Saturday, November 1, 2014

Mars Hill Church Disbands As Pastor Mark Driscoll Resigns Amidst Misogyny Controversy

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The board of overseers Mars Hill Church posted on the church’s website recently that Pastor Mark Driscoll had submitted his resignation as an elder and lead pastor. It was a surprise for the Seattle-based church, the board said, though they accepted it and are now proceeding with plans for a pastoral transition.

The letter quoted Mark Driscoll as saying about his resignation, that “it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church.”

His message “to the wonderful members of the Mars Hill family," is to know "how deeply my family and I love them, thank them, and point them to their Senior Pastor, Jesus Christ, who has always been only good to us.”

The controversy leading to Mark Driscoll's resignation include a misogynistic article written over 14 years ago, and more recent protests by former church members who did not appreciate how he treated their issues that led them to leave the church. After their research, the board of overseers concludes;

"that Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner. While we believe Mark needs to continue to address these areas in his life, we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry."

They emphasize that they did not call on Mark Driscoll to resign but actually "found some of the accusations against Pastor Mark to be altogether unfair or untrue." They "commend Mark for acting upon the vision God gave him to start Mars Hill Church and for his ministry of faithfully teaching the Word of God for the past 18 years."

Mars Hill Seattle
Mars Hill, Seattle. All rights reserved

Following the resignation, another Mars Hills pastor, Dave Bruskas, has now detailed in a letter to the church today how the church plans to move forward. He says each of the 13 churches that made up the Mars Hills' empire will either go their own way, merge with another church or close their doors for good over the next two months until Jan 2015.

According to him, Mars Hill will sell all their existing church properties or allow them to be assumed by the new, independent churches. Mars Hill central committee will also fire all their existing staff and then dissolve entirely.

"Rather than remaining a centralized multi-site church with video-led teaching distributed to multiple locations, the best future for each of our existing local churches is for them to become autonomous self-governed entities. This means that each of our locations has an opportunity to become a new church, rooted in the best of what Mars Hill has been in the past, and independently led and run by its own local elder teams."

"Ultimately, the success of this plan, and the future viability of each of these new local churches rest solely on all of us continuing to be faithful in supporting Jesus’ mission through our attendance and continued giving."

Supporters are praying for the church. Ocean Community Christian Church, writes on their FB page;

Please keep Pastor Mark Driscoll, his wife Grace, their 5 children and Mars Hill Church in your prayers. We encourage every Christ-follower to avoid listening to hearsay, rumor (statements like, "well, I heard..."), slander or gossip...this includes inflammatory and/or unsubstantiated clips, comments or articles....The Driscolls are really good people and have had a FAR more positive impact on this country and world than anything negative that has occurred. Let's use our energy and words to talk to GOD on their behalf rather than ABOUT them to others.

Photo Credit - SCOTT COHEN/Associated Press

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