The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by Ananias, Aug 3, 2021.

  1. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I wanted to generate some discussion on this because I have lived through two different church failures, and both were heartbreaking examples of what happens when weak church leadership leads a church to destruction. These experiences lent me a whole new appreciation for the struggles and heartaches of the Apostle Paul during his missionary and church-planting journeys.

    More than this, this is where my preference for episcopal church government began to grow. I have seen the problems of the congregational model many times: the lack of ability to scale, the lack of structure in the choosing of leadership, the cults of personality that grow up around young superstar pastors, the utter lack of actual discipline within the church. The episcopal form of church government has its faults, to be sure, but in my view it is a far better way to run things, especially at scale.

    The podcast series can be found here.
     
  2. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link! It is now next on my list of podcasts to listen to.
     
  3. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I am listening to this and when he gets to talking about sex it starts to get really really bizarre
     
  4. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Like I said: it gave me a whole new appreciation for the problems Paul was having with the church in Corinth.
     
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I’m a couple of episodes in, and honestly it’s a bit of challenge. That world is utterly foreign, and it feels like what they’re describing is an entirely different religion altogether. It’s all just made up and centered around personalities. The rest is just branding and business-oriented with no connection to any tradition recognizable as “Christian” that I can see. I don’t understand why people who wish to claim Christianity at all are attracted to that.
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Corinth was quite a place. Many 'modern' Christians imagine that tody's western world is pretty decadent and hedonistic but Corinth was really something beyond most of their imaginations. Paul had real problems with the church leadership there, let alone the secular scene.
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  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I made it through the podcast. Very interesting, and bizarre at times.
     
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  8. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    That it was
     
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  9. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I was told once that Ameeicans have a short attention span. I'd be surprised if very many of them listened to these podcasts to the very end. I skipped through most of them and have to say I rarely hit on anything which held my interest at all. It was merely a confirmation for me that there is a great deal of shallow, religious potential left in America yet to be exploited by wolves in sheeps clothing.
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  10. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Podcasts are quite the rage on this side of the pond. The typical episode is just the right length for the normal commute. Megachurches are a thing but they represent only a small minority of regular churchgoers. The largest denomination by far is Roman Catholicism.
     
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  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    How does one get to know one's fellow Christians in a 'Megga' church? Aren't they just personality cults with slick campaigns marketing popular religion like a product? They don't fit the "Little Flock" model very well at all to my way of thinking. Luke 12:32.
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  12. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I have no clue. They do things called small groups but then you only get to know a few people in a mega church that way. I find most of what passes for American protestantism to be shallow banal, and not at all deep
     
  13. Anna Boyd

    Anna Boyd New Member

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    So I was a part of Mars Hill, not in a leadership capacity in any way, just a member that participated in helping with greeting, communion, and at times counting offering.

    I can see your points about mega churches and how they can be lacking in people connections. I will say, that at Mars Hill and then the church we evolved into after the break up, have small groups that meet weekly. Those small groups can be upwards of 20 people (some are smaller, there isn't a set number, it's just whoever joins your group). In those small groups is where we got to know people, met with them outside of small group, supported and helped each other. I found small groups to be more of a connection than some of the smaller churches I had been a part of.

    Mars Hill had a big personality, for sure, and as the podcast points out, it was kind of driven and designed that way. But that doesn't describe Mars Hill well. It had many flaws, many of them discussed in the podcast, but it had many positive parts that were not connected directly to 'the personality'. We gave back to the community (clothed, fed, helped women caught in human traficking, helped other organizations that were soup kitchens, etc.). Mars Hill had programs that helped people and through Redemption groups (a whole other topic if you want to get into it) that also had positive and negative sides to it. Many true conversions happened, which is remarkable in a city like Seattle where I would not describe as a religious city. (and before we get into religious vs relationship with God, I'm just trying to make a description, not a theological stance)

    Why did people stay? It was hard to walk away from the positive things that were happening, while enduring the negative sides. The biggest problem, in my view, is that Mark would not have honest discussions (even though we were pushed to have honest discussions in community groups) with anyone. He didn't want to hear about flaws, didn't want to acknowledge publicly when he does wrong and now here is how he wants to do right. This still exists in his church in Arizona. It goes unnoticed (although, I'm starting to see some rumbling in Arizona) there because that church is so much smaller. Doesn't make it less of a problem. Many of us that stayed, stayed because we cared about the people around us, their spiritual well being and we were caring for each other as things fell apart. We were criticized by those that left and welcomed by those that stayed. I was both hated and loved at the end. For me, I was driven by my love of God and wanted to see those around me to keep on path and not have their faith shattered by what was happening.

    I would also add that there were other pastors, under Mark, that seem to be mentioned only when they are let go in the podcast, but they are great people that you would like as your pastor. Great compassion, good counsel, and a deep love of God's people and those that are unsaved around them. I had more interaction with them than Mark (again, by design) and frankly was probably the best thing for me at the time.

    There is more I want to say, but I have already said too much.... I need to learn to write less :/.
     
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  14. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Did you think that the podcast presented the events fairly? (I don't have much of an opinion on it one way or the other; I'm just curious.)
     
  15. Anna Boyd

    Anna Boyd New Member

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    I do. It has, in my opinion, shown the good and bad side of things.

    I know that they would like Mark to give his side of things, but I don't think that is ever going to happen, given how Mark doesn't like criticism whether real or perceived. It's too bad, because I think he would be treated fairly. Other sites have been more of a venting/rambling on about all the bad things, which were there for sure, but there was a balance of good thing going on that hasn't been given much attention.

    I was there in the early days when Mark was passionate and not the superstar he became later. I was able to talk to him and it was all cool. I left Mars Hill, because I had moved out of town to help my ailing mother. I came back around 2011 and at that point Mark was a personality and then you know the rest from the podcast...
     
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  16. Rhys

    Rhys Member

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    I was baptized at a Mars Hill satellite campus about mid-January of 2014; they folded less than a year later on January 01, 2015. I wanted to be baptized in a church that I felt was faithfully presenting the Gospel, and I wanted to be part of the revival that was sweeping western Washington at that time. I got what I needed out of it.