One Body, Many Parts
Pastor Mark Driscoll
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
July 30, 2006
If you stream it at Mark Driscoll's site the sermon is 27:07
If you download it from here ...
That's one of the more amazing size reductions for a Driscoll sermon I've come across. Why was so much cut? Well, one possibility is that this was a sermon that, more than most others, dealt with a lot of stuff specific to Mars Hill and to Mars Hill's acquisition of real estate.
It's fascinating, really, because the epic level of excising this sermon was subjected to raises a question about how much Mark Driscoll pads his sermons. If you cut out the bragging/updating about real estate and local personalities; if you cut out the jokes and anecdotal observations; if you boil everything down to what he says is in the biblical text and what he says about the biblical text (he who's talked of his degree in exegetical theology) it's possible that a whopping two thirds of a Mark Driscoll sermon is just not necessary for preaching the Bible.
If you'd like to read a really long excerpt from what that sermon used to include, and don't want to listen to a decade-old Mark Driscoll sermon to find out how much got cut ... it just so happens here at Wenatchee The Hatchet we've got that old sermon transcript. This is mostly just the old stuff that referred to the nuts and bolts of real estate issues at what was Mars Hill back in 2006.
One Body, Many Parts
Pastor Mark Driscoll
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
July 30, 2006
So let me tell you what this looks like at Mars Hill and what this means. I’ll catch you up to speed. I was 19 years of age, in college, didn’t know Jesus.The Holy Spirit came, make me a Christian, changed everything, told me to start Mars Hill Church. Got married in college, moved back, worked in college ministry for a year and-a-half. Most of you know the story. It’s in the book, Confessions, you can pick it up on your way out, but, but the thing was, God said start a church in Seattle. And so I met with some pastors. I’m like, “Okay, I’m 25. God called me to start a church in Seattle.” They all said, “Do not do that.” Seattle is un-churched. It’s very liberal. There’s like one republican, but he’s trying to move, you know? And, and everybody is young, and are all committed to punk rock and anarchy, so good luck gettin’ ‘em organized. You know, there never gonna go for an org chart and, and they’re all broke and they’re all college students and singles and homeless. They’re not gonna give you any money. And there all moving all the time. They don’t own their homes so you’re – it’s gonna be shooting a moving target. There’s no Bible college, seminary or bookstore of any weight our size in the city because no one’s ever gotten there. It’s the least churched city in America. Run for your life. You know? And I was like, “Okay, but Jesus said to go, so we’re gonna do it.”
So we started a Bible study in our rental home, my wife and I did, in Wallingford and it started very small, about the size of a Mormon family. There’s like 10, 12 people. Not a big deal out of the shoe and just started teaching the Bible and praying at the age of 25 that God’d get this thing some traction
and we’d get somewhere. It outgrew our little home, we moved into a youth room at a church, moved into their main room, and in the fall of 1996 – the first week of October – week officially launched Mars Hill Church on Sunday evening. And you know what, over the years, we’ve had all kinds of trials and trauma and drama and we’ve moved a bunch of times and it’s a crazy story. You can read it. But here’s where we’re at. In the most unlikely, peculiar place in all of America.
We moved into this building, here in Ballard, at our Ballard campus, three years ago. We were a church of about 11 or 1,200. We’re now the church of 4 to 5000, depending upon the week. We’ve quadrupled in three years, in the least likely place in America. The church planting graveyard, where I know a list, personally, of over 30 people that have tried to start a church here and failed. And millions of dollars have been attempted to start these churches and nothing has worked. And what is just shocking to me is to recent reports came out. One said that we’re the 22nd most influential church in America. That’s out of over 400,000. Another one said we're the 15th fastest growing church in the nation. That’s out of 400,000 churches, okay? And we’re the only church in Washington and Oregon, on either of those lists, and those are the two the least churched states in the United States of America.
