Mars Hill

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1401 NW Leary Way
United States
Senior Pastor: 
Mark Discoll
Mars Hill: Thou Shalt Not This and That


Just visited Mars Hill's website to check their address for this form. The flash animation gave me an image of a fist and then an image of a dollar.

This fist image was a link to an event where they'd be doing spring cleaning both in the community and the church--a good thing! Why the fist?

The dollar was a link to a financial seminar--giving, investing real estate, etc. A good thing...? I suppose. But my take on money and Christianity is that--at least according to some things Jesus said in the Bible--they're pretty much mutually exclusive. Harder for a camel to fit through... you know the rest.

Anyway, if I couldn't read, what kind of message would I get? That Mars Hill is tough and rich?

Visual communication is 80%--yes 80!!!--of how a message is sent and perceived. Here's what I SAW at Mars Hill:

Modern facility in a not-so-modern area: the place teamsters would go for a Starbucks, or the place advertising executives would go for a cuppa joe.

There were some paintings inside that reminded me of the cover art for "In the Court of the Crimson King" (

The lighting was low. The band was backlit in greens and reds. The music was something you could easily hear on the radio... Switchfoot-y, Puddle of Mudd-y, Creed-y.

Mark Driscoll was pumped up: thickset, groomed, a choker around his neck, a lost Baldwin brother perhaps (we were kind of far back: it was a PACKED house).

Here's what I heard: Marl Driscoll was telling us not to eat chocolate cake, not to be lustful, and by denying ourselves such impulses (and many others), we would glorify God.

I get it: selfish behaviors do not glorify God. But is simply denying those behaviors glorifying God? Was I hearing that I didn't have to DO anything to glorify God, I only had to NOT do certain things?

I felt like I was being lectured. I wasn't learning anything. I wasn't sure what to do next. I knew what I supposed to NOT do next. But I felt like having a piece of chocolate cake anyway.



From What I'Ve Heard, They "Put On a Good Show," But Their Theology Is Super Fundamentalist and Truly Borders On Being a Personality Cult Focused On The Ideals and Theology of Mark Driscoll

Mark's preaching is good, but his theology is quite skewed. Don't go here if you are a woman called to ministry, a homosexual trying to find a community, or a person who wants to learn how to think theologically. You will walk away hurt. The theology is spoon-fed and if something were to ever happen to Mark Driscoll, the church would probably cease to exist. I am not trying to sound bitter--this is simply a warning about a church that I think has some very unhealthy characteristics. It seems like the attendees are so focused on knowing Mark Driscoll's interpretation of the Bible that they fail to seek understanding of God and the Bible on their own. If you do go to Mars Hill, please make sure that you ask tough questions about the theology and know that it's ok to disagree with Mark.

I have spent time attending many different churches over my lifetime. I have been in an Assemblies of God Church, I've been in a liberal non-denominational church, and almost everything inbetween. I discovered Mars Hill three years ago and have been committed ever since. Mars Hill's mission is first and foremost to proclaim the love of Jesus. Nothing else matters more than this. While I know some people have concerns about Mars Hill's worship, culture, style of preaching, theology on ministry, women, baptism etc...I have never been a part of a church that uplifts Jesus more.


There are many things about Mars Hill that I am grateful for; primarily because the preaching is done in a way that is easy to understand - not too heady for a non-believer or new Christian, but not "dumbed down" for a mature believer. Contrary to what some people may assume, Pastor Mark continually recommends that the congregation "check his work" by spending time in the Word, not just taking 'his word' for what it says. Additionally, the church has opted to do away with the sermon notes each week so that attenders are able to follow along in the Bibles rather than use the 'cheat sheets' that used to be provided. Thousands of people have become saved as God opens their hearts & ears to this preaching. God is doing great things at this church!

I have spent time attending many different churches over my lifetime. I have been in an Assemblies of God Church, I've been in a liberal non-denominational church, and almost everything inbetween. I discovered Mars Hill three years ago and have been committed ever since. Mars Hill's mission is first and foremost to proclaim the love of Jesus. Nothing else matters more than this. While I know some people have concerns about Mars Hill's worship, culture, style of preaching, theology on ministry, women, baptism etc...I have never been a part of a church that uplifts Jesus more.

It's clear that people feel pretty passionate about this church and its pastor. My question to people that say "God is doing great things at this church!" and "I have never been a part of a church that uplifts Jesus more" is how does that support Jesus' message…?

As far as I can tell, Jesus' message was a combination of "believe in me" and "do as I do." So, ok, "believe in me," that's happening at Mars Hill. But what about the other part…? I didn't hear a lot of that at Mars Hill.

Why does proclaiming the love of Jesus matter more than living as Jesus asked you to…? What I saw at Mars Hill was worship of belief itself, not so much living the way those beliefs require one to. And--as a person who has seen far too many people turn belief into a weapon--this concerns me.


