Dan - Ballard, Shoreline 2008-14

Your Name

Dan M

Gender

Male

Which describes your role at Mars Hill?

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

What Mars Hill location(s) did you attend?

Ballard, Shoreline

What years were you involved / attending?

2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

How did you first hear about Mars Hill?

I had recently moved to Seattle after living in another country and I was looking for a church to attend. I was invited by a friend who attended Mars Hill

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

Invited by a friend.

What were your first impressions?

It was different than any church I had ever attended. I enjoyed the music. The young age of those who were attending was a surprise to me. I found Mark's sermon to be challenging and his approach refreshing.

Why was Mars Hill your church home?

Mark's preaching was challenging and encouraging. I found community and purpose at Mars Hill. I loved the vision and opportunity to be involved.

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

I have wonderful friendships that developed at Mars Hill. Those relationships are still intact and growing. My personal relationship with Christ grew and became more intimate. I learned more about the gospel then I had ever know.

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

The failure of Mars Hill has been incredibly negative for me. I struggle with attending church, wanting to develop friendships or listening to sermons. I felt lost and directionless.  

What would you like to have changed about Mars Hill?

Leadership that practiced what they preached. Mark Driscoll demonstrating repentance. Pastors who were not afraid to challenge those in authority and who didn't run leaving the sheep with an abusive leader. Theology that wasn't misogynistic, homophobic, controlling or based in fear.

Which describes you?

I left Mars Hill prior to closure.

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

I was on the biblical living team at the Ballard campus. I left when Phil Schmidt was unjustly fired. I realized that there was something wrong with our church at its core. I had heard stories and complaints from people that had left but I dismissed them. However when pastor Phil was fired I couldn't stand in silence any longer. I shut down my community group and encouraged all of them to leave with me. I stepped down from Mh place of leadership and left.

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

I was failed because the leader was Narcissistic and unrepentant. The vision of the church became more important than the people it was serving.

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

I no longer see things black and white. I have developed more compassion for others. I no longer believe that it's wrong to be gay. It's difficult for me to trust ministers, however I feel closer to Christ. I will never again stand by in silence when I see wrong because of fear of what others will think .

Please write anything else you'd like to add.

Most of the leadership at Mars hill were good people whose motivation came from a good place. I do believe that Mars Hill was a cult or had cult like tendencies. The controlling and threat of losing community if you did not conform are cult like techniques. Some of the pastors attempted to push me in marriage even though I was gay. I am glad that I didn't let them do that.

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