Saturday, March 24, 2012

HT Phoenix Preacher: Mike Cosper on Social Networking and the Discipline of Secrecy

In times when it turns out that church partisans and defenders of pastors are willing to bring up allegations of the predatory history of former members and the pastors are willing to discuss their sex lives (and lack thereof) in best-selling books Mike Cosper's recent blog entry is worth reading.  I'm not going to be subtle here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mars Hill November 2007 timeline

NOVEMBER 4, 2007
MH MEMBERS’ Questions posted on MHC Website in response to “Ask the Elders Anything” (Members were allowed to ask questions during a 72-hour window of time – then the website was permanently shut down.)
NOVEMBER 9, 2007
ELDERS’ 142-Page Document in Response to Members’ Questions
(includes a four-page cover letter by Mark Driscoll)
NOVEMBER 18, 2007
The Seattle Times, Janet Tu, Firing of Pastors Roils Mars Hill Church

Then there was the November 18, 2007 sermon "Sex, a Study of the Good Bits from Song of Solomon"

You know cross-referencing these things seems weirdly illuminating. Trying to put out fires of controversy over firings and by-laws one week, stoking the fires of thinking about how oral sex is commanded by Jesus another week, and talking about how conflict is  It looks like the 2007 Scotland sermon was sort of like some of the 2002 men's training seminars.  2007 preaching was even more full of recycled stuff than I previously thought.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Driscoll on the departure of co-founding elder Mike Gunn

The question of what happened to Mike Gunn has consistently (though not frequently) come up in discussions of the history of Mars Hill.  Though it has not been a commonly discussed question it still comes up just often enough that I think it will be helpful to refer to Mark Driscoll's description of what happened in his 2006 book. .

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006

pages 147-148

I began writing out how I envisioned our church at 3,000-plus people. I chose this number because roughly half of all megachurches have between 2,000 and 3,000 people, and the other half have over 3,000 people, according to a conversation with John Vaughan of Church Growth Today. This means that the 3,000 barrier is the most difficult of any church size to overcome. Therefore, it seemed prudent to push for that goal with plans to reorganize if and when we got over the 3,000 mark.

So I began to reverse-engineer a plan for our church to grow to more than three-thousand people with help from Jamie and Tim. In the end, we decided that what was in the best interests of our our mission to the city was not in the best interests of each of our elders.  I knew God was compelling me to state the vision to the elders. And I knew that the vision would quite possibly split the church three ways between the founders--Lief, Mike, and me.  Nonetheless, I met with our elders to seek their input on the recommended changes, knowing it could undo all that we had worked so hard to accomplish. We spent a lengthy day going over the proposal, and things were tense.

Mike and two elders chose to take their church service out as a separate church plant.  The decision was tough because I genuinely loved Mike, and still do.  He was an older man who had faithfully encouraged and supported me through the toughest times in our church.  But he wanted his own pulpit and felt called to a missio9n in a different part of the city and would need to be released so that we could each follow the mission Jesus had called us to. Many of our people loved Mike and would leave with him, which meant we might take a hit in terms of leaders and dollars. But it was the right thing to do for the gospel.

Driscoll on a property in 2006, Munson on the property in 2007

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006
page 176

Our current facility cannot accomodate much growth beyond our current four Sunday services. Additionally our kids' ministry is bursting at the seams, our Capstone classes are in desperate need of space, and our cramped, windowless office space would be perfect if we were a third-world sweatshop.

So the elders voted to purchase a 43,000-square-foot dumpy warehouse Jamie found one block away from our current building. When the project is completed, we will have two buildings only a block apart, each hosting church services, with 1,300 seats in one location and a projected 1,000 seats in the other. We will be able to grow to more than 10,000 people per Sunday through multiple services in multiple locations. Each service will have live worship teams, butI will only be live in some services and in video in others.

Page 72/145 from Mars Hill: A miracle of Jesus
November 9, 2007

Section: Stewardship

Answers submitted by Pastor Jamie Munson
Q: What is the status and future plans for the property M.H. owns just north of the Ballard campus?
We purchased the building on 50th with the intention of performing a massive renocation, and by connecting it with our Leary building, to create a large campus in the middle of the city. Sicne the 50th building dedication, our renovation plans were delayed by our attempt to obtain a change of use permit. During the permitting delay we were gifted a building in West Seattle and undertook renovating and opening that building as our next campus. At the time of these changes we communicated this to the members of the church openly and honestly as we wanted to be faithful to the stewardship and generosity of the body. Also, each quarter a letter is sent to members, along with their donor statement, urging faithful stewardship and giving updates to vision and building strategies. In addition, Pastor Mark wrote a lengthy letter that was sent ot members electronically, and handed out at all campuses explaining the shift ot a multi-campus church before the West Seattle campus opened.  Due to the restrictions and expense of buildilng a single large buildilng in our city our focus has shifted from one large campus to becomine a multi-site church of smaller campuses.  Your elders feel this will enable a more effective and cost-efficient spread of the Gospel throughout Seattle and beyond.  It will still take capital campaigns and the purchasing of facilities but allows us to spread and grow more quickly as Jesus leads.

We are leasing part of the 50th buildling to generate some revenue. We are also performing a minor renovation of portions of the building to alleviate our current office and production space needs.  This will eliminate the need for leasing office space for our use.  In addition the property provides some much needed parking relief for our Ballard campus and also needs such as storage.  An average church of our size functions with about 4 times as much square footage as we do with our Ballard campus.  Storage, meeting rooms, office space and parking are greatly needed and this property serves those with purposes in the mean time. Future development options are being considered as well but there are no firm plans for these.  This is further complicated as the city is considering further zoning changes and restrictions in industrial areas of the city.  Until this legislation is decided it hangs property owners up as the future possibilities of the property are unclear.  We are hanging on to the property and using it to the fullest extent possible in the mean time.

Had Mars Hill leadership heeded or sought counsel from business owners in the region they might have found out that the property discussed here by Driscoll and Munson was only zoned for industrial use and thus have avoided ever considering the purchase.  Whether or not the permit for change of use was ever granted by the City of Seattle is something I leave to others to verify.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A process of triangulation, Mars Hill in 2007

Certain anonymous types have laid into Jared Wilson in the last few months.  The reason? They These anonymous people assume Wilson is just some guy eager to kow-tow to Driscoll.  Wilson is right to take issue with these things from anonymous trolls who haven't read what he's been blogging for years (as I have).  For anonymous trolls who haven't bothered actually reading Wilson's blog for years I've got some news for you, Wilson has made some pretty serious statements of disagreement with Driscoll's pastoral approach over the years I'm about to quote.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

a summary of accounts and references so far

If it were possible to set up a single post that could be used as a "one stop shopping place" to find everything that I, the Alsups, or the Petrys (of late) have publicly discussed about Mars Hill past and present this is a candidate.  I've been trying to compile not just what we have separately written but to also compile public statements by MH as an institution and individuals. 

This week a new site has gone up that documents Paul and Jonna Petry's story of their time within Mars Hill, mainly told through the primary documents of correspondence and formal church announcements in many cases. It is here:

There are quite a few other reference points and discussions.  I've attempted to compile my research into a variety of things related to Mars Hill in links mentioned below.