This Sunday, Saddleback Church pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren was invited to deliver the final sermon at Seattle’s Mars Hill Church. You can watch the message, which was delivered via video, below. Mars Hill recently announced that after 18 years of ministry, all of its satellite churches would either operate separately or dissolve completely. The move comes after a team of elders confronted lead pastor Mark Driscoll over a series of allegations involving the mistreatment of members of the congregation, plagiarism, the use of church funds to prop up book sales and other accusations of improper behavior. Driscoll resigned in October.
On their website, the church posted a message that read, “As we close the doors on Mars Hill Church, and consider the evidence of God’s grace shown to us over the years, words cannot express the depth of our gratitude for the people of Mars Hill and our Global Family who have served tirelessly, prayed continually, and given sacrificially to support Jesus’ mission through Mars Hill Church ... making disciples and planting churches" ... Discuss
Thrice frontman and indie artist Dustin Kensrue has resigned from his position as director of worship at Mars Hill. The move comes after a letter—signed by Kensrue and several fellow church leaders—asking that Pastor Mark Driscoll step down for a time and seek “restoration” following numerous controversies, was leaked to the media. The original letter added, “We believe that in many cases we have invited these controversies upon ourselves by not seeking the truth and not seeking to be in the light.” In his resignation letter, Kensrue said that the authority of church elders to correct leadership at Mars Hill “is trampled under the man-made hierarchies and ‘chain of command.’” Driscoll has since announced a six-week leave absence saying, “The current climate is not healthy for me or for this church,” adding, “I have submitted to the process prescribed by our church bylaws as overwhelmingly approved by our entire eldership for addressing accusations against me.”
Throughout his resignation letter (which he posted here), Kensrue focused on what he sees as a lack of ability of the church elders to offer correction to higher church leadership, and the inability to address concerns raised by church members and the media. He told members:
I would encourage you to not muddy the issues by engaging in personal attacks and becoming bitter. I honestly believe that [the Board of Advisors & Accountability and Executive Elders] love you, and that they love Jesus. But I also believe that they are blind to what is really going on, and blind to what the roots of the problems are. I believe that they are treating the media as their conscience, rather than heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the elders. So speak boldly, but speak in love. Mars Hill is not on a good trajectory.
In a statement posted on the Mars Hill website, megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll said that he is taking a six-week leave of absence while the elders of the church review a series of allegations against him.
Storm clouds seem to be whirling around me more than ever in recent months and I have given much thought and sought much counsel as to why that is and what to do about it. The current climate is not healthy for me or for this church … There is a well-documented list of past actions and decisions I have admitted were wrong, sought forgiveness, and apologized for to those I hurt or offended.
Driscoll is effectively stepping down as pastor of the 15-campus, 15,000-attending church based in Washington—at least for the next month and a half. In recent months, Driscoll has come under fire following allegations of plagiarism in his books, using marketing money to essentially inflate book sales, bullying staff and former members and making vulgar online posts under a false name. Though many of the allegations had been previously addressed, in the last few weeks, public outcry grew. Along with criticism from the online community, the Lifeway Christian retail chain announced that it would no longer be selling his books, and the Acts 29 Network of church planters (which Driscoll helped found) removed Mars Hill and Driscoll, saying “the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network” ... Discuss