This update was published earlier in an effort to communicate this news to the Mars Hill community in a timely way. However, in our effort to communicate efficiently we were, perhaps, less clear than we intended to be. While it is true that the generous giving of our members funds the various ministries of Mars Hill Church, the original post below failed to acknowledge that the reason for much of the decrease in attendance and giving falls to us, the leadership of Mars Hill. We shoulder the responsibility for our past sins and mistakes—which has caused many to leave. As we continue to repent, learn, and grow in this season, we also bear the responsibility to lead differently as we move forward—for God’s glory and the good of his church.
Two weeks ago we shared in The Weekly some of the financial challenges we are facing at Mars Hill Church. While our church has been financially healthy for many years, we are now facing the most serious budget challenge in our history. Church budgeting is really a simple process in one respect: we are able to provide the level of staff and ministry programs that those who attend our church provide the resources for. In other words, it is ultimately our people, not our leaders, who determine how much “church” we are able to provide.
The two largest expense items in almost any organization’s budget are facilities and personnel costs. Sadly, we now find ourselves in a situation where we cannot sustain our current staffing levels across the Mars Hill network of churches and must move forward with further reduction of paid staff. This will, unfortunately, also result in a decrease in the number of ministry programs we are able to provide beyond our weekly church services.
While we thank those who will now be leaving our paid ministry team for their service to Mars Hill, we also ask for prayer for them and their families in the weeks and months ahead as some undoubtedly face uncertainty. There is never a good time to make such a difficult decision as this; most of you know our weekly attendance has dropped in recent months, and with a drop in attendance comes a corresponding drop in financial giving. We simply cannot spend money we do not have.
The significant decrease in revenue also requires us to consolidate the number of Mars Hill churches we can sustain as your Lead Pastors shared on Sunday, and Pastor Dave shared online. Some of our churches can no longer support the ongoing costs associated with their buildings and paid staff. Our leaders have agonized over these decisions but have concluded that just because we are a church does not mean we are exempt from economic reality.
Please pray for those who will ultimately be affected by these decisions in the days ahead.