Tomorrow (Dec 28th) marks the 8th anniversary of when the multisite megachurch Mars Hill held its final service before officially disbanding into separate independent congregations. On October 31, 2014, lead pastor Dave Bruskas announced plans to dissolve the church's 13 remaining campuses into autonomous entities, with the option of continuing, merging with other congregations, or disbanding, effective January 1, 2015 .
The church was founded in 1996 by Mark Driscoll, Lief Moi, and Mike Gunn. It was a multi-site church based in Seattle, Washington and grew from a home Bible study to 15 locations in 4 U.S. states. In addition to services offered at its 15 locations; the church also podcast content of weekend services, and of conferences, on the Internet ith more than 260,000 sermon views online every week. In 2013, Mars Hill had a membership of 6,489 and average weekly attendance of 12,329.
Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren preached the final sermon via video address. Warren said, "Let me suggest this: number one, refuse to be bitter about what's happened. If you hold onto bitterness you'll only hurting yourself. Bitterness prolongs the pain."
"Number two, refuse to blame anybody. ... Stop the blame game ...," he continued. "Number three, refuse to gossip or judge. ... You've got to let it go ... Number four, show grace to your leaders. Why? Because every leader is flawed. ... Number five, be grateful .... You need to be grateful for all of the ways that God used Mars Hill Church. Be grateful for all the ways God used Mark Driscoll ... Number six, keep your eyes on Jesus."
Driscoll resigned in October due to his admitted "divisive" leadership style. In the fall of 2014, a group of elders released a report on an investigation into accusations of bullying and intimidating behavior by Driscoll made by 21 former church elders. The elders did find "bullying" and "patterns of persistent sinful behavior" by Driscoll. The Board also concluded that Driscoll had "been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner", but was not charged with anything immoral or illegal. Driscoll maintained that he had not disqualified himself from ministry
Members of the Acts 29 church planting network, which Driscoll helped found, had advised that he take time off to get help, and rescinded Driscoll and all Mars Hill Church campuses' membership from the network.