphasis added]

With all that in mind, let's revisit how Mars Hill Church broached the matter of their interest in getting the International Paper Building in later 2013.


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]

Notice that the added emphases aren't even to all the spots where Hurst implies that God's will for Mars Hill Church is a given with respect to a very specific piece of real estate.

For those who have followed this story it's worth noting that early on MHC was proposing that Sound Transit seized the real estate under eminent domain.

What MHC had claimed via Justin Dean to have offered above and beyond Sound Transit ended up being moot given that the Sound Transit purchase of the International Paper Building seems to have been finalized before Mars Hill even expressed interest in the real estate.

Well, despite the repeated statements to the effect that God wanted Mars Hill Church to have the International Paper Building is it possible God has changed His mind?  More recently Warren Throckmorton has mentioned newer discussions emerging from within Mars Hill leadership bout another piece of real estate that may or may not be God's will for Mars Hill Church to own now.

And if Mars Hill still existed there might be a case to be made God wanted them to have the building, but after Mark Driscoll resigned (not mentioning God as a reason for the resignation in 2014 but blathering on about it in 2015) it's looking like maybe God didn't want Mars Hill Church to have the International Paper Building after all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Delusions of grandeur.