Theologically, Mars Hill is fundamental and
culturally it is liberal. This mission is to change
lives to and for Jesus. You can come in with
tatoos, nose rings, spiked hair, holey jeans,
and a ball cap. Grab a cup of coffes and prepare for at least one solid hour of biblical
preaching by a very gifted pastor. Stick
around and see how Jesus cleans you up and
gives you purpose in live.

What's liberal about homophobia and mysogyny? Driscoll has had to apologize for homo-phobic slurs, and treats women as second class citizens... Jesus wasn't really into any of that, as far as ever word ever attributed to him states, any way...

The bible and and Jesus are not props to support your prejudices. They are guides for living, and Jesus' ultimate command was "love one another."

It's really quite simple. Mark Driscoll makes it complicated…

Brother Matt -

I'm curious to know you know about Mars Hill... Did you actually attend the church at some point in time or listen to the sermons online? Or did you hear of the church and Pastor Mark through others?

I ask only because I've been attending for almost three years now and i've never heard the Gospel presented so honestly and simply. I can assure you that Mars Hill would not grow to it's current size in the city of Seattle if we and our Pastor were breeding hate. To the contrary, Pastor Mark is CONSTANTLY telling us to love our city and the people in our city (homosexuals and all) as Jesus did.

I can understand how things can get taken out of context, blown out of proportion and misunderstood. Personally, it's scary to think that if you or I had a public platform, how many times things that WE say would be misunderstood. I guess that is where grace comes in... and as a member of Mars Hill, I can assure you that Pastor Mark is well aware of his sinfulness, but he is all about loving AND LIVING as Jesus did. The two go hand in hand.

I would just encourage everyone to examine their motives before pointing the finger. We're on the same team, remember? Jesus is our Captain.

With love,

Sally, Matt visited Mars Hill and wrote about it in the book Jim and Casper go to Church.

His rating ofMars Hill is here:


Matt is not a brother he is an Atheist

Sally, you can call me "brother" because I am a fellow human being. And I happen to think we're on the same team, too--alive here on planet earth.

HOWEVER: if "brother" is some kind of code word for Christian, then shame on you, Sally. Why would you call one person brother, and consider another not...? How does that kind of divisiveness in any way emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ...?

So, Sally...? Here's who I am: I don't believe there's a supernatural God. I believe Jesus was a man who set a perfect example regarding how we should treat each other. (I think he was wrong about there being a God, however.) I believe--as Jesus did--that we should do unto others as we would like them to do unto us.

Am I still your brother...?


I really want to congratulate you on attending church for 30 years and sticking to it. I managed it for 20 years, but then finally had enough. =)

I'm wondering what you mean when you say Mars Hill is "culturally liberal? Here's what I found as the first definition when I asked google "define: liberal"broad: showing or characterized by broad-mindedness; "a broad political stance"; "generous and broad sympathies"; "a liberal newspaper"; "tolerant of his opponent's opinions" My experience both in interacting with others at Mars Hill, and in reading and listening to the words of Mark Driscoll, has been that the church does not have a culture of broad mindedness nor generous sympathies nor tolerance of their opponent's opinions

Most especially on the Mars Hill stance on the role and value of women, it seems to me that Mars Hill is definitely over on the conservative tail of the cultural distribution of ideas about women. Would you agree? Can you elaborate on what you mean when you say "culturally liberal"? Did you mean across American Church culture, across American culture in general, across world culture? Were you mostly referring to the haridos, peircings, etc which you mentioned? I'm curious. I would love to hear your further ideas =)

Hey Helen, How come churchrater let you put in a link, but it edited mine out? =(

Gee, Matt, aren't you a little volatile about the word "brother"? Brother has different meanings in different contexts. Sure you and I are brothers in the sense of being fellow human beings, and in many other delightful senses of the word. But yes, Christians sometimes refer to each other as brothers, since we essentially adopt one another as blood relatives. I call all kinds of people "brother" on this basis. But Matt, these are people who WANT to be my brother as fellow servants of the Jesus-guy who called us to be his fellow servants of God. Why must I call someone a brother in Christ who affirmatively chooses NOT to be a brother in Christ? Years ago I went thru a fraternity rush week in college, and ultimately I rejected that kind of "brotherhood" because I thought it was defensive and elitist. But heck, Matt, I did not expect them to call me a Kappa Alpha brother anyway -- I rejected their way, and I was therefore self-excluded from that particular relationship. Wouldn't I be a little pathetic if I were irrate at them over my own decision? Do the Kappa Alpha's have to kow-tow to me forever after I chose not to join? The truth is that life is short, and we all concentrate more time, energy, and affection on certain people than on others. It doesn't mean we hate or reject, it just means that you, me, and all the brothers-of-the-earth are finite. Nothing sinister about it.

