The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill

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As you fire up your earbuds and listen to podcasts this summer, there is one you won't want to miss, Christianity Today's The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.

"The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill" is a powerful podcast produced by Christianity Today. The podcast tracks the rise of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill from a small congregation to one of over 15,000 people. A surge that turned to dust as Mars Hill imploded almost overnight. 

The in-depth interviews, the careful and balanced reporting, and the deep concern for the church make this a necessary podcast for pastors and other church leaders. The podcast doesn't simply expose Mars Hill; it reveals all of us and how we see, imagine, and live out being the church in North America.

The podcast raises essential questions of 

  • the use of power in the church
  • how good and evil can run through the same congregation
  • how we understand what the church is and does (i.e., ecclesiology—the podcast sent me scampering for Michael Goheen's book on The Church and Its Vocation: Lesslie Newbigin's Missionary Ecclesiology)
  • what American Evangelicals are looking for in a local congregation
  • whether there are other and more faithful ways of doing church
  • how the church became captive of the measures of our culture

For a closer look and deep reflections on the first episode, "Who Killed Mars Hill?", check out Gayle Doornbos' excellent article, Character, Charisma, Hope, and Healing: Reflections on The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, on the Center for Pastoral Theologians site. 

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Do we really need the example of Mars Hill's meteoric rise and calamitous fall to ask these questions?  The CRCNA has been slowly, genteelly, and apparently irreversibly declining for30 years.  Hasn't this been incentive to ask these questions?  And if they are being asked, do results show that they are being snswered appropriately?