Kay, and some of you say, “What are you, bragging?” No, we’re blessed. We’re totally blessed. I feel like a kite in a hurricane. Just like every other kite, I just got a hurricane. It’s a cool ride. It’s a little crazy, but it’s a cool ride. God, the Holy Spirit apparently loves a lotta people in Seattle, is working on their heart, destroying a lot of people to Jesus, and is working through the people of Mars Hill in a way that I would use the word – and I don’t think I ever have – of miracle. I don’t throw that work around. I’m not one of those guys and TV, with white pants and a wife who looked like she lost a
paintball gun war, but I believe – I believe that we’re kinda living a miracle. That’s what I believe, right? That’s kinda what I believe. And that God keeps blessing. So what has happened is, we started asking the question, “Well, whereas this thing going and what are we gonna do now,” because this
year we went to five services in this building and quite frankly, it almost killed me and the staff. We’re doing 8:30, 10:30, 12:30, 5:00 and 7:00 and by this service, I wasn’t even a Christian, I was saying crazy stuff. And so I apologize but you know, it was like, “Well, we gotta figure something out. I mean, this is crazy.”
So what we did is we purchased a building that came up for sale a block away and we told you we needed $3 million and a bank loan to renovate that space, go to 1000 seats, open it up, and do services here and there and I’d walk between the two. We’re still waiting on the permits for that building. We do now own it. We’re in permit purgatory, just waiting for the permit – and waiting for some time now. And in the meantime, we said, “Well, we gotta do something to alleviate this growing, you know, number of people in Ballard. It’s very hard to get into. Let’s try a video service as an experiment in Shoreline.” Crista Ministry approached us. Very gracious people. The interim president of the time was a member of Mars Hill, said, “We’ve got about a 400-seat room. We’ve got a full daycare for kid space, lots of parking. You can have it on Sundays for free.” We can afford that.
So, we took it and we did some renovation – sound, light, video, chairs, paint – about $100,000.00. Carpet – got it all dialed in and we videotaped the morning service and then drove it up to Shoreline and played it on a screen. The musicians were live, everything else was live, and it worked. Actually, the service grew, very quickly, and right now, they’re running over 400 people on Sunday morning. It’s packed out. Last week alone, they checked in 16 new families with multiple kids, into the kids ministry. It’s bursting at the seams. We gotta go to two services in Shoreline. We’re like, “That’s gonna work. That’s gonna work.” Indeed gets around the biggest problem, which is I’m not omnipresent. [take heart reader, this was before 2008's "I see things"] I can’t be everywhere and the – and some of you will say, “Well, what about our other options? We don’t like this technological option.” Well here are our options: all right, our first option is, we say Mars Hill’s full. We put a big sign out that says, “Sorry, we’re full. The Mormon Tabernacle’s got seats. Go there. Get your underwear. Good luck.” We’re not gonna do that. You know, Plan B is that we get a huge room, four, five thousands seats, which I’m not averse to, and if you have one, gimme a call, but you know, we get this big room and we pull everybody together. But then we’re not reaching the whole city, everybody’s coming in.
The other problem is that the city and the county have outlawed large churches in the City of Seattle, so what we’d have to do to bring the love of Jesus to the city is first sue them, which seems like a weird place to begin. We want to talk about the love of Jesus. You’ve been subpoenaed. You know, I mean, that’s just a weird place to begin. And so, I mean, that’s probably not the best way to go and it – what we would have to do is sue, change the zoning. If we wanted, we’d have to buy a very large piece of land, and then we would have to get permits and we’d have to build a building that would be a couple hundred thousand square feet to get four – three, four, five thousand seats. We’re looking at, at this point, I’d probably six to eight years out and probably about $60 million. Which we don’t have, no one will lend it to us. I looked under all the couch cushions in the church, and it’s just not there.
So, that wasn’t a good plan and what we would have to do then, is say, “Well, we can’t grow for six or eight years. Nobody else can meet Jesus. Nobody else can worship Jesus. That’s it. We’ll see you again in a decade.” Which is not a good plan. Seven this technological capacity came in. We said, “You know what, we could try that. We could try that.” And it worked very, very well in Shoreline. And because it’s worked so well, we actually, as an elder team here, pastors – there’s 15 of us and a number in the process – we redid our constitution and bylaws. It took six months. It’s not the sexy part of the church, which it’s the parts they keeps you out of jail, so it’s very important. We redid our bylaws. There’s an executive team of elders – six men plus myself – we’ve been meeting an incredible number of hours to reengineer and rearchitect the whole church in preparation for our tenth anniversary this fall, saying, “How can we reach as many people as possible, still have a friendly relationship with the city. Work around the zoning requirements. Do it within budget. Do it on timeline and allow Mars Hill to go from a church of four to five thousand to a church of eight to ten thousand. Double, without having to spend $60 million and here’s the plan. Here’s the plan.