Joe B: you're right. My comment does seem pretty volatile. I'm sorry for that, because that wasn't/isn't what's in my heart.

And you are right: I did self-exclude. But if Christians believe we are all God's children, then I must still be a brother, right? It strikes me as strange to say "God created all men in his image... except those who don't believe in God..."

If the god Christians worship is real, then I am a brother whether I want to be or not, right? It's not up to Sally or anyone else to make that call... right?

Only asking here... that's what I do!

Thanks for posting, too... have you read mine and Jim's book yet? It's all about questions like these...

Thanks again,

Actually I'm a regular attender by podcast, living Down Under makes it hard to turn up on a Sunday. I find it intriguing that the people defending Mars Hill against claims of misogynism are women! That says a lot to me.

I personally really enjoy Mark's teaching, find it refreshing and honest - I listen to the podcast most weeks. He's not ashamed to tacle the not-so-pretty bits of the Bible with consistency and honesty - and even if you disagree with Mars Hill's theology on women in church leadership it's hard to argue that it's genuinely not Biblical - Mark seems to be saying "I defend this as my clear understanding of what is taught" rather than "this is my preconceived idea that I am twisting the Bible to fit".

Perhaps not having women as pastors is more Paul than Jesus - but I would understand Paul to be working out how to implement what Jesus taught and demonstrated - so Paul's allowed to make mistakes :-)

And frankly do we need priests and pastors at all? :-) Solves the whole women in leadership thing if we truly live out the "priesthood of ALL believers" comment - that all Christians intercede between God and those who do not yet believe...interesting eh?

I agree with the last poster - and note that I do so as an agonistic with liberal views on moral issues myself. It seems to me that if you really delve into the Bible, the message there is fairly consistent about a) homosexuality not being OK and b) woman (if you are into Paul, as most Christians would purport to be) shouldn't be priests.

Note that I'm not saying I agree with these positions at all, but there are sitting there in the Bible and whoever calls themself a Christian has to find some way to wrestle with it, either by saying a) these guys made some kind of mistake (hmm, divine fallibility?) or b) for consistencies sake, those passages are correct.

 If you believe Jesus was a good model or teacher but dont believe in God then wouldnt that make Jesus a crazy nut job?

I mean - he did say he WAS God? 

Early Christians used household language like "brother" and "sister" for one another as they shared a common faith and gathered in homes as a "household of faith" in a familial atmosphere.  But this doesn't mean that they would have rejected the term "brother" or "sister" in a wider sense.

After all, the prophet Malachi associated a family relationship with a common Creator:  "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?" (Malachi 2:10)

Similarly, the apostle Paul said at the original Mars Hill (the Areopagus) that God "is not far from each one of us," since we are all his "offspring" (NET: "children") (Acts 17:28, 29).

While differences in conviction are significant between an atheist and a Christian, these texts suggest that a Christian has ample cause to regard an atheist as sharing the same Father-Creator, who is near to each one of us, and who looks on the atheist as his offspring by creation. 

So I respectfully suggest that Matt is our brother, irrespective of his atheism.

Great church. It's especially helpful for women from an abusive background. They have intensive ministries aimed at vicitims of sexual, physical, or verbal abuse. There is great healing through Christ and His Word. The men at the church are generally gentle men ready to humble themselves and change when challenged by Christ's example (which is a weekly occurence via the sermon).

saying that you will get a solid hour of biblical preaching is a bit of a stretch-  not sure the first adjective i would use to describe his preaching is "biblical."  and yes, i have some serious issues with his theology as well-  pretty far off


In a few words, it's all about Jesus. I'm a lifelong church goer, and Mars Hill takes a different approach to corporate worship. In the average evangelical church, you will find tons of music, followed by a sermon. Often times, that sermon will either be topical or expository. In Mars Hill, the worship is different. Since it's all about Jesus, you will find a handful of indie-rock style music (progressively louder as the day wears on, in later services) followed by a lengthy, engaging teaching (where you guessed it, it's all about Jesus), and a few songs at the end.

Mars Hill views worship as a complete experience, followed by weekly community group experience to apply the sermons teachings, fellowship with others, or engage in independent bible study.

Have I mentioned that it's all about Jesus? Mars Hill is a Church that believes in the Truth of Scripture, and is not bashful to support complimentarism which goes against the grain of secular culture.

Mars Hill is all about Jesus, set in a contemporary feel, with people of all ages, backgrounds, and political leanings.

In summary, Mars Hill is all about Jesus.

What does being all about Jesus mean?

Does it mean you love everyone equally as Jesus did? If so, the homophobia and mysogyny put forth by Mark Driscoll should infuriate you.

Does it mean you're against killing like Jesus was? If so, the the Mars Hill congregation should be up in arms against the war in Iraq--and any war.

