Mars Hill Church’s no-compete zone

Pic:patheos.com/Chris Rosebrough

 

Warren Throckmorton writes at patheos.com…

“This morning I posted the story of Phil Poirier who was an elder at Mars Hill Everett. He was asked to sign a clause in the renewal of his position as a pastor of community groups that would, if followed, forbid him from serving at a church within a ten mile radius of a Mars Hill church.  He declined to sign it and was relieved of his position because of his refusal. Read more about the situation here.

A couple of folks plotted the points where Mars Hill churches are located and figured out what a ten mile radius from each of the church locations looked like on a map. The first one below came from a commenter who doesn’t want to be named. The distance from North to South edges is nearly 100 miles and would take over two hours to drive.

 

Pic:patheos.com

 

These maps illustrate the problem caused by this “Unity of Mission” arrangement. Pastors, paid and unpaid, may feel called to move from Mars Hill to a church of another denomination or to start their own church. Examine again the language presented to the Mars Hill elders:

6. Unity of Mission

An Agreement between each member of the Full-Council of Elders, Executive Elders and the Board of Advisors and Accountability of Mars Hill Church.

As Pastors, we commit together that we will serve the best interests of our Savior Jesus Christ, and our church, Mars Hill Church. If and when any of us feel led to serve the Lord somewhere other than at one of the church locations of Mars Hill Church, we will submit our opportunity to one another and our Executive Elders first in accordance with Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

Together this day, we commit that our next church ministry will not be within ten miles of any location of Mars Hill Church, except with the express consent of the local pastors of the nearest church, the sending church, if different, and the Executive Elders of Mars Hill Church . We are, as Ephesians 4:3 says, “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” We care about the church, the testimony of our church, and the dear people who attend our church.

We would not want our actions to cause confusion or harm by making the people of Mars Hill question our love for the Lord, the purity of our church, or their decision to worship Christ here.

We acknowledge that as we adhere to this commitment, the Executive Elders and the Board of Advisors and Accountability will commit to do everything within their power to offer and support a church plant outside of the radius stated here.”

From http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/05/28/if-you-are-a-leader-at-mars-hill-church-and-leave-here-is-where-mars-hill-says-you-cant-worship/

 

Mark Driscoll

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2 thoughts on “Mars Hill Church’s no-compete zone

  1. “There is no indication in Scripture that this was a global commission to the whole Church. This is evidenced by the fact that other apostles were given their own unique commission in subsequent years. For example, Paul received a unique commission to preach to the Gentiles, to Kings and to the people of Israel. Also, the apostles preached many times to Christians giving no “commission” to go anywhere, but rather encouraged them to live rightly among one another in their own community. They were not often told to “GO” but rather to “be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you.”

    Dave that’s an interesting take. I’ve often thought the same way. Now I’ve found another, so thanks for your contribution.

    Pastors and Evangelists often spend their berating church members for not evangelising or bringing people to church saying it’s not the Pastors/Evangelists job to preach to the unsaved, but rather it’s their job to teach the lay people how to do it.

    I’ve often wondered why they don’t show by example first. And also wondered why in Paul’s letters for all the things he tells Christians to do, he doesn’t tell them to bring people to church or to go and preach. He was always preaching, and asking people to pray for HIM.

    He didn’t even seem to need a huge program and megabucks to do it either.

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  2. In my opinion this is just another example of power-hungry, money-hungry religion at work with all of it stupidity in full display. So the solution here is simple; these pastors who detach from Mars Hill should wake up (if they haven’t already – because maybe that’s why they left) get out of organized religion altogether and learn to just be brothers in Christ without the official titles and formal associations – which Jesus told His followers to flee anyway (Luke 22:25-27; Matthew 20:25-28; 23:6-12). And other would-be pastors who observe this ought to get a clue and not sign and such contract in the first place; It ought to be their first clue that something is amiss. If they are dumb enough to sign into this, I suppose they have to live with those consequences.

    Also, there is no such thing as “the Great Commission” so I doubt they’re “hindering” it. The “Great Commission” is a title made up by religionists and I used the parrot the term myself in years past out of ignorance. Jesus did give a commission to the disciples before He ascended to heaven… Attention to detail here: HE GAVE IT TO HIS DISCIPLES (the Eleven). There is no indication by the text that this was intended for every Christian on planet earth.

    Mark 16:14-15 – “Afterward He appeared TO THE ELEVEN as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world…'”

    There is no indication in Scripture that this was a global commission to the whole Church. This is evidenced by the fact that other apostles were given their own unique commission in subsequent years. For example, Paul received a unique commission to preach to the Gentiles, to Kings and to the people of Israel. Also, the apostles preached many times to Christians giving no “commission” to go anywhere, but rather encouraged them to live rightly among one another in their own community. They were not often told to “GO” but rather to “be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you.” Anyone with a Bible can read through and see how God uniquely calls whomever He wills and the specifics of any commission are directed by Him. The notion of some uniform “Great Commission” is simply not observable by the text and it just more evidence of organized religion trying to exert control.

    So, all of that to say, let Mars Hill be stupid and controlling and money hungry. They are only providing evidence that they have no idea what the true Ecclesia (Church) of Jesus Christ is and they are only demonstrating more reasons to flee and flush professionalized religion. If we stick to the commands and example of Jesus and the apostles, there is no threat by ridiculous false shepherds and false churches. More and more it is becoming apparent to folks that the modern church system does not represent any similarity to the Church of Scripture or the heart of Christ.

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