Which describes your role at Mars Hill?
What Mars Hill location(s) did you attend?
What years were you involved / attending?
2011, 2012, 2013
How did you first hear about Mars Hill?
A friend of mine had been a regular at Mars Hill and asked me to go with her on several occasions
What was the circumstance of your first time attending Mars HIll?
My friend who had been a regular had been consistently and pressingly asking me to go with her. I ended up having some personal issues and decided to finally attend with her, feeling that I needed God a little more in my life at that moment.
What were your first impressions?
I felt that Mars Hill was unlike most churches I had attended. It welcomed me in my sweats, on a Thursday night I believe it was, or on a Sunday morning or night with my Starbucks in hand. The others that attended were in pajamas, sweats, business attire or nicely dressed. The homeless would walk in off of Central. Mars Hill was a judgement free zone I felt and as a Christian that is huge. I grew up in The Church of Christ where acting and dressing appropriately was not an option. You immediately felt judged and not welcome. Mars Hill was different. I felt like I could go to church, meet nice, warm, friendly people, some that were like me and some that weren't. That was all very important to me. Mark also didn't sugar coat anything. It was real. A lot of people were offended by his teachings because of that very thing, however I feel those very things are what kept me personally coming back. I am not a fake person. I don't tell you something to your face one way and act another and as Christians that's important and I feel Mark conveyed just that in his church.
Why was Mars Hill your church home?
I felt comfortable there.
What about your time at Mars Hill has had a positive impact on you?
Again I felt comfortable there. It was a place I actually WANTED to be. I learned so much there. I learned so much from Mark sympathizing, teaching, and being real there. He literally yelled to get his point across. He brought personal situations each one of us could relate to. The church he created was comfortable and judgement free. He definitely informed us when teaching that we were judged by a higher being and to a strict code of conduct and let us know that we should fear God, which it actually says all over the Bible. God is our father and he can inflict severe consequences if we don't follow him. However, Mark never made me feel literally scared about my life following God. He never told me anything on the surface I didn't, as a Christian already know, and most people as Christians do. Some people just need to be told in a different way, and he did that.
What about your time at Mars Hill has had a negative impact on you?
I do feel that towards the end of Mars Hill the dynamic towards the financials of the church were pushed harder and I'm not a huge fan of that. Yes I want to know where the money I am contributing is going, but I think it could have been done differently. I felt there was more pressure to pay more to keep the church alive "as a good Christian" so to speak and it was pushed more and more. That was a little too abrupt and bold for me.
What would you like to have changed about Mars Hill?
Only the above statement. Also I understand to get Pastor Mark to travel around to physically be present to speak has costs and isn't cheap. Travel never is and the money had to come from somewhere, however I felt the ticket prices to see a Pastor spread the word of God at our little church in Albuquerque were steep and felt that was pushed as an extra way to just pay money to the church. I wanted to meet Mark, yes. He changed my life during the time I needed God most and his teaching helped me so much as well as helping my nephew who soon attended regularly, however to pay that kind of money to see him in person seemed gimmicky and costly.
Which describes you?
I stayed at Mars Hill through closure.
Please describe why you stayed at Mars Hill and what that experience was like.
I stayed at Mars Hill because of Pastor Mark Driscoll. The way he taught was different. It was real and wasn't sugar coated. I am tired of hearing people tell me I don't live my life appropriately according to the bible when they have no room to talk and I'm tired of people telling me how Christian they are when I have watched them betray me or do things behind my back or they choose which pieces in the Bible they want to follow. Not everyone is perfect, but don't judge me when you aren't perfect either. I related to Mark because he was a person and he admitted faults and fails. He made me want to be closer to God but also taught me being imperfect is okay. That's important.
How would you describe the reason for Mars Hill's closure to an outsider.
It seems there were a few different reasons and I have not personally spoken with a Mars Hill leader. I have only gotten the news from outside sources so I wouldn't be a good advocate to explain to someone outside. I wouldn't want to give inaccurate information in one direction or another.
What's changed for you since your time at Mars Hill came to an end?
I have attended other churches but I can honestly say I have not since gone to church regularly or had the WANT to. Mars Hill never ever felt like an obligation and I could easily stay focused due to the way Mars Hill's lessons were taught. Regardless of the cold, or how tired I was, or how far away Mars Hill was I still wanted to go. I miss it