I start with Jesus’s quote – this is in your handout as well. “I will build my church,” and that’s Jesus – I love the fact that he says that – and he has been doing a great job at his job. So the next one. Here is Ballard. Here’s Ballard. This is what happens when you have tech guys with cameras. You’re like, “We could walk around.” “All right, fine.” Everybody’s – everybody’s gonna get seasick, but that’s cool.” So there’s Mars Hill Ballard, where you’re sitting tonight. Thirteen hundred seats, 4,000 square feet. We will continue to use this building, but there are a few problems with this building. One, we could use more seats, which is shocking, because we keep growing. Two, parking around here has gotten very, very tight. Today is sockeye salmon day and you’ll notice that there are trucks with trailers that are taking all the parking that we usually steal in the neighborhood, ‘cause all the guys are out fishing, which makes no sense because they get up at 5:00 in the morning to go fishing and they have fish at the store. So I don’t understand what this is all about. You get – whenever you wake up, you could just go get one. You know, I don’t understand.
So, the parking around here is really bad today, and one of the lots we usually use is being repaved, so we can use it. Additionally, just behind me, if you’ve seen that little Beirut lot, just to the south of us. Have you seen that thing? It’s all rocks, man. I mean, it’s a good place to have a war. And it’s just a totally bummed out lot, but here’s what their building there. A Trader Joe’s, a 24 Hour Fitness, looking at restaurants, coffee shops, because what’s coming into this area is condos. Hip, a young, cool, urban development as Fremont and Ballard come together, the industrial area is being transformed. What that means is, we’re gonna lose all the street parking that we’d been utilizing and we need to become self sufficient with their own parking, otherwise this building’s gonna be relatively obsolete for our use. So, that leads me to the next point.
There is the building a block away. We purchased it a year ago. It was heading into foreclosure. We purchased it for under market value. It has increased in value since that time, and this is just some interior and exterior shots of the space, and our plan was to turn that into a large room to see maybe 800 to 1,000 people. And so, what we have instead decided to do, first, we’re going to keep that building – and it’s been great – ‘cause according to King 5 television, they had a report that said that 98105, which is this zip code, is one of the five fastest, increasing valued zip codes in the State of Washington. Since we bought that building, as it was going to foreclosure, we already have gained a million dollars in equity in that building. We have no intention of getting rid of it, but here’s what we do want to do with it. We want to knock half the building down and just turn it into parking to
increase our parking capacity. Secondly, the other half of the building – we don’t feel that we have to use right now because of some other things that have come available that we’re gonna tell you about – but we’re gonna keep it. We’ll rent it out with the hopes that a tenant will pay most of our
mortgage. We can keep it then, and then if we ever do wanna build on it, we can develop it and do whatever we want with it but we feel it’s important right now to watch and see what happens with this neighborhood, particularly what happens to parking, and then make a determination down the road as to best use.
And the reason that we don’t need to develop it as we had thought is because of some other things have come available. Among those is Shoreline and these are some shots from the Shoreline campus and where we are meeting at Christa Ministries, at Shermer Auditorium. Four hundred seats, plus a full daycare. It’s amazing kid space. Huge gym for the kids to run around in. Lots of parking. They’re letting us use that on Sunday and now this fall for beginning, for midweek programming for nothing. It’s free. We don’t even pay for janitorial, we don’t even pay for utilities. It is a savings of over $100,000.00 a year. We can be there for two more years. It’s a savings of 200 plus thousand dollars. We love Christa. We’re very, very grateful for their kindness to us. Eventually, we will need to purchase a permanent site for our Shoreline. We’ll need to get them a permanent purchase campus, ‘cause we can only be there for two years. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if somebody let you how the house for two years for free? I mean that’s a very kind gift, so we are actively looking for another place to buy.
