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The Weekly 9/12/14

Dear Family,

Isaiah 26:3–4 says, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock." During such difficult times, it is vital that our family keeps our minds and hearts focused on Jesus. He is our only true peace (Eph. 2:14). May you find comfort today in Christ, our everlasting rock.

Baptisms Last Sunday

This past Sunday at our churches, there was an opportunity for people to publicly confess Christ as their Lord and Savior through baptism! There were 48 baptisms across all our locations, including the seven at Bellevue the Sunday before. Baptisms are always a great reminder that even in the midst of a difficult season, Jesus is still King and "he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him," (Heb. 7:25)!

Several weeks ago, we told you the story of Khalid and Yesin, two brothers from a Muslim family whom Jesus saved at Junior High RED Camp. They have been plugged in at RED at Rainier Valley. Their mother gave permission for them to be baptized at Mars Hill Rainier Valley this week! Please pray for the continued discipleship of all of those who were baptized recently.

Mars Hill Spokane | Core Group Gathering

On Sunday, Mars Hill Spokane had their first Core Group meeting with about 80 people. It was a great start with worship through music and Scripture. Pastor Miles Rohde had this to say about the morning:

The most amazing and humbling moment was when my executive deacon and I served communion to the entire core group. People commented on how it seemed like the single file line just kept going. One core group member mentioned to me as he was taking the bread, “I can’t believe that this is our first time we get to do this--how exciting!” It was a great moment for me and I cannot wait to be with the people of Mars Hill Spokane this Sunday.

Board of Elders' Review Process

While Pastor Mark continues to take a break to focus on his personal growth and family, our Board of Elders is conducting a formal review of allegations that have been presented against him. This board has completed many interviews already with more scheduled, but they also anticipate that this review will take a number of weeks to complete. Until such time as they issue their report, they do not anticipate commenting on the allegations while they are being reviewed. We want to be sensitive to the process and allow the board and the Holy Spirit to work. Earlier this week Pastor Alex Ghioni released a blog post that we hope provides more clarity on the process this board is taking. We encourage you to read that post here.

Staff Chapel

Earlier this week we had to make the very tough decision to transition a number of people off of staff. Every department and ministry across all of our churches was affected. These are all good people who served and worked hard for the church, and we regret that we had to make these changes. If you know any of them, please reach out to offer your prayers and support during this transition, and please continue to pray for your church as we navigate through a tough season.

At this week’s Staff Chapel, we had the opportunity to invite these friends back so that we could honor them and pray over them. While they may no longer be on staff, we love them and they are still a part of our church family.

Additionally, Pastor Dave Bruskas continued his series on the book of Colossians on Wednesday. He taught from Col. 1:15-23, a key Christological passage in Scripture. Pastor Dave challenged and encouraged the staff to be keeping our eyes on Jesus through this difficult time.

Washington Wildfire Relief Fund Closing!

Thank you so much for your generosity! As of yesterday evening, the newest amount that will be given to the victims of the devastating wildfires is $48,298!

Please continue to give as the Lord leads you. Remember that EVERY dollar will go to support, aid, and help the recovery of victims in Eastern Washington. The fund will close on September 15, so go here to give today!

We are so encouraged by your overwhelming support and requests to know how you can pray for our church. Here are some ways that you can be praying for Mars Hill:

  • For Pastor Mark, Grace, and the kids. Pray for protection, safety, peace, and security. Pray that they would embrace the sovereignty of God during this difficult season.

  • For your lead pastors, executive pastors, and local church pastors. That they would be empowered to faithfully and prayerfully care for you, the people of Mars Hill.

  • For our current financial crisis. As mentioned above, we had to make some very difficult decisions this week.

  • For those staff members who were laid off this week. Pray that God would provide new jobs quickly so they might care for their family’s needs. Pray that they would focus on Jesus during this difficult season.

  • For those who are hurt and confused. Pray that they would seek the Lord and also seek help from pastors and their community of believers.

Sammamish: Mars Hill Sammamish has a lot of land/property to care for. On Wednesday evening, Pastor Alex Ghioni noticed a large group of people standing out front by the street sign. Thinking it was a group of protesters, he walked out but began to recognize some familiar faces. A couple of Community Groups had come to weed the flowerbeds by the street until about 10 pm. It had been a difficult day of conversations and ministry decisions and Pastor Alex was so blessed by these people who love Jesus and wanted to express their love for our church.

Olympia: Mars Hill Olympia baptized eight people on Sunday during their two services. A young man named Eric went to our Student High School camp to serve and help. However, Jesus rocked his world and did an amazing work of transformation in his heart. Pastor Seth Winterhalter shared that he has not seen a man who has been as excited and fired up about his baptism as Eric was. It was awesome for the congregation to worship Jesus and see the fruit of lives changed on a very emotional Sunday.

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