Lauren - Ballard, Downtown Seattle, Shoreline 2008-14

Your Name

Lauren

Gender

Female

Which describes your role at Mars Hill?

Regular Attender

What Mars Hill location(s) did you attend?

Ballard, Downtown Seattle, Shoreline

What years were you involved / attending?

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

How did you first hear about Mars Hill?

I actually first heard of Mars Hill when the local paper did an article about it and the Driscoll family. It was 1998 and I was in 7th grade. I didn't start attending until I was in college though and didn't become a member until I was married in 2010.

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

I was a high school junior and the churches served as a concert venue. My first sermon was as a high school senior and I went with my older brother. He and his wife were members.

What were your first impressions?

I thought it was great. It was hip, engaging, compelling, and unapologetic. A far cry from the PCUSA church I grew up in.

Why was Mars Hill your church home?

Because it didn't shy away from proclaiming biblical truths. In a city so anti-Christianity it was refreshing to feel empowered by my faith instead of constantly beaten down and criticized for it. MH's focus on community was unlike anything I had ever seen. The intentionality behind it was incredible. Growing up as a Christian in the PNW was not easy, finding a place like MH was a game changer.

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

Honestly, most of it. I have made some incredible lasting relationships with people. I have learned what intentional community looks like. I have learned to be bold, and courageous. I have learned good biblical theology which has left me so much more equipped to share the gospel with others.

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

Mars Hill burst the bubble of naivety i would have liked to keep. I have already learned that Jesus is bigger than the church. I have already experienced the disappointment of failed leadership so in that regard nothing that went down at MH was new to me. It didn't rock my faith or belief in the church. I was already passed that stage in my walk. It did however force me to be more discerning when it comes to who I follow and who I listen to. I can't give a pastor the benefit of the doubt any longer. That sucks. It sucks that people are sinners and it sucks that no one (or profession) is safe from that. Mars Hill left me with scars when it comes to trusting those in biblical leadership over me. I hate that.

What would you like to have changed about Mars Hill?

That there had been more transparency. It wasn't like all the members of MH were brain dead lemmings. I honestly had no idea that so much of this crap was going on. If I had (if many of us had) this history of bullying and abuse would never have gone on so long. Transparency leads
To accountability. Which MH clearly didn't have.

Which describes you?

I left Mars Hill prior to closure.

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

It was awful. I felt stranded and disconnected in a way I hadn't felt since we joined MH. Looking for a new church was one of the hardest years of my adult life. It all felt so unnecessary. Like this all could have been avoided.

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

That it was a lot less juicy and exciting than it looked from the outside. The pastoral calling is a high one, it leaves a lot of room to fall. Mark Driscoll fell and he fell hard. Mars Hill was a church whose leader failed. He failed to lead, he failed to love, he failed to repent. That's what happened. Any further detail is gossip to an outsider because the details don't matter. There are a myriad of sins that could have disqualified MD from being a pastor. The specific ones he committed were immaterial to the outcome.

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

Not much. We found a new church, had another baby, we moved on with our life. We still love Jesus and we are still in Christian community. My faith and life were and are much bigger than Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. This wasn't the first ministry I watched fail due to corruption and it may not be the last. We move on and stop dwelling on the sins of someone else. We remember and cling to the truth that Jesus is bigger than all this which is why we put our trust in him and not man.

Please write anything else you'd like to add.

I still pray that the heart of Mark Driscoll be softened. We are all called to repentance and it sucks to watch a brother in the faith sit in stubbornness. I will not hold my breath but reconciliation would be wonderful.

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