Monday, September 03, 2018

with Mark Driscoll's Spirit-Filled Jesus coming up and so few mentions of the former Mars Hill, a quick review of how many campuses survived the Mars Hill meltdown of 2014 (most of them, actually)

By "few" I suppose I should clarify that lately Mark Driscoll doesn't mention Mars Hill at all, as if someone were trying to invoke twenty some years of ministry experience without ever once mentioning where the ministry was being done.

formerly Shoreline

In 1996, a pastor named Mark Driscoll started a new church in Seattle called Mars Hill. Mars Hill Church grew rapidly, and in 2006 decided to plant its very first remote campus, a video location called Mars Hill Shoreline. The pastor who launched the new location, Steve Tompkins, put it this way: “God kept bringing more people to hear the gospel. Even five Sunday services [in Ballard] back-to-back didn’t address our need for more space.”

God did many amazing things in and through Mars Hill Shoreline: people were saved, hundreds were baptized, families were started, lives were transformed. However, there were also many issues that built up over the years which all came to a head in 2014, a year of great difficulty for the church. Facing mounting criticism as the church investigated formal charges against him, Mark Driscoll submitted his resignation as vision and preaching pastor on October 14, 2014. Shortly afterward, it was announced that each local campus of Mars Hill would have the opportunity to launch out as their own fully independent church.

After much prayer and discussion, the elder team of Mars Hill Shoreline did make the decision to re-plant Mars Hill Shoreline as Sound City Bible Church. The elders made the commitment to learn from the sins and mistakes of the church in the past while focusing on a fresh vision to help people hear the good news of Jesus all throughout the north end of the greater Seattle area.

Sound City Bible Church is not simply Mars Hill carrying on under a new name. It is a new church with a new elder team, a new doctrinal statement, a new mission and a new set of values. This church has been through some difficult times, but through it all is more convinced than ever that Jesus truly is the one who is worth placing ultimate hope in. We hope and pray that God would give us many years together to glorify God by proclaiming Jesus, receiving grace, being disciples, and making disciples.

That's a for instance.  Not all the churches highlight at such length their history of foundation as Mars Hill campuses during the era of Mars Hill.

formerly West Seattle



Rainier Valley

Portland, see merger news with Door of Hope, functionally assimilated/closed



Downtown/Ballard/U-District merger

Cross and Crown church was in the news in later 2017 because of an arrest in connection to threats of shooting.

When I reviewed Justin Dean's book PR Matters I noted that he said that there was a time MH was almost in a crisis mode out of concern that someone who shot up a Christian school might have gotten linked to Mars Hill but that's trivia.  The main thing is that a church that doesn't exist can't show up in Seattle headlines over a shooting threat.

Finally ... what used to be Mars hill Albequerque

The U-District and Downtown Seattle campuses consolidated and joined Ballard, which became Cross and Crown.

Sammamish merged with ... I think it might have been Cross & Crown, too, but I'm not entirely sure about that.

The former Mars Hill Orange County became Mars Hill Huntington Beach before it closed down.
Mars Hill Phoenix closed, too, and these campuses consolidated or closed in 2014 as Mars Hill collapsed.

Mars Hill Portland has agreed to assimilation into Door of Hope Church, which we've been keeping track of earlier this year. 

So most of the campuses managed to actually survive the implosion of Mars Hill.  Most of this information can be conveyed quickly with links to the names of the campuses.  Nine of 14 or 15 campuses means that more than half of the campuses that were Mars Hill managed to survive the collapse and are still operational.  Depending on how we interpret things all the campuses that assimilated survived, too, just in a different way, so very few of the campuses died as cultures that we can establish even if they did end as corporations registered with a secretary of state register.

Justin Dean indicated in an interview I can't dig up just yet that the funds were disbursed to the individual campuses to relaunch as churches.  Since I can't remember which interview it was he said that I can't provide it right now but in any case the existence of the churches testifies that they survived whether we want to get into details or not.  The ones that didn't survive, with the exception of Portland, were campuses that were in death spirals the year Mark resigned as best I can recall.  

While Driscoll had a few stories about how and why he resigned from 2015 up into 2017 there's been very little mention of Mars Hill in the year the new book is getting rolled out.  It might not be a surprise if there's no mention of Mars Hill at all in Spirit-Filled Jesus but I'll have to actually read the book to find that out. 


DawnC said...
Here the former Mars Hill Everett makes mention of their roots.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

if a church plant sent out from a former Mars Hill campus has no trouble highlighting it's history ... it would seem that a co-founding pastor of Mars Hill might feel some liberty to say where he's been gotten twenty years of preaching experience ...

I was part of MH in roughly the late 1998 through 2008 period and wasn't at Shoreline so the names aren't ringing any bells for me, but thanks for the link.

Unknown said...


MH Phoenix did end up replanting at Phoenix Bible Church and is still going:

MH Spokane continued on at Redemption Spokane:

Then of course, A29 seems to be a much healthier place these days:

This of course isn't counting the many churches that were planted before the fall of MH by former staff and members, many of whom along with other non-MH affiliated churches cared for the wounded and spiritual refugee after their church's leadership abandoned them.

Unknown said...

after reading this post, I was encouraged in all the ways that God continued his work and how many believers stayed faithful to God when people failed them.

but for all the positive, there are unreported tragedies. While MH Spokane survived, I know that there was a MH Dallas that never got off the ground being planted out of Abq and several people had quit their jobs and moved to Dallas when the rug was pulled out from under them. I wouldn't be surprised if this was true of another unannounced campus somewhere.

(also, if I remember right, Sammamish merged with Bellevue, possibly before the announcement to shut Mars Hill Down)

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Sammamish may have merged with Bellevue but there were more than a dozen campuses and keeping track of them all became secondary to keeping tabs on the things more "Central" (the substantial media purges that happened throughout 2013-2014).

A29 had some curious turnover in the post-resignation-of-Driscoll years. That in 2008 Mark Driscoll was saying Darrin Patrick was "my pastor" and one of the men to keep him accountable might raise the question about what has come to light about Patrick himself since Driscoll's resignation. The endorsing blurbers of Real Marriage was starting to look like a who's who of evangelical/neo-Reformed scandal magnets for a little while between Perry noble, Bob Coy, Darren Patrick and a handful of others.

That so many of the former Mars Hill campuses survived would make it seem all the weirder if Mark Driscoll fails to mention anything about Mars Hill in his upcoming book.

As it stands it's weird that Mark seems so mum about the status of the campuses since his resignation was what catalyzed the necessity of their re:launching.

Whether or not A29 has really improved would be tough for me to say since I'm more Presbyterian than A29 affiliated these days.