Mars Hill Church…. What would Jesus do?

Jericho 1

Jesus left the ninety nine sheep to seek and find the lost sheep.

I believe that in the aftermath of the news of the departure of Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church, and in the light of the crippling condition of the church he has walked away from, that Jesus would encourage true shepherds and caring people to leave the one and return to tend to the ninety nine sheep that are scattered and bleeding in the fold.

It is time to rebuild the crumbling walls.

It has been seven years.

Today is the anniversary of the trial of Paul Petry. The decay that we see today began when the men and women of Mars Hill Church failed to do the right thing.

I am calling the thousands of Mars Hill members who left bleeding and hurting to set aside your pain and rise up to rebuild the crumbling walls of Mars Hill Church.

I am calling on current members who have been waiting for the BOAA to do the right thing NOT to leave in disgust, but to stay to rebuild the walls of the broken church.

I am calling to every man and woman who has heart for the hurting, to pray and support the changes needed to see Mars Hill Church rise up and demonstrate the true power of being all about Jesus.

If is all about Jesus, we need to show up on Sunday.

If it all about Jesus, we need to cry to the Lord to lift up our hurting brothers and sisters reeling from the tragic events of the last several months.

If it all about Jesus, we need to be like Nehemiah. He left the comforts of his home and position, and returned to the mess of broken Jerusalem, and with brave men and women he worked to rebuild the city.

If you have ever loved Mars Hill Church, as I have, I would urge that you join me to support a hurting church.

I urge every elder that was fired or who has resigned to show up on Sunday.  I urge every member that left wounded, or left in disgust, or just left out of sheer weariness, to set aside your deep wounds and hurting heart, and reach out to those who may even still despise you.

I beg you to leave the comforts of your new church and rush back into the ruins. People are hurting. Even people who may despise you are hurting.

Set aside your pain, your anger, your theological differences, and your comfort.

Mars Hill Church needs you. Mars Hill Church needs me.

This Sunday we can be like the Pharisees and avoid tending to the wounded man who had been beaten on the road to Jericho. Or we can see the wounded and beaten Mars Hill members and leaders and roll up our sleeves and tend to their wounds, risking the blood and gore of their torn bodies, and bind their wounds with care.

I will be attending Mars Hill Church on Sunday.

It is my prayer that I am not the only bruised and wounded soldier limping back to be an encouragement to a church filled with stunned and hurting members.

And remember, the good Samaritan paid the innkeeper to tend to the wounded man, and left extra money in case more was needed. So on Sunday, I will bring my checkbook with me.

——

Seven years ago the Seattle Times headline was “Firing of pastors roils Mars Hill Church”, yesterday it was “Mars Hill Church reeling as Pastor Mark Driscoll quits”

It is my hope and prayer that the next headline will be “Mars Hill Church rises as its walls are rebuilt.”

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25 thoughts on “Mars Hill Church…. What would Jesus do?

  1. What do you hope to accomplish? You go to a service and write a check and what? Will you turn to someone and say I’m the one who is being writing things on the internet about your pastor and though he has a myriad of issues I’m here to love you and encourage you. There will be nothing but contempt as you will be seen as one of the reasons Mark had to leave. That’s what most people are thinking as their anger mixed with disbelieve is very raw right now. I don’t think a bunch of people who left should now just show up and try to “help” angry and hurting people within days of Mark resigning. Your presence will not be wanted regardless of your sincere intentions.

  2. I would caution all of us to jump in and name the Jesus story here it might be the Good Smaritan story it might be the story of the rebuilding of the walls. It might not be it, might be the Mary Martha story inviting women to sit at the table. Rob I want to hear both from your wife and daughter on these ideas. Yes there are hurting people, resurrection is needed the question is who will be the voice of Jesus? If we want a new story we need new voices, women could be the new voice. Rebuilding the same kingdom with a different king not cool. More death, may be needed. ARe we willing to wait outside the tomb and hear Jesus say I am the resurrection do you believe this? Martha.