Does it mean you're not interested in making money like Jesus was ("give to Caesar what it Caesar's... sell everything you have and follow me...")? If so, then Mark's buildings and marketing are an affront to God and Jesus.

What does it mean to be all about Jesus at Mars Hill? Because much of what I heard coming out of Mark Driscoll's mouth, I could never imagine Jesus saying...

Please, explain...

Definition of homophobia is as follows:

irrational hatred of homosexuality: an irrational hatred, disapproval, or fear of homosexuality, gay and lesbian people, or their culture.

Mars Hill accepts that homosexuality is a sin.

It is a sin. I have never heard Pastor Mark preach about taking violent actions against homosexual. Do blurt out words like homophobia, and expect a response of offense is delusional.

The fact that we do acknowledge homosexuality is a sin, is no different than accepting that glutony, murder, greed, and other sins are in fact, sin.

Jesus teaches us that we live in a sinful world. Jesus does not accept that sin, but instead bore it on himself the punish we are due (1 John 2:2).

The Mercy we have from our sin is the acknowledgement that in fact we are saved from our sin. Nowhere in Scripture are we called to accept the sins as normal, unless we choose death. Cause Sin leads to death, in all forms.

MH as a community preaches that we are to support those who struggle with sin, including homosexuality. If you disagree that homosexuality is not a sin, then MH is not for you.

It's very clear that those who willfully engage in sin, in whatever form, is not a brother in Christ, (1 Cor. 5:11) and does not deserve association with the body.

Correction: If you agree that homosexuality is not a sin, the MH is not the church for you. :)

I understand. But how do you explain Dirscoll's comments calling a nice man like Brian McLaren a "homo-evangelical..." or saying that Jesus didn't come to earth "wearing a robe like some fairy..."

These are hateful, homophobic comments, and it worries me that anyone would confuse someone who talks like this with a man of God.

The biggest problem facing the church is hypocrisy. Ted Haggard was the most recent evidence of hypocrisy in the church. And I can't help feeling Mark Driscoll will one day be the next...

When you preach hate, you practice hate. And the truth will out.

The only way I can respond to them is to acknowledge Satan's desire to confuse and muddle the truth. Pastor Mark is a sinner like everyone else, he says what is on his heart.

And we constantly resist Satan's attempt at accusing men of being anything other than we are called to be in Scripture.

"...he says what is on his heart." He has some pretty destructive stuff in his heart, then.

The biblical reasons you (and he) give defending some of these positions are a lot like those given by Fred Phelps, the "pastor" who protests at soldier funerals because each soldier's death is proof that God is angry with America for condoning homosexuality.

So be aware of the company you keep.

Hey Matt,
I'm a fellow non-Christian and share with you (I suspect, from what you've written) liberal views about gay rights and feminism.

That said, labeling those who view homosexuality as a sin as across-the-board "homophobics" suggests to me that your response is more emotional than grounded in reason.

I believe that Christians that believe homosexualilty is a sin are simply being consistent with the words their teachers wrote, and it's a belief founded based on elements of reason and faith. If you simply attack people who don't share your views on homosexuality, than I don't think there will be much constructive dialogue. Note that they are not necessarily saying that homosexuals are much more evil than the rest of us - we're all sinners, in Christianity - but that they are simply committing one sin among any number of avoidable sins, and because it's a sin, they should learn to avoid it, with the support of the church community.

Again, I do not agree that homosexuality is a sin, and I think women are men's equals in every way (and I'm not a Christian) but pose my views as a suggestion on how to dialogue with conservative Christians, of whom there are many (probably over 50% of those who call themselves Christians would be against homosexuality).

puh-lease... how many times can you tell us you're not a christian...okay, i really believe that

The Bible makes it VERY clear that homosexuality IS a sin!!! It makes it VERY clear also that homosexuals will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God! 1 Cor 6: 8-10 This isn’t a grey area at all, but very clearly a black & white issue!!

I have nothing against anyone who chooses to be gay. What I have a problem with is their sexual orientation! I have known several very nice people who are gay, but them being nice doesn’t change the fact that they have in fact chosen to live a gay lifestyle which puts them outside of the will of God and predetermines their eternal destiny! God does not want anyone to be separated from Him for eternity, but He also gave mankind a free will to make their own decisions, and some people choose to make a lifestyle decision that will in fact separate them from God forever unless the repent of their sin. 2 Peter 3:9

You are welcome to believe whatever you want and do whatever you want; that is what free will is all about. However, that being said, keep in mind that whatever choices you make now may in fact determine your place in eternity later. I guess to those that choose not to believe in God, I would simply say this; there will come a time when you will find out for sure whether you should have believed in God or not, but then, it will be too late to change your mind if you should decide you want to! You can live for your own earthly desires now and pay for it in eternity, or you can choose to accept God's gift of salvation and enjoy eternity in paradise with Him when your time on earth is done. Free will: the choice is yours!


