Member - Ballard, Bellevue, Downtown Seattle, West Seattle 2000-14



Which describes your role at Mars Hill?

Member, Group Leader (any leadership role)

What Mars Hill location(s) did you attend?

Ballard, Bellevue, Downtown Seattle, West Seattle

What years were you involved / attending?

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

How did you first hear about Mars Hill?

I first heard about Mars Hill from some friends at Seattle Pacific University that were attending at the time.

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

My first Sunday at Mars Hill was in the Ballard building on Earl. I was new to the area, and looking for a church. I went with some friends from college and enjoyed the teaching.

What were your first impressions?

I thought the people were friendly and the teaching was honest. I enjoyed the preaching being from books of the bible, and the strong emphasis on the Scripture and it's authority.

Why was Mars Hill your church home?

Mars Hill was my church home because I felt at home there. I was growing my understanding of who God was, what His Word was about, and how to live according to it. I enjoyed the community and teaching better than other churches I had attended. It felt more transparent and honest, and less about emotional manipulation or fluff.

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

My time at Mars Hill was mostly positive. I learned much about the Scripture, about God, and about myself during my years at Mars Hill. The friendships that were made at Mars Hill were also positive. I was encouraged and supported well. I met my husband through those friendships. Overall, Mars Hill was a place of encouragement and growth.

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

The negative of Mars Hill came with its fast growth. As it grew and new policies were implemented, I felt like the policies started coming before caring for the people. The elders and staff also seemed too busy to shepherd the people and care for those hurting in the church body.

What would you like to have changed about Mars Hill?

Personally, I think Mars Hill would have been more effective if it had planted churches as it grew, instead of creating campus' and keep Mark as the main preaching pastor. Replicating the model of a healthy, smaller church through local church plants with their own elders would have been my suggestion looking back.

Which describes you?

I left Mars Hill prior to closure.

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

My heart left Mars Hill before I physically stopped attending. There was a mistrust that was growing and Bellevue specifically started feeling more like a production than a worship gathering. My motivation to attend regularly, combined with life experience just left us as irregular attenders that weren't involved in the community anymore. We slowly moved away and transitioned out.

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

I would describe the reason for Mars Hill's closure as a result of poor management. As the church grew, the management of the church changed for the worse. I think the sin of the leadership, the culture of the church, and the overall structure was the reason behind the closure.

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

I have desired to be part of a smaller community where there is more transparency with leadership and finances. I want to be in a church where people and their needs outweigh policies.

Please write anything else you'd like to add.

Everyone who called Mars Hill home, or not, had a choice of continuing. We all have a conscience and convictions. In the past few years, and as the church closed I've heard so much blame on the church or specific leadership. While we have probably all been hurt by the sin of others, I found it frustrating that most people haven't taken responsibility for their own decision to stay or leave. When people use words like "spiritual abuse", I struggle to see that in my experience at Mars Hill. I don't feel like we were lied to or emotionally manipulated into anything through the teaching at Mars Hill. I wish more people had stood up against damaging policies, or refused to be overworked beyond what was right. Perhaps I just wasn't up high enough in the leadership to see the damage, but I still struggle to understand the blame of the church vs. responsibility of the individuals.