  3. You believe it is wise to bring your checkbook when there hasn’t been repentance shown? When it appears that through the letter from Michael Van Skaik that they found nothing disqualifying of Mark Driscoll? That doesn’t seem very wise. I understand the compassion, but I don’t believe it is the right response yet.

  4. Rob, how then is the most pressing and dangerous problem still at MHC to be addressed? The men still in power there will not own their own sin and culpability in creating this toxic and damaging environment. Do you believe that the Lord would want to the wounded sheep to return to the fold and subject themselves to the same abusers? I am not attempting to accuse you of anything or disrespect your Godly attitude, and I admire your humility and desire to rescue or rebuild MHC. I fear that thousands showing up at church on Sunday with checkbooks in hand and generosity in their hearts would embolden and encourage men who have no business shepherding the flock. Once those men have been forced to resign, as Driscoll was, then and only then would MHC be a safe place to fellowship

  5. Larry, the current Board of Advisors and Accountability are fools. Their tenure will end soon. Many of the current elders are looking for change and working to that end, in my opinion. Any elder that had anything to do with the changing of the bylaws in 2007 need to go, and the BOAA not only need to go, but will.. mark my words.

    But what has that got to do with encouraging the church to be rebuilt in a healthy way? Right now the church is reeling. I believe that Christ would be a tender shepherd at such a time as this.

  6. I hate to be “that guy”, but this advice just seems misplaced.

    To start, the walls of Mars Hill are crumbling from unrepentant sin, not some evil act of an external agent, unless we’re counting Mark Driscoll as that agent. Also, unlike Jerusalem for Nehemiah, Mars Hill Church is not where God dwells (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), so it holds no special distinction as *a* church amongst *the* Church.

    Mars Hill Church has more in common with the prodigal son on his downward spiral (Luke 15:14) or with the hubris of Babel (Genesis 11:4-8) than with the man who was beaten and robbed and left to die by the evil acts of another.

    This also ignores the greater context of why Nehemiah was returning in the first place to rebuild – Jerusalem had been destroyed outright (Jeremiah 52:12-14). It wasn’t struggling, it had lost. It wasn’t “right-sizing” staff, they’d all been enslaved and taken from their promised land. They weren’t in a downward spiral, they’d already hit rock bottom. Mars Hill Church isn’t there yet, but is certainly not unlike the unrepentant Israel, ignorant as to the reasons why they are currently “suffering”, though Christians across the globe under true persecution might scoff at the immaturity on display during this saga.

    If it is all about Jesus, we need to show up on Sunday to a place which is all about Jesus. If Mars Hill Church losing Mark Driscoll is enough to cripple it, then Mars Hill Church hasn’t been all about Jesus, and won’t magically become so in a couple of days just because Mark is gone. The fruits of “Mars Hill sans Mark Driscoll” have not been borne out yet.

    If it is all about Jesus, we need to respect that while many hurting brothers and sisters may forgive Mars Hill, per Mars Hill’s own words, forgiveness is not reconciliation, and expecting these people to stay in or return to fellowship with their abuser is downright cruel and sadistic (https://marshill.com/2010/09/27/10-things-forgiveness-is-not).

    If it is all about Jesus, and we need to be like Nehemiah, then we need to encourage people to be at *a* church, not just *this* one, rebuilding their faith, as which specific building or pastor they have over them isn’t as important as that they are in continued fellowship.

    If we have ever loved Mars Hill Church, we should have loved what God was doing at Mars Hill Church, not the brick-and-mortar, not the pastor, not the preaching, and not the music, otherwise we must admit to idolatry. As such, we should also love what God is doing in *any* church, not just *this* church.

    I certainly won’t be attending Mars Hill and invite shunning under the current terms in the bylaws. I won’t give opportunity to be called a “wolf” or a “dissenter”, accused of showing up to pick at the scraps, or worse, to offer my support in renewing it only to serve my own selfish purposes. Or perhaps worse still, renewing it while remaining silent, only continuing the existing pattern of abuse and deception.