ChurchRater is not a place to discuss theology. It's a place to discuss churches. But as this is an old thread, I'll leave your comments for now. Know that the bible also makes it clear you should not wear clothing of mixed fibers, should grow sideburns/forelocks, and that you should provide burnt offerings. I hope--since you use the bible to justify your judgment of gay people (also, "judge not lest ye be judged")--that you live these laws as well.


This church is misogynistic. I would never take a visitor here. It is close minded and dogmatic. They do not believe in learning or educating their leaders. They are a place to "see and be seen" by Christian young people.


I had my doubts going into this church being that it was telecasted and the pastor had a different theology than most, but those were quieted when we arrived. We walked in to a small auditorium where there was a small stage in the front. The room was dimly lit, but it almost felt like we were entering a cozy coffee shop that was holding a worship service. The service started with the band playing a few songs and then the screens were turned on as the recorded message began to play. My concern in the recorded message was that intimacy would be lost from the pastor to his people, but my concerns were silenced as I saw many interacting well with the sermon being played. The message given was one dating and what that looked like from a Christian perspective. In it there was much emphasis upon the man being the “bread-winner” and the woman being the “home-keeper”. While the message was entertaining, it wasn’t one I would so much agree with myself. What was said was backed well with scripture, but the theology behind it I did not so much care for as women seemed to take a back seat role in the church. The service ended with a lot of worship, of which the leadership team explained was put into place to empower those to respond to what they had just heard in the Word. I left that service empowered even though I did not agree with some of the theology. I would recommend at least checking it out


I was interested to see what it would be like to visit a Church that you watch a Pastor on a screen. As I walked in no one talked to me. I walked around and no one would even look at me so I could introduce myself. I really enjoyed the singing, it was not a show and it seemed really pure. When the sermon began I felt awkward watching him on a screen. I felt a giant disconnect between me and the Pastor. The Pastor really offended me but he was very entertaining. But the screen really created too large of a disconnect.


I was very surprised at how well I liked Mars Hill Church. We went to the King’s high school campus. We walked in the door and immediately, I felt like I was comfortable in the church. The mood was friendly and the low-lit light was attractive to me. There was coffee and tea there for anyone who wanted it. We were greeted by people whom we had seen the night before, but not by anyone else. I don’t know if we would have been greeted by anyone else though. The music was great! I like the fact that they use bands instead of worship teams. It gives the group a better chance to play together. Although, I don’t know how that affects the church community as far as people who want to play music. I was excited because I knew some of the songs and they still introduced their songs. It was a good balance. The preaching was great! There were some differences in theology, but I thought the pastor did a great job preaching! It was weird to be watching the sermon on a t.v. screen, but it was better than I thought it would be. He delivered it in a great way and I think it was a sermon we all needed to hear, regardless of theology. Taking the Eucharist was good, but when we went up to receive it, there was no one saying what was going on. It was a little bit awkward, but overall; very good!


Upon arriving at Mars Hill there was no greeters or anybody who seemed to notice I had walked in. I was with a large group of my friends that had decided to visit Mars Hill, so it is understandable that I personally got missed.
The entire service seemed very theologically structured and intentional. The musical worship was a small band that lead the group well and the songs were very well chosen, expression deep theological meaning.
The sermon was presented via satellite. The pastor preached the sermon at another sight moments earlier and we say the image on a big screen. It took a few minutes to get used to the whole thing. At first it felt like I was watching a movie. I was very passively participating in the “presentation.” But then I started to grasp the idea that pastor Mark was intentionally speaking to me as well as the entire congregation.
At the end of the service we shared in the Eucharist together. I thought it was very interesting and was rather puzzled when there was no introduction to this part of worship. No one stood up and presented the elements to the people or told what was going on. And then when we went forward to receive the elements those serving us did not offer any words to saying this is the body and blood of Christ.

I have not attended this church yet, but I have heard it is very good and have been invited by a friend. I do plan to check it out soon.

Actually, I wanted to address some of the comments I have read here...I just came upon this site, I see the comments here are very old, but I'm going to share my opinon anyway.

When talking about things like homosexuality, there are pieces to the puzzle that have not been addressed in this discussion. First of all, as Christians, we are NEVER supposed to put a person down for anything. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12. We all have sinned, and when we see someone else sinning, even if we do correct them, it should be done gently. Gentelness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and if you are not gentle, then I do not believe it is the H.S. speaking through you.

The other part is that Romans 2:4 says "the goodness of God leads you to repentance." God is not angry at people for sinning...ANY kind of sin! He sees the spritiual world, which we cannot see, and he sees that we have an "adversary the devil walking around, seeking whom he may devour" 1Peter 5:8. God gives us wisdom about which things are "sin" so that we can learn how to keep the devil from devouring us, because "the thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy" John 10:10. Most Christians have missed the whole point of why we're not supposed to sin.

