Mark Dunford 2007-14

Your Name

Mark Dunford



Which describes your role at Mars Hill?

Group Leader (any leadership role)

What Mars Hill location(s) did you attend?

Ballard, Portland

What years were you involved / attending?

2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

How did you first hear about Mars Hill?

I was invited to a new Community Group that was forming by the leader and his wife.

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

After attending the group a few times, I decided to attend a service to take notes on what they'd talk about in the group.

What were your first impressions?

I thought the preaching style was really entertaining and I was surprised to have been engaged for over an hour by a preacher.

Why was Mars Hill your church home?

I genuinely enjoyed the community groups and made a lot of close friends that have continued to speak into my life effectively.

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

I met Jesus at Mars Hill in a way that I'd not been exposed to him earlier. I really appreciated so many of the people that I met there.

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

It didn't end well for me. I grew into substantial distrust of the upper leadership of the church and felt intentionally deceived in the end by the BOAA and the EE. I'd really hoped that as elders, we'd be able to help correct the issues in the church. Unfortunately, by the time I'd realized that reality, we had too little time to deal with the stubborn continued sin of the EE and certain members of the BOAA.

What would you like to have changed about Mars Hill?

In the end, the elders were unable to hold Mark to any sort of accountability. It likely would have needed to happen prior to 2012, but I wish that the structure had been in place for the eldership as a whole to act. I also wish the elders could have communicated better cross-campus. Having elders in different states and cities meant that many of them weren't networked together and this greatly hindered the ability to talk things out.

Which describes you?

I left Mars Hill prior to closure.

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

I was dismissed from Mars Hill with my eldership being revoked, along with my wife and my membership. I can't express how devastating the experience was and felt more bullied than anything else.

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

Mars Hill followed a distorted structure of church government and had in its most prominent and public-facing position, a man who was grossly disqualified, surrounded by men who shamefully protected him.

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

I look at church government much differently than I did when I was there. I also see the importance of hearing multiple voices from the pulpit. I think the size of the church was also a major issue - especially when it came to communication. I think it's important for churches to remain at a manageable size.