Member - Ballard 2003-07



Which describes your role at Mars Hill?

Regular Attender, Member, Group Leader (any leadership role)

What Mars Hill location(s) did you attend?


What years were you involved / attending?

2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

How did you first hear about Mars Hill?

I went to UW and heard about the opening of this new building in Ballard. Some friends drug me along and the rest was history, as they say.

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

I was with two students from UW and one friend from SPU. They had me sit in the first row of the opening day in the Ballard Campus.

What were your first impressions?

I come from a small town in Montana. To say I was intimidated would be an understatement. I was especially shocked at the amount of young single people that were there. The music was loud and everything was so stinking dark. I was at a loss for words. This was back when Mark was still pretty edgy and, well, almost normal. I even spoke with him after the service and was invited to a bar in the U District a few weeks later where he and about 20 other guys got together and talked about guy stuff. I was sold out after that.

Why was Mars Hill your church home?

I soon found a wide friendship base both on UW campus and in greater Seattle. I co-led a small community group and became a security team member (stage left every weekend for 3 years). I eventually graduated and became involved with a mixed group of people in Northgate that expanded my brain and grew my maturity by leaps and bounds.

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

I went on my first date, had my first relationship and breakup all at Mars Hill. I found support and community and advice at every stage. My relationships were/are lifelong. It was too bad nearly all of these people left the church when the Petry's were shunned, because they were our group/family. The core group who left are still strong and still living life together. That started at Mars Hill.

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

Initially, it was Mark's fall into unrepentant sin and the effects it had on the ones I love. I didn't want to believe what I was seeing and experiencing was actually happening, but when Paul was fired, I knew I had to go. Then I was shocked by the reaction of the larger church body. So much denial and willingness to go along with sin, just because they were scared and didn't want to see the truth for what it was, truth. Eventually, I stopped listening to anything Mars Hill related as the sermons became more bombastic and anger filled.

What would you like to have changed about Mars Hill?

Everything started to change when Mark stopped being held accountable. I loved that there was a group of elders on a board that kept each other accountable. I loved that there was no single pastor that was above everyone else. When the bylaws changed, Mars Hill changed. I also didn't like the satellite campuses. I felt like it ruined the spirit of the church and made everyone disenfranchised.

Which describes you?

I left Mars Hill prior to closure.

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

I left as a result of the treatment of Paul Petry and his family. It was heartbreaking. Ultimately it caused me to rethink my entire ecclesiology, tore me away from evangelism, reformed who I saw Jesus as and led me to move to Africa.

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

Mark's sin caught up to him. he built an infrastructure around himself that held him as a cornerstone rather than God. When Mark was removed, everything came crashing down.

Please write anything else you'd like to add.

There was a time of deep love and loss at Mars Hill. I felt like a betrayed partner who found out his partner was lying for five years. Ultimately, I have forgiven, but will never be the same. I am thankful for the time I spent at Mars Hill, as much for what it taught me about the body and the positive lessons I learned about leadership, as for the negative lessons I learned about following and the repercussions of blind obedience.