In the meantime, we also picked up another miracle. This is West Seattle. This is on 35th at the top of the hill in West Seattle as you head toward White Center. I grew up in this neighborhood. This is a church building that is an absolute miracle. I’ll tell you the story on this space. I tried to launch Mars Hill Church in that building ten years ago, and we were rejected, and I’ve always wanted to be in there since. And what happened was, is we were growing. I went to Pastor Bill Clem, who was leaving that congregation. He planted it for Acts 29 Church Planning Network, him and James Noriega, who is the other elder there and I said, “We’re maxed out. You got a fat building, 50,000 square feet, 1,000 seats.:” It’s a bigger building and the one you’re sitting in right now. I said, “Is there any way we to use it?” They said, “Well, we wanna reach as many people in West Seattle as possible. How about if we give it to you and work together?” we prayed about it for a second and said, “Yes.” That is a $5 million gift. That is a $5 million gift, right? And I don’t know if you’ve been tracking the real estate market, people aren’t giving away a lotta real estate right now in Seattle and so we have – we’ve taken Pastor James and Pastor Bill on staff at Mars Hill. We have taken their members through the Gospel Class and they’re now members of Mars Hill. They’ve been meeting as a core group over there. As we speak, there is $1.5 million of construction going on at the West Seattle campus, with the intention of opening in October in time for our ten year anniversary, and we want to expand over to West Seattle as well. We were thinking, “Well, we can borrow $8 million from the bank. We can spend $3 million and for $11 million, we can open up a 40,000 square foot location.” Well, we can now open more square feet for $1.5 million. So obviously, you take that opportunity.
The two cool aspects of this particular campus is one, is already zoned as a church, so we don’t need to fight use permits. We don’t have to bring it up to code. We can just walk in and use it immediately and it saves us, literally, a few years of permitting. Secondly, the log that it is on his only zoned for
15,000 square feet of building and it already has 50,000 square feet, and because as grandfathered in, we could use it all. We could never build this building today as it exists. And the cool thing with this building, a very Godly church that loved the Bible – started this church, built it, their denomination went liberal, dropped the doctrine of the inerrancy or perfection of Scripture and this building went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and was the test case for who owns the church building, the congregation or the denomination. [well, maybe not exactly "all the way to the Supreme Court as in the Court chose to hear the case, unless "certiorari denied" still counts] The congregation lost and these people actually bought their own building back, because they refused to drop the authority of Scripture as their value. And so, there were some Godly older saints who paid for this building twice. It then went into decline but there is still a core of these people, like in their 70s and 80s, that are now members of Mars Hill. Grandmas tithing, waiting for us all to show up and fill that thing up again, and they’re praying us in. It’s a really cool God story and what God has done is pretty amazing.
And we’re now in Wedgwood. We bought a building last week. If you missed it, here’s Wedgwood. Wedgwood is just north of the university village, okay? If you haven’t got the point, we’re in a real estate acquisition phase as a church. We’re doing – we call it facility evangelism. We’re winning buildings for Jesus all over the city and I’m on the lookout for struggling, dead, dying churches. We’re like – and they’re calling us, saying, “Could we plug in?” “Yes, let’s talk about that. We love Jesus and real estate.” So, this is a building in Wedgewood. Now here’s what happened. We did not have sufficient office space for our staff. You take all the interns, deacons, elders, pastors, synonymous – it’s about 70 people, full-time and part-time. We have them in 4,000 square feet of office space. Some of you say, “That’s a big house.” Yeah, for a family of five, but if your wife was pregnant with 68 kids, that would not be enough, right? So, what happens is if you come here during the week, sitting in the chairs in the main room are interns on laptops with cell phones ‘cause this is their office during the week. So pick up your coffee cup on the way out. Don’t mess up their office.
So what we decided was, we need to appoint campus pastors at each location. And each of the campus pastors will be overseeing what’s going on at their campus. There will be stuff that is officing at each campus, and now will have an office campus where about half of the staff will be to run the website, the podcasts, the vodcasts, printed materials, organize community groups, spread out the counseling and everything can be in one location. So, this building – let me tell the story on this – mishap and really quick. It’s 18,000 square feet with about a – almost a hundred parking places on site. Is already zoned as a church, so we could use it immediately and we have good friends in the Southern Baptist Convention and one of their regional leaders came in met with me – he’s an old friend – said, “I heard you need space. We love you. What could we do to help.” He’s a really great guy, loves Jesus. I said, “We need an office building, big, zoned for our use. We needed immediately because we gotta get it ready for our ten year anniversary this fall. We don’t have all the cash up front. We’re tight on cash, so I need a friendly deal, can you do it?” Here’s what he said, “I have this building. It values and $2.5 million. I’ll sell it to you for $2 million.” That’s a half a million dollar savings. Right there’s a good deal. That’s 20 percent off the
And I said, “Well, we can’t pay for it all up front.” He said, “Here’s what I’ll do. You put $800,000.00 down and I’ll give you three years, no interest, no payments.” That’s over $300,000.00 savings. In three years, you get the financing for the $1.2 million and the question then is, well, what if, perchance, we can’t get the financing. He said, “I’ll carry the note at a 6 percent interest.” On a commercial property. That’s million dollar deal. Between the equity we gain in three years, what we save on principle and interest, and the $500,000.00 off of the purchase price, that’s a million dollar deal. In our 50th building, we have made a million dollars in a year. In West Seattle, we just picked up a five million dollar gift. It’s been a very busy but very cool summer.
