Effective January 1st, Mars Hill Church will no longer exist. The 13 Mars Hill campuses will become independent and have the option of continuing or disbanding. Altogether, Mars Hill had about 12,300 people that would attend weekly. This number dropped recently after the latest controversy involving the church’s founder.
Mars Hill was founded in 1996 by Mark Driscoll. Since its founding, the church has been involved in many controversies. For example: Real Marriage, a book written by Mark Driscoll was promoted using questionable methods. It was revealed in March 2014 that $200,000 of Mars Hill’s money was used to pay a marketing company to promote the book. The marketing company used anonymous payment methods to purchase the book, making it appear far more popular than it actually was, and landing it on the New York Time’s Bestsellers list.
The latest Mars Hill controversy stems from a combination of comments made by Driscoll and his treatment of Church staff. The comments were made years ago on online forums. They were crude in nature and not really worth repeating here, but you can find some of them at Vocativ. What really got Driscoll in trouble with his own church was the way he treated his staff.
Pastor Dave Kraft filed formal charges against Driscoll. Kraft’s charges claimed Driscoll had a lack of self-control, was verbally violent, and created a “culture of fear” to name a few. The list goes on; you can read the original formal charges here. It’s also worth mentioning that these are not real charges. They were made so that they could be investigated by the church’s board and ultimately get Driscoll removed from the organization.
“Pastor Mark exhibits anger and ungraceful ways of dealing with those with whom he disagrees and
who disagree with him.”
After these allegations came to light, things quickly went south for Mark Driscoll. In August 2014, the church-planting network Driscoll founded–Acts29–removed Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. On the 14th of October 2014, Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill.
Now, Mars Hill Church has decided to dissolve. Some of the churches will continue on (under different names), some will combine, and some will completely disband. If you’re interested, Mars Hill has updates on some of the church’s futures.