My Time At Mars Hill Church

Posted: December 31, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

On October 14th it was announced that Mark Driscoll had resigned as Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Church. Then on November 9th it was announced that Mars Hill Church in Huntington Beach would be dissolving at the end of 2014. These announcements grieved my soul to the core and have left me in tears each and every day. For me, Mars Hill Church wasn’t a church I read about online or gossiped about with people who had never been part of Mars Hill. For the last 3 1/2 years, Mars Hill Church has been my church, my family, and a place where I have experienced so much of God’s grace.

My Experience
While I know that many people have been hurt by Mars Hill Church, and many people have had bad experiences at Mars Hill Church, this just wasn’t my experience. I am certainly not trying to diminish what some people have been through. I believe that the leadership of Mars Hill did sin against many people and my prayer is that at some point there will be repentance and reconciliation for those who have sinned and were sinned against. I wanted to write this to share my experience and have this serve as a reminder and an encouragement for those of us who did not have a bad experience to rightly remember our time at Mars Hill and remember all we saw Jesus do in us, through us, and in our midst. My time at Mars Hill was nothing but a blessing and full of God’s grace.

When I showed up to Mars Hill 3 years ago, I was a broken, prideful, arrogant, poor example of a man claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I had hurt many women that I was in romantic relationships with because of my inability to be a godly man and treat them as they ought to be treated, but God used the preaching of Mark Driscoll and the men of Mars Hill Church to help me see my sin, repent of it, and set my life in a new direction. For this, I am eternally grateful.

I had led various ministries and groups over the years and had become extremely prideful and arrogant, thinking I was God’s gift to the church. When I came to Mars Hill, I was taken aback by the humility of the Pastors and leaders of the church, how they continually pointed me to Jesus, and Jesus humbled me through those men as I watched them lead our church and lead their families. For this, I am eternally grateful.

Prior to coming to Mars Hill, I would have told you I knew the gospel, but it just wasn’t true. Sure, I knew that Jesus had died for all my sins when He was crucified on the cross, but there is so much more. God used Mars Hill Church to help me see that the gospel is the lens in which I must look at everything. That my past, present, and future sins have all been paid for by Jesus on the cross. For this, I am eternally grateful.

The Fruit
I have seen Jesus do miraculous things in the last 3 years, both in my life and in the lives of those around me. Not just people I knew well, but in countless people I didn’t know at all. There was rarely a Sunday gathering, a meeting, or people from church hanging out on the weekends where you wouldn’t hear a story of God’s grace and mercy in someone’s life at Mars Hill. I watched over 100 people get baptized. I watched countless single men in their early 20’s sacrificially serve the church, lead community groups, keep their pants on, and grow in their relationship with Jesus. I watched young men date and marry godly women in a way that honored the Lord and the gal. I watched countless men humbly lead their wives, their children, and our church. It was a beautiful thing to see.

As for me, it is hard to describe all the Lord has done in my life through Mars Hill Church. The gift of confession and repentance was given to me through Mars Hill Church and it had a profound impact on every area of my life. I have grown in my understanding of the gospel in such a way that I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I could literally go on and on with stories of God’s grace and mercy in our little church family in the short 3 1/2 years we were together. Here are two stories I will share. They are two of the greatest things Jesus has done in my life and they both came through the ministry of Mars Hill Church.

One Sunday morning I noticed this stunningly beautiful woman standing at the entrance of the church greeting people as they walked in. I literally couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. I asked a few of the gals at church who she was and quickly realized that this was not just a beautiful woman, but a godly woman who was way out of my league. I was soon introduced to her and found my assumptions to be more than true…. this was the most beautiful and godly woman I had ever met. It took me well over a year to finally get enough courage to ask her out. Her name is Jen and she is now my wife. She is the most godly, beautiful, sweet, and humble woman you will ever meet. I sometimes kick myself in the rear for not asking her out sooner! I mean, what in the world was I waiting for, right? Time and time again, the Lord has been faithful in showing me that I wasn’t ready for marriage. There were so many areas of my life and in my heart that Jesus wanted to do some work. Now I, of course, have not arrived at some pinnacle place in life nor have I been sanctified to the point where I am deserving of my wife… But it was God’s grace that Jesus did a work in me before I ever asked Jen on a date and changed me in the deepest places of my heart before I married her. I am thankful for the way Jesus worked through the men and women of Mars Hill Church to help me prepare for marriage and to better understand the meaning of marriage.

A year and a half ago my little sister fell on hard times. It was really the lowest point of her life, as she had nothing and was going to be living on the streets any day. All she had known was a life of drugs and trying to come up wherever she could. I let her move in with me and began to see her changing for the better almost immediately. A few of the girls in my community group started inviting her out with them and spending time with her. Realistically, this was the first time in a long time that my sister had been away from the drugs and around people who didn’t do them. I could literally see a smile on my sister’s face everyday that I had never seen before. Then while I was on one of my trips to Seattle for school, I got a phone call from my sister that she wanted to get baptized! The girls from my community group took her to church that Sunday and she put her faith in Jesus, then three weeks later I got to baptize my sister! She has been off of drugs ever since and is doing amazing! I am one proud brother to see my sister doing so well and I am so thankful for the grace of God in my sister’s life.

Let Us Remember Gods Grace
My hope in writing this post is that the people of Mars Hill Huntington Beach will rightly remember all we saw Jesus do in the last 3 years. My prayer is that as the months and years pass, we would look back on our time at Mars Hill not as a dark time, but a time where we saw the grace of God on a daily basis. Let us write down for ourselves all we saw Jesus do in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Share it with others from our church, talk about it amongst our families, tell the stories to our kids, talk about it often, praise Jesus for it all… because it was grace upon grace. Most of all, remember that we have a faithful God who sent his Son to save us, bringing us to Himself, and that He is faithful to complete the work He began in us. Amen.

The day I asked Jen to marry me

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The joy of getting to baptize my sister

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Riverside Community Group

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Sending out a dear friend to LA from our community

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Orange community group with 30+ people

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Praying over new leaders as we started 3 new community groups in Orange

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