Maggie Davidson 2011-14

Your Name

Meggie Davidson



Which describes your role at Mars Hill?

Group Leader (any leadership role)

What Mars Hill location(s) did you attend?

Downtown Seattle, Rainier Valley

What years were you involved / attending?

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

How did you first hear about Mars Hill?

Before moving to Seattle, I had friends at my church who recommended Mars Hill to me. And now that I'm thinking of it, they were all men under the age of 30...

What was the circumstance of your first time attending Mars HIll?

I had spent about a year away from church following fall out with a close friend, what I felt was inauthenticity at the church I had been attending, and trying to heal from church enforced gender roles (ironic isn't it?). I felt God calling me back to church and I thought of MHC since I had been recommended to me a couple years back. I lived sort of equidistant from Ballard, UW, and Downtown, but Downtown's service times for my schedule, so I tried it out.

What were your first impressions?

I loved the worship music. And people seemed pretty friendly. Thought Mark's preaching was good (this was March 2011). I stayed afterward to go to a post service gathering and met some great people (a few I am actually still friends with) and it made me want to come back.

Why was Mars Hill your church home?

I loved the community I found at Mars Hill. I made so many friends there, and got into serving, which really connected me to the church. I felt like it was where God wanted me to be.

What about your time at Mars Hill has had a positive impact on you?

I learned and grew a lot at Mars Hill. People actually confessing and talking about their sins to other people was so different for me. I was used to the "pretend it didn't happen or hide it" school of thought. Redemption groups, though incredibly difficult, was also a big part of that. I didn't understand what repentance meant before that.
And again, I grew lots of meaningful friendships and relationships there. It also ended up being where I met my husband (and I definitely like him).

What about your time at Mars Hill has had a negative impact on you?

The last 1.5-2 years were really painful. It was difficult to watch pastors and staff that I cared about leaving the church, and for a significant period of time not be allowed to know why. There was so much lying, secret keeping and back pedaling done by Mars Hill on what was communicated to members that it made your head spin. And some times, I could understand why. For people that loved the church and wanted to see it prosper and really wanted to believe that Mark wasn't doing bad things, even if you knew things were wrong or off, you still wanted to defend the church.
Also, I was a member of Rainier Valley where we had to deal with all the crud following Willie's departure. I was also an intern there, and the staff being incredibly immature and not knowing what they were doing we were taken advantage of. There was also the absolute garbage that was the pre marriage class we took (done at RV). The stress of "traditional gender roles" which placed far more burden on the woman (which was universal in MHC) disgusted both myself and my husband. Even before we took the class we were asked to fill out this insanely invasive form which we wanted to talk to the leaders about, but they were unwilling to do so. We were told to just "submit to their authority" in the matter. One of the leaders also, in all seriousness, called my husband, then fiancée, a special snowflake because he was challenging the matter.

What would you like to have changed about Mars Hill?

The fixation with "authority". If you disagreed, or challenged something you were dismissed as being divisive and the matter was never considered.
The open handed issues that were actually closed handed issues like complementarian vs egalitarian. Things they disagreed with were so talked down that you were essentially a heretic for holding a different viewpoint.

Which describes you?

I stayed at Mars Hill through closure.

Please describe why you stayed at Mars Hill and what that experience was like.

We stayed because we felt God calling us to do so. And it was incredibly difficult. We wanted to leave, but also wanted to love the other people remaining because not everyone understood what was going on. As a couple we had a lot of fights about staying vs leaving. And there was the weird awkwardness of when other people would leave the church.

How would you describe the reason for Mars Hill's closure to an outsider.

Mars Hill was a massive multi campus mega church that had overbearing and abusive tendencies which were dictated by the lead pastor, Mark Driscoll. The way it was run was monetarily unsustainable, so when many pastors left and and the massive failings of Mark came to light, he ran and the church couldn't stay open.

What's changed for you since your time at Mars Hill came to an end?

There were unfortunately things we still couldn't say because we went to Rainier Valley post Mars Hill (it still operates in some core beliefs and convictions as a mini Mars Hill). But now we've moved to a different city and now attends church that matches with our convictions. We believe, and can openly now say, an egalitarian viewpoint in marriage and the way the church is run. Women should be in leadership and should be pastors (our current church's staff has 2). We have believe in inclusivity for LGBT people. We feel so much better and freer being at a church that does a lot of things we used to love about Mars Hill (serving the city, an [actual] fatherly pastor) but does it in a way that's sustainable and is about Jesus. Our pastor and staff isn't out to make money, or make their names great.

Please write anything else you'd like to add.

Overall, I did love Mars Hill, and for a while I wanted to believe the best about Mark and the situation. But I really am ultimately glad the Titanic sank, and I hope and pray that some day he actually changes, and that the damage caused by the church can be healed in the hearts of those it offended.