Homosexuality is a sin, but that doesn't mean a homosexual is any worse of a person then anyone else (WE ALL SIN. No matter how long you've been a Christian you still sin most likely everyday, and more likely multiple times a day!). In fact, 1John 7:11 says "he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes."  

Did you know that there is a very high rate of suicide in homosexuals? Did you know that MANY that have come out of that lifestyle say that they were miserable and many people they knew were miserable. We don't want to sin because it is an avenue for Satan to steal our joy and peace (among other things like health and prosperity). Romans 8:6 "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Isn't that every human being's goal? To have peace, joy and a good life? The Bible tells us how to do that .... love others more than yourself, be kind and gentle, trust the Lord... "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon you, because he trusts in you" Isaiah 26:3

God is SO good, he wants you to have an abundant life John 10:10 "I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly." Let's not focus on the sin, but let's get spiritually minded and focus on the love and goodness of God, which will bring men to repentance as a byproduct.

As far as the woman stuff goes...OH LORD! How this has been misunderstood and represented!!! Does anyone notice that 1 Peter 5:5 says, "yes all of you be submissive to one another"? The Bible tells young people to submit to elders, everyone to submit to God, everyone to submit to government leaders (every ordinance of man) etc. Submission is a common theme that goes along with laying your life down for others, thinking of others as better than yourself, loving others and not demanding your own way. Simply put, being selfless. Submission does NOT mean obedience or the delgation of certain roles! Men are the head of women, but Christ is the head of a man and God is the head of Christ (1Cor 11:3). This is for the simple purpose of someone being more of a leader to keep order, not to demand obedience.

What do you do when a group of people are supposed to work together on a project and no one steps up to be the leader? That group wouldn't get very far, huh? The leader doesn't force everyone to obey them, but they should gently and kindly, take the leadership role, while still considering others they're equal and take their input and opinions with gladness. That is what a "head" should truly do. With Jesus as our example, when did he EVER demand obedience? He always gave people free will to choose to believe in him and follow him, or choose to reject him. He gave the ultimate sacrifice and example of love, by choosing to lay down his life and die to take our punishment. Any man who wants to hold onto power as the "head", is not following the doctrine of the Bible, because Jesus said "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." Mark 9:35. Men and women were given different gifts by the Lord, so they could work together in unison!  Not so one could control the other!! I believe that if this is properly understood, there wouldn't be such a problem with the concept of men naturally taking the leadership role. 

Romans 12:9 "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good."

Thanks for reading my very long opinion (if you made it to the end). You have no idea how much I shortened it! lol! God Bless you all!

Lisa: tremendous opinion, and yes I made it to the end. I hope your experience at Mars Hill is a good one. Many of the opinions on this page are old and maybe a few things have changed at Mars Hill since the bulk of this back and forth was posted.

PLEASE! Come back after your trip to Mars Hill! Share your experiences. Beauty and oftentimes truth are in the eye of the beholder, and I personally am interested in what you--as a thoughtful person--may behold at Mars Hill.
Matt Casper


 I went to Mars Hill in the late 90's when it was held in the sanctuary of a church at night in the U-District.  Mark told us that women needed to rely on their husbands, and if not their husbands then their fathers and if no fathers then brothers, etc.  

I stopped going.

I tried again a few years later when it was bigger.  This time, Mark told us that women must be submissive to men.

I also find it ridiculous that Mark has his own FB fan page.  idolatry?  creepy?

That's the kind of BS that pushed me out of the church.

However, the congregation is full of beautiful people.  So if you're looking for a fundamental Christian mate, that's a good place to look.


Thanks, Merle. I get having a FB page; gotta figure that if Jesus were walking the Earth now, he'd have one, too. (Think I'll compose an essay on that: WWJFB?)

But I don't get why so many MH acolytes seem to be ok with what appears to all others to be blatant misogyny. I would love to get someone here on CR who can help us better understand Mark's take on such things.

Thanks again for your thoughts, Merle. Hope to see more of you.

Matt Casper


I found it sadly amusing, and enlightening, when I volunteered for a project that included many volunteers from Mars Hill.  They were uniformly unfriendly and exclusive, not wanting to engage or talk with someone who was not already part of their group.  They may say they are Christians, but their behavior was anything but.  God save us from this type of "Christian."

Thanks for dropping by CR, pegs. What was the project? And how did it come to include people from various churches?

There must have been some collaboration between Mars Hill and other church leaders, but it seems not to have trickled down... sadly amusing and enlightening, indeed.

Hopefully, there will be other opportunities for enlightenment...

