The board of Seattle-based megachurch Mars Hill has decided to dissolve the organization effective January 1, 2015 following the resignation of its founding pastor, Mark Driscoll. The 13 regional churches under the Mars Hill Church umbrella have been advised to pray for their local leadership teams, who will each need to decide whether their congregation will go independent, merge with another church or disband. Dave Bruskas, pastor of Mars Hill since Driscoll’s resignation, detailed the plan in his weekly letter published on the Mars Hill website.
“The board of Mars Hill has concluded that 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,” wrote Bruskas. “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.”
Bruskas explained that Mars Hill’s properties will either be sold or their loans assumed by the independent regional bodies. Employees at the central church office will be released, and any remaining funds after the church’s affairs are settled will be divided as “seed money” among the regional churches that will continue operating. Bruskas ended the letter asking for continued prayer, loyalty in attendance and generosity from the members of the regional churches during the reorganization.
“Mars Hill Church has never been about a building or even an organization,” he wrote. “Mars Hill is a people on mission with Jesus, and that singular focus continues as these newly independent churches are launched.”
Last week, Bruskas’ letter asked for forgiveness from the church family and “those who have been hurt by this church because of the culture we contributed to.” He said the local pastors and the elder board were committed to three values during the transition period: “localized governance, financial clarity and cultural change.”
“We wish to move forward together knowing that we are a broken and repentant church in need of a forgiveness and restoration that only Jesus provides,” he wrote.