    I do find it amusing you think my new church is “comfortable”, and without struggles of its own that require my time and service to support it. It does have struggles, and it is not “comfortable”, in both the literal and figurative sense. Yet as before, what makes Mars Hill Church specifically worth saving at the cost of other churches?

    There are a lot of churches that need you or me, but we’re often only in a position to serve one well. Again, why Mars Hill Church specifically?

    This Sunday I will be avoiding the man who cuts himself and others, throws himself on the side of the road, and then through the use of deception and crocodile tears, hopes to snare the innocent, all while refusing to repent of the damage caused to others. Mars Hill Church is not an innocent victim in the scheme of some external evil plan, again unless you consider Mark as some evil mastermind who was the beginning and end of the faults at Mars Hill Church.

    I will, as it should be obvious, not be attending Mars Hill Church on Sunday.

    I pray that those who are hurting follow God’s calling, whether or not that is to Mars Hill Church, to seek out or and continue in fellowship during this time of struggle and doubt (Hebrews 10:25).

    I also pray that God’s will is done, whether that means the blessed renewal or continued downfall of Mars Hill Church, and that all involved will have peace with the plan that God set in motion before the foundation of the world.

    As was stated in the Doctrine class, we are part of God’s story, and Mars Hill Church’s existence doesn’t change the outcome of that story. Whether it rises or falls, if it’s all about Jesus, it doesn’t matter what the name is on the building or website.

  7. Hmmmmm. Good points from everyone. I noted someone is still ordering purging of items that reveal scam of MH Global Fund marketing by Sutton. Clearly the enablers, rationalizers, and collaborators are still in charge. I would say this: go to a Sunday service of MH and give, while still attending your new church. Let this be an incredible Sunday statement of support….and a warning. If BOAA does not renew in 7 weeks (let’s stay Biblical) stop attending and giving, and let “them” (BOAA)–the board of no accountability–know why. Thanks Rob for your thoughts and heart, however. And we should all pray for Mark and Sutton , the board, and the 9.

    I would suggest you market this period of support and warning as “7 Weeks.” We are supposed to be men; let’s act like it.

    • Why would anyone give to a church that was built on entitlement, greed, and misogyny and “righteous holy GOd anger” crap? They have created their own downfall. IF it rebuilds, it needs to be based on the actual love of Jesus…not the manly woman maligning Driscoll version that has been taught and bought into for years by the people that willingly sat there and got duped by him. Fold- find healthy churches teaching the real Jesus.

  8. What Rob said here is like pouring salt to a fresh wound. It’s not only Mark Driscoll was the problem, all the leaders and members who are the enabler are. it’s the culture and it’s in the leadership. I believe Mark’s resignation was staged and the motive is still questionable. You can see the spirit in the letter from BOAA about his resignation.

  9. Dear Rob,

    We do not personally know each other but I have respected many of the things you have written over time. As a member for around seven years who can no longer support this Church but who cares for many of those who remain, I respectfully will not be joining you and I would encourage others not to also. I believe this is far too soon to return to the war zone. Mark Driscoll’s resignation, if even permitted under the bylaws, answers few question that remain. No I will wait on the Lords direction and at this point anyway I certainly will not return to giving to an organization that so badly violated, or at least coddled and sheltered those who violated the trust of so many. I pray the Holy Spirit is involved in your decisions.

  10. Jesus Cleanses the Temple Matthew
    12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”…

  11. Going back accomplishes what? Trying to reclaim a lost feeling or sense of belonging that was based on fraudulent trust. It can never be what it once was, and why would anybody want it to be? Mark’s gone, but there remains the residue of dysfunctional leadership. Former abusive leaders returning does not mean that old abuses won’t be repeated. Mark & Co. attracted similarly narcicistic personalities to leadership positions.

    • Kirk, I agree with you 100%. However, I would support funding paying the light bill, the mortgage and other commitments. Paying Driscoll’s exorbitant salary was disgraceful, as would NOT paying the reasonable expenses be as well.

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