And that leads me to where we are. This changes everything. One body, many parts. Right? These are all the parts and here’s what it’s gonna look like, because we all worked together. One, where multi-campus. We now own roughly $20 million of real estate, $3 million of sound, light, video, computers and assets, with the total debt of $12 million. That is for the purchase and renovation of these projects. To get them not completed, but certainly functional. Some of you will freak out and say, “But that’s $12 million dollars debt.” Actually, for a church of our size, that’s fairly reasonable. The banks are willing, and have lent us, that amount of money. And here’s the thing I would tell you. Look at it this way – if somebody came to you and said, “I am going to sell a real estate portfolio to you for 60 cents on the dollar,” you should take a deal. That’s where we’re at. We just got all these properties and we have 60 percent debt but we have 40 percent equity in our total collective real estate. And we have now moved from just using this 40,000 square foot building and the 20,000 at Shermer, we’ve added the 20,000 that we will continue to own next door, 50,000 in West Seattle and almost 20,000 square feet in Wedgewood. Additionally. Much as multi-campus, multimedium.
Here’s how it’s gonna go. Here at Ballard, the 9:00 AM, the 11:00 AM and the 5:00 PM in the 7:00 PM will continue to exist but I will not be here at the 11:00 AM service. Okay, I won’t be here. There will be a video of me. Will video the 9:00 AM in high def. A screen will come down. They’ll Photoshop me, make me highly attractive, so it’ll be, it’ll be even better than live. I’ll be tall and slim and handsome, it’ll be amazing and they’ll be live – everything will be the same, except for a I’ll just be on a video. And for those of you that are here, half of you are in the back of the room watching probably on a video anyway. So – and at Shoreline, were gonna go to two services, 9:15 and 11:15 and it’ll be live streaming and we’ll take the sermon and we’ll pipe it through the Internet up to Shoreline and they can essentially TiVo it and hit play whenever they’re ready to go, ‘cause they’re bursting at the seams, need to go to two services. That all allow them to grow to 800. And then I will drive, instead of doing the 11:00 here, I’ll drive over to West Seattle. My goal is to matriculate about 600 of you with me, plus 100 children – that’s the number that we’ve identified from West and South Seattle that are coming to Ballard – to take you with me to that 1,000 seat room and take Mars Hill to West Seattle really in a big way, starting in October, for our ten year anniversary, and to start to fill up that 1,000 seat room, which’ll make us the biggest church in all of West Seattle from day one. And that will leave more seats here at the 11:00, so that our visitors and guest who hit that service, because it is our biggest, can continue to come. Here’s our services. I mean this is crazy. 9:00, 9:15, 10:30, 11:00, 11:15, 5:00 and 7:00. Three via video, four live, three parts of the city all working together.
Additionally, one part, when body, rather, many parts. Multi-midweek. We’ve only been doing midway classes, junior high, high school, young marrieds, pre-marrieds, counseling, those kind of things, on Wednesday nights in Ballard. But starting this fall, up at Christa, there will be programming, classes and such for all age groups in Shoreline, beginning in October, at Christa. In Ballard, Wednesday nights, as always, beginning in October and in January, midweek programming, classes and such, beginning in January. What you to see – we’re going for as much of the city as we possibly can. We want to have – we have community groups scattered all over the region. You can go to a Bible study just about anywhere. Now, you can go to church and a lot of different areas. You can go to mid week and a lot of different areas. So, if you live in one area, work in one area, if you relocate, move, sell your home, go somewhere else, were probably gonna be there. We’re going with a Starbucks method, right? Starbucks is everywhere. Like I went – you know, if you go to the Starbucks and you say, “Hey, can I go to the bathroom?” They give you the key, you go in the Starbucks, there’s another Starbucks. It’s crazy. They open new Starbucks in the bathrooms of old Starbucks, that’s the way they do it.
