Group Leader - Ballard, Downtown Seattle 2007-11



Which describes your role at Mars Hill?

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

What Mars Hill location(s) did you attend?

Ballard, Downtown Seattle

What years were you involved / attending?

2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

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

I initially attended the Ballard campus.  When the Downtown campus opened, I moved there.

What were your first impressions?

I had a mix of first impressions.  I really enjoyed Mark Driscoll's preaching and how he was blunt, biblical, and to the point.  I also found that the services were well-executed and run smoothly with few mistakes.

On the negative side, I was turned off by the music.  I found it to be too much of a rock performance and that most people in the sanctuary were unable to sing along - a combination of the songs being unfamiliar, too loud, and too difficult for the average attendee to sing.  I also found it very hard to meet anyone; in my first two months at MHC, I had a conversation with exactly one person at church.

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

The sense of community was very real at MHC.  My community group (CG) leaders truly cared about me - we went out to coffee, held movie nights, and shared meals together.  They had a genuine love and interest for their members that I had not seen elsewhere.  Additionally, my friends showed a real interest in prayer, reading the Bible, and growing spiritually, which spurred me to grow spiritually, too.  Lastly, my local campus pastor (Tim Gaydos) had a real love for the city and encouraged me to become more active in being a better neighbor and local citizen.

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

The leadership at the church was very heavy-handed.  There was a handful of times when I raised concerns or questions with friends who were CG leaders, and I was shot down almost every time.  Similarly, Mark's approach to dealing with criticism was to deflect it and talk about how great MHC was.  It gave a tone of "shut up and do as you're told" instead of working with people through their questions.

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 Mars Hill because I took a new job out-of-state.  Leaving MHC was the hardest part about leaving Seattle because I had developed close bonds with the friends in my community group and had experienced true community more so than at any church in the past.

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

The church was controlled by a small leadership team without accountability.  They refused to be transparent with the membership, to publicly admit their mistakes, and to listen to those who did not agree with Mark Driscoll.

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

I have developed a skepticism in the elder-led church model.  The best way to prevent a situation like the one at MHC from recurring is to give voting power to the members.

Please write anything else you'd like to add.

Mark Driscoll has disqualified himself as a pastor and an elder.  He should not be in church leadership until he publicly repents and apologizes to those whom he hurt.