Mars Hill Spokane won’t officially launch until early next year, but about 60 people from Spokane and North Idaho have already committed to becoming members of the Seattle-based megachurch.
They’ll be taking over the First Covenant Church building, 212 S. Division, and the congregation currently meeting there will move to the Garland District.
Miles Rohde, pastor of Mars Hill Spokane, said they plan to create a children’s area inside the church, but will mostly keep the historic building as is.
“I know a lot of our members were excited that corner was still going to remain the old, classic building from 1929, and not be torn down and turned into a gas station,” said Pastor Rob Bryceson of First Covenant. “It’s still going to remain what it’s been, it’s going to remain a church.”
Bryceson’s congregation, which will be changing its name, will be moving to an old grocery store at 733 W. Garland, where it plans to open up a coffee shop church.
First Covenant will continue its homeless ministry by using the coffee shop during the week as job training for those in the impoverished community, and using the shop for worship on Sundays. Street Wise, a food ministry that serves the poor and currently operates out of the building, will move with the congregation but will take food to the streets, rather than providing community sit-down meals.
Bryceson hopes to be open by September. For now the 80-member congregation continues to gather at the First Covenant building on Sunday mornings.
Rohde said Mars Hill Spokane won’t have a ministry specifically aimed at helping the homeless, but said they are welcome to attend services if they want to be part of the Mars Hill community.
Some churches have expressed concern over Mars Hill moving to town since Spokane already has hundreds of churches in the area. Rohde said they aren’t looking to steal members from other congregations and said anyone feeling called to attend Mars Hill should talk to their current church leadership before making that decision.
“We’re all part of the Gospel ministry in Spokane,” he said.
When Mars Hill Spokane begins services next year, they will stream sermons from Lead Pastor Mark Driscoll.
Driscoll is a best-selling author who has been criticized by some for his stance against homosexuality and against female preachers.
Rohde and Executive Deacon Paul Featherstone’s focus will be on discipleship classes and counseling. Rohde said he hopes to have a community group in every Spokane neighborhood, as well as parts of North Idaho.
The Spokane satellite will be the 16th Mars Hill location, and the one furthest East and North, which could make Spokane a hub if Mars Hill expands eastward, Rohde said.
Membership classes for the Spokane satellite began this week and another class will begin in July. For information visit the Mars Hill Spokane website.
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.
“Driscoll is a best-selling author who has been criticized by some for his stance against homosexuality and against female preachers.”
You mean some criticize him for staying true to biblical truths?! Wow…how radical!
I have criticized Driscoll on several occasions for claiming to be biblically based while utterly ignoring Jesus’ teachings on money and the poor. Were his emphasis on staying true to biblical truths, I would think there is a conversation to be had. Driscoll seems not about making disciples who follow Jesus, but making lemmings who follow Driscoll.
Lastly, I am female and I preach every Sunday because I am called by the Holy Spirit to do so.
The fact of the matter is, every church follows what theology they believe is truth and most believe they are the only one that’s right. Almost all of them can point to a scripture to back it up. I attend a MH church and i can tell you that even though i believe in the doctrine MH teaches, we as a general congregation don’t go around rubbing it in everyone’s faces, saying “we’re the only one that’s right”. We present our doctrine, back it up, and trust the Holy Spirit to do what he does best. To call someone a Lemming is insulting to the image of Christ that we are all called to reflect. We all bare God’s image, and we as Christians are to respect that whether or not someone agrees with us. Driscoll is not a perfect man, but i for one would rather have and imperfect repentant pastor then one who never repents at all. We don’t worship Driscoll either. We don’t sit around in community group talking about how great he is. We spend that time helping each other, being in fellowship, studying the Bible, learning about Jesus, and discussing how we can move The Gospel forward in our communities. There are plenty of issues we could argue about, but at the end of the day none of them really serve anybody, and they don’t really glorify Christ. If Driscoll was gone tomorrow, Mars Hill would most likely still remain. But ultimately, its God’s job to decide what church’s thrive and what ones die. Despite what the media says, its not about how great Driscoll is or how great Mars Hill is, its about how great Jesus is and what he has done for us. Every church has its shortcomings, but God manages to do good through many of them! What grace He gives! Don’t you think its time to let bitterness go, acknowledge our differences but find some common ground, and focus on the Gospel again?
First place to start…is with your name.
Anonymous comments send a message of ‘untouchable or unwilling’. If you believe what you hear in the whisper, don’t be ashamed to speak form the rooftops. Own you voice and stand in the open about what you believe. In order for the community to truly do what you ask, we must stand face to face not just keyboard to keyboard. That’s the invitation of this site if your are local. Read, comment, dialogue and debate but then take the step to meet the people and honor the image of God we are reflecting to each other. It forces everyone to be bold and humble, truthful and merciful. The digital age makes it to east to think we can know one another digitally. Incarnation is the sacred way and it demands more from all of us in this safe and secluded techno age.
I would generally agree. However as someone who just found this forum, when i see comments of aggression and name calling, it does not portray the open, welcoming, and honest, environment for debate that you purpose. So i chose to be cautious.
Guest: I’m sorry you feel like this forum has name calling and aggression attached to it. Truly it’s one of the more respectful and thoughtful places you can come for dialogue about morals and religion. People tell us that all the time, but once in awhile bad taste rears its ugly head. I do hope you’ll frequent the site and continue joining the conversations you’ll find here.