Twitter Reacts to Closing of Mars Hill Church

Mars Hill is trending on Twitter right now. Here are some reactions from a variety of view points.

Say Hello to Two New Post-Mars Hill Churches: Bellevue Church and Redemption Church (Spokane)

Go here to search for Redemption Church and Bellevue Church and you will find the following information:

Redemption Church (Spokane), Agent: Miles Rhode, 10/29/14, Ubi. 603448302 and Bellevue Church, Agent: Matt Rogers, 10/29/14, Ubi. 603448198.
Looks like Matt Rogers is getting Bellevue after all.

Dramatic Changes at Mars Hill Church: Multi-Site Model Out; Local Autonomous Churches In

In a dramatic announcement, Dave Bruskas disclosed today that Mars Hill Church is essentially disbanding and the campus locations will merge, become autonomous churches, or cease operation. From the church website:


Mars Hill,

Historically, our mission has always been clear – to make disciples and plant churches. In keeping with that mission you have always been excited about new life and new birth. Last week I shared three values that are the driving goals during this transition period at Mars Hill.

Today, I am excited to share with you important decisions recently made about the future of the congregations of Mars Hill Church that we believe will work to accomplish these goals.

Following much prayer and lengthy discussion with Mars Hill’s leadership, the board of Mars Hill has concluded that rather than remaining a centralized multi-site church with video-led teaching distributed to multiple locations, the best future for each of our existing local churches is for them to become autonomous self-governed entities. This means that each of our locations has an opportunity to become a new church, rooted in the best of what Mars Hill has been in the past, and independently led and run by its own local elder teams.

We recognize this reorganization plan is a significant and complex undertaking on many fronts; however, our goal is to have the process completed by January 1st, 2015.


Please be in prayer for your local elder teams as they contemplate the following options in the next few weeks: (1) becoming an independent, self-governed church; (2) merging with an existing church to create one independent, self-governed church; or (3) disbanding as a church and shepherding current members to find other local church homes. This decision will be made by your local church’s Lead Pastor and elder team.


The decision to plant independent, self-governed churches has significant ramifications for the existing Mars Hill Church entity. Our central staff members, who have served and labored so faithfully, have already begun work on establishing many of the details to enact this plan, under the following general priorities:

(1) All of Mars Hill’s existing church properties will either be sold, or the loans on the individual properties will be assumed by the independent churches, subject to approval by the lender; (2) all central staff will be compensated for their work, and then released from their employment; (3) if any funds remain after the winding down and satisfaction of Mars Hill business affairs, they will be gifted as seed money to the newly independent churches, then, (4) the existing Mars Hill Church organization will be dissolved.

Ultimately, the success of this plan, and the future viability of each of these new local churches rest solely on all of us continuing to be faithful in supporting Jesus’ mission through our attendance and continued giving.


Mars Hill Church has never been about a building or even an organization. Mars Hill is a people on mission with Jesus, and that singular focus continues as these newly independent churches are launched. It’s still all about Jesus!

As you consider next steps for you and your family, let me encourage you to join us in three critical pursuits:

  1. Stay with your church family as we embark on a new expression of the same mission.

  2. Pray for Jesus to be honored in everything we do as we begin this season of transition.

  3. Give generously, as your gifts in November and December of this year will make a critically important difference in our desire for 13 churches being healthy and sustainable from launch-day and thereafter.

Thank you so much for your prayers and patience with us as we work out the details of this transition. We are thankful that God has a plan that is bigger than we can imagine and we are thankful that he has always been in control of our future. It has always been his mission, and he still has work for each of us to do–for his glory and our good.

Pastor Dave Bruskas

Even though this is a remarkable announcement and may lead to some healthy churches, I hope some of the Mars Hill leaders will call out concerns in this announcement.

1. If anything has become clear over the last year, it is that the church was all about buildings and organization. Mars Hill’s Global Fund was all about expanding the Mars Hill brand via new locations and more giving units in the United States. Why now, after all of the changes and revelations, is Dave Bruskas staying within the Mars Hill spin?

2. Why should people continue to give to Mars Hill Church? Shouldn’t the giving now go to the separate entities? In my opinion, any appeal to giving should also include full disclosure of what will happen to the funds. Are the severance packages of departed executives dependent on this continued giving? While the future is getting clearer, the leaders still at Mars Hill should provide an accounting of how funds have been spent in the past.

Happy Reformation Day everyone.

UPDATE: Justin Dean says new churches can’t use Mars Hill name.

Mark Driscoll’s Reports to the Woodway, WA Police

When Mark Driscoll appeared at Robert Morris’ Gateway Conference on October 20, he told some stories involving harassment of his family. Specifically, he said that rocks had been thrown into his backyard one morning after he and his kids had spent the night in a tent. Then Driscoll talked about a helicopter flying over head a few days later. Driscoll begins speaking about these matters at 3:20 into the clip.

At least one journalist, Dori Monson, initially reported that city officials of Driscoll’s home city of Woodway, WA were unaware of any such report. Although I have yet to hear it, I have been told that Monson has retracted that report. Given the police reports below, he did well to retract. While there is no evidence that the rock throwing report is related to Driscoll’s problems at Mars Hill Church, he did make the incident reports.

In order to clarify the record and with thanks to police officials there, I am posting the relevant and appropriately redacted police reports from the city of Woodway. Click the links below.

August 25, 2014 – The rocks flying incident

August 28, 2014 – KOMO-TV News effort to get an interview.

On the KOMO-TV News report, see this post. In the KOMO report, there is a shot of a sign on the gate which indicates cameras are recording the activities. The police report includes nothing about a check of any surveillance footage.

Current Mars Hill Pastor Says Investigation Findings Showed Mark Driscoll Not Qualified as Elder

In an ongoing conversation on a previous post, current Mars Hill pastor Steve Tompkins, indicated that based on the Board of Elders’ investigation, Mark Driscoll is not currently qualified for the office of elder.

Speaking to former elder Zack Hubert, Tompkins commented on the findings of the Board of Elders report of their investigation into formal charges by 21 former elders and other private witnesses.

To my knowledge, Tompkins is the first current elder who has characterized the Board of Elders investigation as resulting in a finding of disqualification. The only statement from the Board of Elders indicated that Driscoll was asked to enter an elder directed restoration process. However, instead of following the counsel of the elders, Driscoll resigned.

The Board of Elders have not released a report, and since the investigation was not completed, there is some question about the existence of a report. There are many unanswered questions about the role of the BoE and BoAA in the manner in which Driscoll left the church.

Uncertainty of another kind surrounds Mars Hill Church. Reliable sources tell me dramatic changes are in store for the church. Campus locations are considering merger, independence, or closure. Options for reducing debt and spinning off locations into autonomous churches are being explored.