Staff - Ballard 2005-13



Which describes your role at Mars Hill?

Member, Staff

What Mars Hill location(s) did you attend?


What years were you involved / attending?

2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

How did you first hear about Mars Hill?

My friend, who was an undergrad at UW at the time, invited me

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

A 5 pm service at Ballard during the Christ on the Cross series.

What were your first impressions?

I fell asleep at one point in the sermon but then all of a sudden Mark was yelling and pointing. I thought, "Wow, he's serious." I also remember thinking he was the first preacher since my dad to put more study and historical context into the story of the cross, which I really appreciated.

Why was Mars Hill your church home?

After attending MH for a year, I moved away from Seattle for a few years, during which time I just got rocked emotionally and was massively depressed. The darkness was so heavy and the lies were so thick I couldn't read my Bible, couldn't go to church. the one thing I could do was listen to a PMD sermon, and oftentimes it felt like someone was praying over me. In a lot of ways I came back to Seattle because I knew I needed a church community and MH was where I'd be fed. In the 3-4 years after I came back, I never have grown as much in my faith as I grew there. God did so much in my heart. And I knew he wanted me to be there. Every time I prayed/asked if i still should stay, I'd feel affirmed that, yes, this was still a place the Spirit was doing something in me, something that others affirmed (namely my parents, who didn't attend — one of them liked MH but the other didn't though I didn't know at the time).

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

When I walked in there, I was so shattered and broken. when I left, I felt so assured as who I was in Christ, so affirmed and overwhelmed by how well loved and served I was by so many brothers and sisters. I also had amazing bosses, really wonderful men who encouraged me and fostered me and even pushed me into leadership (deaconship) when I had no initial desire to be. My CGs were also amazing—always helped the single girl move, drove me to the doctor when I banged up my leg, brought me groceries when I was sick, etc. I also loved loved loved the worship, as in it's still by far the place I've ever felt the most safe and encouraged to open my heart to God by the Spirit in praise. To this day it's one of the things I miss the most. Also the kids from my kids ministry class. they were such a gift. Getting to be a deacon and fostering other women too was a humbling and a gift. And don't get me started on baptizing people—I'll never get over that. I really believe baptisms are transcendent.

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

Being on staff was hard, especially as a girl. Sometimes the guys looked out for me, but in work matters they disregarded me (as in literally pretended like I didn't exist) a lot. I also earned $31K for 2.5 years; I finally got a raise about six months before I left and a year after my boss had already put in the request for me (even he was already gone by the time it was approved!) Whereas I was by and large OK listening to Mark from the pulpit until about the Esther series, days when he would come to "talk" to the staff were always the worst. Anytime you heard from Mark about something on staff he was pissed. His rants were ridiculous and so discouraging. one time he was coming to our team to talk—totally out of the blue, was not part of the day's schedule—I had to pray with another girl because she was so fearful of him and what he'd be coming to say.

RGs were a mixed bag for me too. Some of the teachings were immensely helpful, but some of the group times were really hurtful. of everything, it's probably one of the things that confuses me the most because parts were hurtful but, when I think of the leaders (Mike, Phil) I still have so much respect for them, that I don't think is ungodly.

What would you like to have changed about Mars Hill?

Being willing to sacrifice our church's glory for God's. Mark's unrepentance is something none of us could have/can change, but that was obviously and mercifully fatal. Also—and I cannot stress this enough—more service to our community. We had no works, so when people said things against us—and rightly so—we had nothing to show in our defense, and so all the criticisms were proved true. That killed me.

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 because I'd always wanted to move New York, and I'd prayed over the years but God said stay. He said right up through Easter 2013. And then right after that, for whatever reason, I felt untethered. In May, Holcomb said he was leaving, and he'd always been a lynchpin for me, someone whose role was critical to me, a guard against Mark's worst tendencies. Then it just felt like God said, "Hey, ask again about NYC." So I did. It was a gradual process but it only took a month or so for me to feel really convicted that I was supposed to move—as in it would be selfish for me to stay. So I did. The last month I was in Seattle and at the church I still have never known a season where I've been so overwhelmed by gratefulness and peace. Gratefulness for how much God had brought me through, peace that it was the time to go, and grace for knowing I was not the same woman when I left as when if come.

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

Systemic unrepentance and people were being hurt. The church closing was absolutely God's grace. No one is going to praise the name of Mars Hill or Mark Driscoll again and that is a glorious thing. Something I say to Christian outsiders (not necessarily non believers) is that the Spirit had left Mark, especially from the pulpit.

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

Watching everything unravel from a distance was brutal. I've learned to listen a lot more because every friend is in every different place with it all imaginable. I'm now hyper sensitive to angry men and bosses—in any context—and also language that relegates or praises women for being "sweet" instead of strong. Miraculously, not much of my doctrine is changed, which I think is a sign of the shielding of the Spirit while I was at MH. (I, for whatever reason, felt totally fine tuning out most of Mark's teaching on marriage, which now I'm really grateful for, especially as a single woman.)

Please write anything else you'd like to add.

I love my old church family deeply. Watching so many be so hurt and still be hurt is grievous. I still pray for everyone, especially those who haven't come back to a church family after leaving MH. (Not praying for them in judgment but grieving that the body God designed could be so corrupted and traumatize so much.) I don't think God had us there by accident, and I know he needed to take apart MH, and he's bringing all his children to himself by a million ways we can't see, much less understand. I know that I was far off, and while I was at MH, God brought me near. I want so much to already be in heaven and get to worship with everyone again.