So those are thought, if we’re gonna, if we’re gonna try and reach as much of Seattle as we can, we just spread this thing all over the place. We go everywhere, it’s totally viral, we penetrate neighborhoods, we take a preexisting buildings that are zoned for our use and we, we roll in good churches and we help them to do a better job. We continue to plant churches. Over 100 have been planted. Ten percent of our dollars are still going to church planting. One body, many parts. Kinds of things, tons of things going on. Here’s the big ask. First thing, pray. Pray like crazy. Pray like you mean it. Pray like a Pentecostal. But your hand in the air, say, “Jesus,” say “Holy ghost.” Yell a little bit. Say words like, “Claim it in Jesus’ name.” Do that, okay? Y’all gotta be praying this in. Seriously. I mean, I’m ready to truck in some Pentecostals just to teach us, right? You guys gotta stop praying like white bread indie rockers. You gotta start praying like charismatics, okay? Both of the charismatics are excited about that. Will get into that next week, too, because we are charismatics. And so you gotta pray. Pray for wisdom. Pray for dollars. Pray for timelines. You know, the reason we gave you this booklet, you can read through it and say, “Okay, these are a lot of things to be praying for.” We definitely need to pray this all in.
Secondly, serve, right? Everybody’s gotta get out of the stands and get on the field and suit up. It’s game time, if you’re a Christian, man, we got stuff for you to do. Become a member, get plugged in, help us find a meaningful place for you to serve. Right now, we’re working on almost 20,000 square feet in Wedgewood, 50,000 square feet in West Seattle. We’re doing demo, we’re doing painting, we’re doing construction and we need you to come out and volunteer and help, right? You say, “Well I don’t have any skills.” If you’re just an angry man, we’ll give you a hammer, you call it demo, it’s a ministry for Jesus, go break things, you’ll feel better, okay? If you can paint. If you could take out the trash. If you have any skills whatsoever, we can put you to work, it’ll save a lotta money and a lotta time to help us get these buildings ready to go for our ten year anniversary and we need everybody to do their part, whether it’s working in kids ministry, community groups – we need all hands on deck. If we take this church from four or five to eight or ten thousand, that means that we can’t have any spectators. Everybody’s gonna suit up for game day.
And lastly, on October 1, 2006, our ten year anniversary, we’re asking that the entire day’s offering would be given to these projects and that you would give $1.2 million in a day. Not Canadian money. That’s like 27 bucks. American dollars. $1.2 million American dollars. And here’s what we’re gonna do. What we told you was, when we got that other building, that we needed $3 million from you and we needed the loan from the bank to get that space done. We’re not asking for any more dollars than what we asked for a year ago. All we’re doing is taking those dollars and like fishes and loaves, hand it to Jesus. We are multiplying them. So we’re gonna do that building and West Seattle and Wedgwood and be looking for a space for Shoreline. All right, so rather than just doing 40,000 square feet, were doing more than 100,000 square feet. As what we’re looking at doing. And so what we’re trying to be, is good stewards. And I know some of you may be critical and you may say, “But I gave that money toward real estate.” It will still go toward real estate. It will just be multiplied. Now, out of that three million that we’ve asked for, we’ve received 1.8 million. Actually, about half of that has come from a handful of very generous people. Some other people have done what they can. We want you to start thinking, praying, saving, and saying, “Okay, the body is many parts, what is my part? What am I supposed to be praying in? What am I supposed to be doing to serve to make this happen? And financially, what am I supposed to be giving to contribute? What is my part?” and I’m gonna be excited on our tenth anniversary if we blow out a million dollar Sunday, knock all this out. Some of you then ask, “Well, is this it? Are we done?” Of course not. This is what we’re doing this summer. You know, it’s gonna be something else. I assure you of that. Now, I don’t know what it is. As the Holy Spirit leads and Jesus opens an opportunity, we’re a church that is happy to hit the brakes, turn on a dime, and go somewhere else if there’s more people to get saved.
