Sunday, September 07, 2014

Mars Hill Church: Downtown and U-District campuses to consolidate with Ballard, Phoenix closing, Huntington Beach risks closure, Spokane plant still on as also more church planting

Just yesterday Wenatchee The Hatchet broached the probable necessity of Mars Hill closing campuses in the wake of their financial woes

and this morning ... Dave Bruskas has given an official update on what the closures are going to be.  Wenatchee The Hatchet was only about half right.
Changes at Some of our Churches
By: Pastor Dave Bruskas
Posted: Sep 07, 2014

Mars Hill,
In last week’s Weekly blog post we shared about the tough financial position we find ourselves in. As we have been seeking to operate within our current means, we have come to the regrettable conclusion that we must consolidate some of our church locations, and close or transition others.

Downtown Seattle & U-District

Throughout the day today our pastors at Downtown Seattle and U-District are informing those churches that they will be soon be consolidating with Mars Hill Church Ballard. The first Sunday that all three churches will meet together at Mars Hill Ballard will be October 12.


Mars Hill Church Phoenix is announcing today that their last service as a Mars Hill church will be Sunday, September 28th. We are exploring opportunities for Pastor Tim Birdwell to continue the church in a different form and how we can best support that possible effort.

Huntington Beach

Additionally, our pastors in Huntington Beach are sharing with the church today that they too are in jeopardy of having to close their doors if they are not able to increase giving by the end of the year. We have also ceased any further development of a Los Angeles church plant.
Please pray for the people attending these churches. If you attend one of these churches, we are deeply sorry, and we hope you are able to make one of the services at Mars Hill Ballard work for you and your family, or if you are in Phoenix that we can work together to best support future opportunities. Your pastors love you and want to help make this as easy for you as possible, so please reach out to them with any questions and needs. I also want you to know we take this very seriously, your pastors grieve over this, and we have made these decisions with great care, and after much prayer.


Even as we are forced to make some hard decisions regarding some of our locations, we are dedicated to planting new churches so that we can lead more people to Jesus. We will explore opportunities as they are presented and as sufficient funding is available. We will continue with our plans to plant Mars Hill Church Spokane, which currently has a strong core group, a location that we believe is sustainable, and a fiscally responsible plan for needed improvements.
While it’s with a heavy heart that I have to deliver this news, I am very thankful for a regional network of churches that can work together as a family. I hope you will join me in praying for these churches and all of those affected by these changes.
Pastor Dave
Well, Wenatchee's guesses were just guesses, but they seemed to be slightly educated guesses.  It seemed possible U-District would/could get closed given the nature of the reported shortfall via slides published at Throckmorton, but without an announcement of the real estate being up for sale it seemed hard to be sure Mars Hill U-District was set for closure.
Now it looks like there's no room for doubt there.  Selling off both the MH corporate headquarters office and the U District campus would definitely solve some revenue issues ... if Mars Hill weren't apparently still committed to launching a new campus AND Mars Hill Schools in the midst of this fiscal situation.  Insisting on a new church plant even in the midst of closing three campuses and potentially closing a fourth one seems, to Wenatchee The Hatchet, to still be resolutely missing the point.  It was the dogged devotion to constant expansion year after year without consolidating a healthy donor base that led to the kind of fiscal crises that Driscoll and other executive elders have intermittently regaled the church with to begin with.  Staying the course on the planting side even in the midst of closures seems  foolhardy. 
So of Wenatchee's guesses from yesterday
Downtown              yep
Huntington Beach   maybe
Rainier Valley         totally wrong
Phoenix                   yep
Was afraid to guess "U District" because of the owned property but it seemed like a good possibility.  Now Bruskas has basically removed lingering doubts with the official announcement.

So Wenatchee was only about half right on specific sites but right about the basic prediction that campuses would have to get closed. Such is life.

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