Matt Casper

It was not exactly a religious event - it was setting up luminaries for the Greenlake Pathway of Lights in December.  All kinds of groups and individuals volunteered.  It was striking how the folks from Mars Hill carried themselves - radiating self importance and exclusivity.  Or perhaps it was just insecurity.  I don't know, but I do know that they were cold and unfriendly and their behavior was inconsistent with what I understand to be the tenets of Christianity.


Okay, I go there, so I can honestly give it 5 stars :) but here's the deal. I have attended a few different churches over the past 14 years. (and visited plenty of others)

There are always, in every church (or really, in any group) the embarassing people that out in public completly wreck it for the rest of us... and sometimes we are those people. I have been for sure! Not just at church, but at work, or in group's I've vollenteered with... so I can totaly understand having bad run in's with people, having people rub you wrong. Mars Hill is pushing almost 10,000 people... There are going to be some strange ones in that lot just due to sheer size.

As a woman, I feel very safe and protected there. I do not feel oppressed or held down, the only thing I can't do there is be an Elder which is fine. Most Christian churches have that same view. This is nothing new or weird. Merle mentioned how Mark said that "women need to submit to their husbands" Mark didn't make that up, it's a verse out of the Bible. It's not saying that your husband is your master, and the rest of the verse is "and husbands you need to love your wife as Christ loves the church (church being all christians, not just a building) The bible tells us that Jesus did not deserve to die, but took every heiniously horrible thing that we ever did, took responsibility for it and died so that we would not have to suffer. What is wrong with a husband loving his wife so much that he'd do anything to protect her and die for her? What's wrong that as a healthy married couple, the woman trusting her husband, both of them being equal, but equally different and letting her husband lead? If he loves his wife, he isn't going to be like "Woman, clean! Feed me! Have no life but me!" but take the responsibilty for the out comes of the decisions they make, and to be a good man that protects his wife.

If you don't like church, if you don't like Christians, or if you have a lot of opinons about Mars Hill, it's pretty safe to say, that you are going to sit through a service picking off things you don't like. I think what people don't conisder is, Mars Hill is a conservative teaching church that is also unique enough to draw in a lot of 20-30's (and other ages too) which especialy in seattle, anywhere that has a huge draw with that age group is going to bring in more people, probably out of curiorisity and wanting to people watch. It's in SEATTLE, not Arkansas, if it was in Arkansas the only controversy might be what people are wearing and the kind of music in the church. Seattle is not conservative, so as you'll hear a million times at marshill, "It sticks out like the red headed step child" It's going to seem weird, and awkward, and not fitting in the city, but it really is full of good people... and almost all of the people there mean well.

to the people who say that they walked in and it was unfriendly... you don't wear a sign that say's "I'm new!" people don't know that you haven't been going there for 10 years... there are a good ammount of people that are not christians there that are also thinking that everyone there is rude because they aren't coming over and saying hello... maybe it's the person sitting next to you? Go up and chat w/ someone with a name tag... they can give you the scoop. Especially if you're in the Ballard building. There might be over a thousand people with you at that service. We really are nice :)

...And we're human too :) Please don't forget that (even if we do) all of us at some point just are plain obnoxious, (us being like everyone that breathes air) but we have good hearts... and if you got to know us more than just what you get when you walk in and sit and then walk out you might even like us, even if you don't agree with us.

You make some truly wonderful points, and I am glad you did. I have been hoping a woman who attends Mars Hill would show up here and provide some balance.

I know what I saw and experienced, but I also know my "filters" (mainly, I am a man, an atheist, and a bit of a lefty) and how they impacted what I experienced.

Your point about Arkansas/Seattle was a good one, as were your biblical references. But (of course, "but"), if God exists he likely doesn't discriminate between Arkansas and Seattle (i.e., gender discrimination is gender discrimination no matter where it takes place).

And I still think there's something unsettling (for me, anyway) about "letting the husband lead" just... well... just because. But I respect your point of view. It's clearly not something at which you have arrived lightly.

I hope for your thoughts to kick off a whole new conversation, one driven almost exclusively by the contributions women as I think they would have even more to say about the points you have raised.

Thanks again for visiting with us and participating.

Hi zipperdoodle, thanks for not getting mad at the people who have criticized your church - I really appreciate that.

I was interested in what you said regarding whether the church is unfriendly. If you're saying "We didn't say hello because we didn't know you were new" that implies you don't talk to people who aren't new unless they are your particular friends. I know a lot of churches are like that, not just Mars Hill but even so I'd call that unfriendly. It probably hurts people who aren't new the most - I expect it hurts more to have gone there for a long time and not had anyone talk to you than to be a visitor and have no one talk to you. I've seen with my own eyes when the established people at church only talk with their established friends - and this tends to include leaders so they are not role-modeling well - and I think it's very sad and not at all the sort of friendliness Jesus role-modeled in the gospels.