And lastly, some of you will say, “So what is it all about the numbers?” Of course it is. The number of people who worship Jesus. We want that number to go up, right? There’s a book of our Bible called Numbers. It’s a perfectly good word, you know? And if – what we’re saying is, if four or five thousand people are worshiping Jesus, that’s good. But if eight or ten thousand worship Jesus, that’s better. We would like more people to be able to go to church, more people to hear about Jesus, more people to participate in the community of Mars Hill. We’d like to go into more neighborhoods. We’d like to take over more real estate. We would like to see Jesus change more lives. We would like to see the Holy Spirit enter into and transform more people, by the thousands.
I’m 35, been doing this almost 10 years, got about 40 years to go, depending upon what I do with red meat and, and my diet, but in 40 years, what could we get done? We’re not done. We’re nowhere near done. To me, what’s cool is we get a chance to sort of relaunch the church at our ten year anniversary and just scatter it all through the city and take all the opportunities that Jesus would give, work around the zoning issues, work around the real estate costs, work around a complicating variables to reach as many people as possible so that more people love, meet, worship, serve, and are changed by Jesus to go as far and as fast and as hard as we can in the least churched city in America, where no one would’ve expected this but apparently the Holy Spirit has got a big job for us to participate in – and what a great honor in it is to be a part of it. It’s super humbling. My wife asked me last night, she said, “So are you freaked out?” No, it kinda freaks me out that I’m not freaked out. But I’m not freaked out. I’m sleeping good. I feel good. I believe this is exactly what God wants is to do. The elders are in total, unanimous agreement. We’re in total harmony on this. I mean, we’re getting free and reduced real estate. We’re going to take it and roll and go and if everybody does their part, everything will be fine. Even for $1.2 million. If every adult brought $300, we’d be done. Let me break it down to the number of people. It’s not that big of a deal, so don’t freak out.
If you’re new to Mars Hill, this happens all the time. It’s been going on for ten years. We just have more zeros, but it’s the same stuff. Is just the same thing. And things change, but Jesus is still God. The Bible’s still true. We’re still a church family and we are just trying to love and serve the city as large and as well as we can, as quickly as we are able. I’m pretty excited. I’m having a good time. So here is where we land, the bottom line. Some of you are here, you’re saying, “Why tell me this?” Because we want to be honest. We went to make a budget this year. We called the other large churches in our state. We said, “What’s your budget?” they said, “We won’t tell you.” What? “We don’t disclose that.” Well at Mars Hill, we do. We tell you what we’re doing. We tell you what it’s going to cost. You tell you when we change our plans because we want to have integrity and we want to just be honest with you. ...
That was then but, even then, it's strange how in Driscoll's lengthy account so little was made of Mike Gunn and Lief Moi as co-founders. And not much about being sent out by Antioch Bible Church. Not much about help from David Nicholas, in there.
So what happened to that real estate? West Seattle became Trinity West and bought back their own building last year. Mars Hill Ballard got bought by another church that's painted it sea foam green color of some kind. Mars Hill's corporate offices were a case of deed in lieu of foreclosure and forfeiture of contract.
As of March 2016 there isn't even a corporate holding tank that could be called Mars Hill. Perhaps now that that corporation formerly known as Mars Hill Church no longer exists, could Sutton Turner paint the town red with numbers connected to Global allocations? He mentioned last year that he wanted to share some numbers but got some threats from lawyers on behalf of Mars Hill.
Meanwhile, the lesson for the evening may well be that as Driscoll's old sermons from a decade ago keep coming back up pay attention, if you can, to whether they come back two thirds shorter and consider whether this is a sign of just how much padding with stories about himself and his life and times he's crammed into sermons people might want to say is just solid Bible preaching.
What people who weren't at Mars Hill from the earlier period won't realize about this sermon is that Christians Gone Wild was probably the first sermon series since the start of Mars Hill were Driscoll began recycling in earnest. There was kind of a phase where he was redoing stuff he'd done before. He used to say he'd only revisit material if he felt he chunked it the first time around so ... it made sense he'd revisit Ecclesiastes. But with 1 Corinthians it didn't seem he'd changed enough in his basic interpretation of the texts to warrant a wholesale recycling of the book as the basis for as eries. But considering how many services he was insisting on preaching and how NO ONE else was given the pulpit ... it retroactively makes a certain amount of sense that he'd fall back on an earlier series. The church had had enough turn over since 2000 that it was like preaching the book "new"
The 2007 Ruth series was in many respects recycling stuff from 2005 Driscoll did at a singles ministry event kick-of event. In hindsight, that time would have been better spent reading a Jane Austen novel.