Mars Hill Family,
I love you and I praise God for you. I’ve got the best job on the world.
On a recent day out running errands I had dozens of people come up to say they became a Christian at Mars Hill, got their life turned around at Mars Hill, and/or met their spouse at Mars Hill. This happens all the time. I have an amazing seat to watch the Holy Spirit work in and through our church family. After 17 years on the job, I’m more thankful, hopeful, and grateful than ever for Jesus and our people.
With the summer coming, I wanted to catch you up to speed on a few things. We’ve got our big summer sermon series coming up after a few months in Acts, but before that we have our financial year end fast approaching at the end of June. Since the summer is usually a bit flat, as people are on vacation, it is very important for us to end our fiscal year strong.
For the third year in a row, over 1,000 people were baptized at Mars Hill Church during the past 12 months. Students ministry, women’s ministry, and Mars Hill Music all got off to very strong starts this year. Easter weekend was our biggest ever. We have multiple churches on the cusp of moving into long-term homes, Everett and Tacoma.
This big picture view is tremendously encouraging, and it gets even more beautiful when you consider the countless ways God is at work in the lives of our church.
Giving at Mars Hill Church is behind where we had planned to be at this point in the year. We have some significant ground to make up between now and June 30 in order to achieve our expected income for the year.
The shortfall is concerning, but thankfully, we’ve kept expenses down and continue to live within our means. We are also members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, adhering to the highest standards of nonprofit stewardship. Yes, we are a church asking you to give, because we know that worshiping with your money is better than worshiping your money.
In our various churches, about a third of the people who attend give anything. Please give. And please pray. For those who do, thank you! Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide regular updates to keep the church up to speed on progress.
Go to marshill.com/give to give toward this year’s budget and set an annual pledge to help us plan for next year.
Love and fruit
This month we’ll also be talking a lot about vision. As we’ve learned in the Acts series so far, Jesus has already given us a mission: to be his witnesses (Acts 1:8). As your pastor, part of my job is to prayerfully consider how this mission plays out through the life and work of Mars Hill Church.
I love to dream big, and I’ve got no shortage of vision for Mars Hill. At full maturity, I am asking Jesus to allow us to be a church of 50,000 people. We want to plant more churches in urban locations—old urban, like Seattle and Portland, and new urban, like Bellevue and Orange County—and we want to develop these churches into regional hubs that can plant more churches in the surrounding areas.
But honestly, health matters to me more than growth. If we are healthy, God will grow us. We want to make it clear that Mars Hill Church cares about faces, not just numbers. A church can be large and healthy. But if we overemphasize the large, we risk the healthy. If we focus on healthy, large will take care of itself, according to God’s will. As Jesus said, “Every healthy tree bears good fruit” (Matt. 7:17).
Here’s what’s on my heart, in particular for the next year of Mars Hill Church: I want us to be a healthy tree. What does that look like? Love. I want us to love Jesus, love our family, love our church family, love our neighbor, love lost people, and love our enemies. Jesus has loved us well and invited us to be witnesses of his by loving with his love. In closing, I’m asking three things:
- Please pray for our church to always be growing in our love and unity.
- Please love your Community Group, and if you don’t have one, join one.
- Please give as an act of love.
Whatever God has for us next, as long as we love one another we’ll be ready for it.