I'm sure you're right that the church is full of nice people - but, with all due respect, I think they'd be even nicer if they were willing to talk to people they didn't know. And like I said, members only talking to their particular friends isn't just a Mars Hill issue. I've seen it at - well, actually - I think it's been common at every church I've been a part of. But to me that doesn't excuse it unless someone can demonstrate it's the way Jesus behaved.


I've been to Mars Hill twice now and both times I have been very disappointed! The first time I went was around Christmas time a couple of years ago. I suffered through the band butchering Christmas songs to the point of it almost being sacrilegious! I have no problem with a performer trying to make a song "their own" or even trying to modernize it a bit, but butchering it beyond recognition except for the lyrics just doesn’t fly with me. A good artist knows what they can do and shouldn’t do to a song when arranging it.

The 2nd time I went to Mars Hill was just a few months ago and once again the worship band was a total nightmare!!! You would have thought these guys were performing at the head bangers ball!!! The music was so incredibly loud that you couldn’t hear yourself think, let alone speak to the person next to you!!! Worship felt like a garage band that was into heavy metal music. Worship music is meant to prepare the heart for the message you are about to receive and gently bring you into the presence of the Lord. When you blast people’s eardrums out, all they want to do is leave the building before the sermon even begins. A good worship leader knows what type of songs to pick to tie in with the upcoming message and how to mix in upbeat, up-tempo, and slower more worshipful songs together. Worship time at Mars Hill was nothing more than a bad garage band blasting out the ears of those in attendance with bad heavy metal type loud music leaving me to say: free at last, free at last, thank God all mighty, I'm free at last, when it was over! And, I'm not even African American!!

If the Mars Hill worship team wants to learn what REAL worship is, I suggest they go visit Dave Morgan at Canyon Hills Community Church in Bothell. Dave has been a worship leader for 30 years and knows how to prepare the audience for the message they are about to receive!

I have visited a lot of churches in my life, and yes, every worship leader and worship team is different, but I have never experienced a worship team that so totally turned me off and made me want to leave the church the way the worship bands at Mars Hill do!!! If I want to listen to the type of music produced by the worship bands at Mars Hill, I'll go buy a "Twisted Sister" CD and rock out at a time other than when I am trying to experience the presence of God!!


You are obviously very experienced with the whole worship thing. While MH worship may not be your thing why do you think so many disagree with you?

What do you other friends tell you keeps them going back to MH?

Jim, With all due respect, I dont really refer to worship as a "thing"! I am sorry you are feeling so much anger at the opinion I expressed. However, it IS my opinion based on the time I have spent at Mars Hill; and to date, YOU are the only person who seems to disagree with what I wrote. With the exception of one friend, none of my other friends attend Mars Hill. I wish you God's most abundant blessings and healing brother! God bless you!

Hey Mike, Jim is a very curious person and the written word is a tool that can't always convey tone. Maybe the word "thing" was in bad taste but it was more a colloquial description than a definition. Jim is a moderator, he actually just wants to dig deeper into your reflection on Mars Hill. The goal of this site is not to debate, it's to dialogue to help people gain a deeper understanding about a church. The internet can be a very hate filled place, so I understand the defensive barbs on this one. But on this site, we do come in peace. We just want to learn more and understand, and not always for our own benefit but to help the people who come on this site looking for a church home.

Hello mahoneyt, thank you for your message. I have to admit I did feel like Jim was upset that I posted a rating that appeared to be in opposition to his own views. I didn’t want to get into a debate or argument with him. I was simply posting my opinions of the worship teams, and rating the church based on my experiences at Mars Hill, which is what I believed this site was intended for. I appreciate the Christ like tone of or your reply. I like to visit different churches from time to time, and it is certainly not my intention to do so and then visit this site to tear down and particular church. I did however have some pretty strong feelings about Mars Hill and tried to share those thoughts, feelings, and opinions in a fair and Christ like manner. Mars Hill is a very different church in a progressive sort of way, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad church. It was just very hard for me to get past such loud music that I couldn’t even worship to and then be able to concentrate on the message with my ears ringing so badly. My intention wasn’t to tear down Mars Hill in any fashion, but rather to share my experiences for others to be aware of and also hopefully have someone from the church read the comments and understand that people are getting their ears blown off by the loud music that isn’t really worshipful at all due to the volume! We were sitting in the back and I can only imagine how hard it must have been for the poor people sitting up front close to the speakers! I noticed a LOT of people leaving while we were there which I attributed to the loudness of the music. Again, thank you for your reply, and please know that I will always do my best to be fair as well as Christ like when rating any churches, but I will also be honest, even if that means someone like Jim gets upset at my sharing the my opinions and the truth. I'm guessing he is probably a member of the church. Thanks again and the Lord bless you brother!! :-)