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Beginning Again

Mark Driscoll’s recent announcement began a new chapter for Mars Hill Church. There is much to pray about and work through as we continue on this journey. Pastor David Fairchild wrote a post to Mars Hill West Seattle that was poignant and helpful. We wanted to share it with our Global audience as well.

Thank you for your continued love and support of our church. Your faithful perseverance and endurance during perhaps the most challenging time in the history of Mars Hill says much about the Savior who is at work in and through you (Phil. 1:6). I pray that following exhortations will be helpful while you individually and corporately work through this time.

1) PRAY. I know this sounds like a cliché, but it is needed more than anything. This is Jesus’ Church, so we go to our Senior Pastor and seek his will and wisdom. Pray specifically for patience, discernment, courage, and clarity. The elders have much to process and your prayers strengthen us in significant ways.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.”

2) SERVE. If ever there was a time to roll up your sleeves and dig in, it’s now. We need godly servants to help us in all Sunday services, in new Community Groups, and to lead as deacons, service team leaders, assistants, and apprentices. Each of our churches has specific needs that you can meet. I’d love to see these met so that the leaders of these ministries can focus on planning, preparing, and praying over what’s next.

Mark 10:45 – “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

3) GIVE. This is a sensitive subject during such a tumultuous time. But if we’re going to have a future church that is healthy and reproducible, the whole church needs to worship through giving. I know many have held their giving until the end of this investigation, but I want to encourage you to begin again. We’ll need a strong foundation to discern how to move forward. We want to make decisions that are based on accurate giving data which reflects where we truly are. Giving is an act of worship and good for our own soul. 

Proverbs 3:9 – “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce.”

4) SHARE LIFE WITH OTHER BELIEVERS. Honestly, I cannot commend this enough. Open your home, heart, and schedule to one another. Be an encouragement and means of grace to one another. Simply put, love one another.

Hebrews 10:24–25 – “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

5) SHARE THE GOSPEL. Let’s not allow the fear of man to hinder what Christ desires to do through his people. The truth is, throughout most of history, Christians in difficult parts of the world have been mocked, ridiculed, rejected, dismissed, and reviled for their faith. Allow this time to strengthen your resolve to trust Jesus in the tough places where his name and your affiliation with our church makes you vulnerable. Jesus is honored and you are built up in doing so.

Colossians 4:3–5 – “At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”

6) REACH OUT. Take the time this week and reach out to others who have left our church because they felt confused or unable to trust current leadership. Invite them back. There is no good reason we shouldn’t welcome them back with open arms and ask them to help us rebuild what is broken. I’d love to see many return and be part of the solution and future of our church.

Colossians 3:12–14 – “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

7) READ YOUR BIBLE. This is an absolute must. We want to be a people of the Book who do church by the Book. Let’s commit to being Word-saturated. If the words of others cut us, let us bleed Bible. If you need suggestions, focus on Ephesians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, and 1st John. They will soak your soul in truth and hope.

John 6:63 – “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

8) HAVE FUN. Truly. This has been a long hard slog these last ten months. Get out with your siblings in Christ and do something fun. Laugh. Talk. Reflect. Refresh. If we’re going to get healthy, then our rhythms need to be healthy. We need to sabbath in Christ and enjoy his amazing world with one another. We’ve been weeping for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Let’s fight to see the joy of our salvation restored again by doing enjoyable things! 

Job 8:21 – “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.”

9) BUCK THE SOCIAL MEDIA TREND. Be an encourager online. Where there is doubt, sow seeds of faith. Where there is sadness, sow seeds of joy. Where there is hopelessness, sow seeds of hope. Use the gift of communication, which God has given us, to build each other up and spur one another on to love and good deeds.

Galatians 6:10 – “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."

10) TAKE YOUR DISCIPLESHIP SERIOUSLY. No human is more responsible for your growth and discipleship than you are. Don’t accept areas where you’ve let yourself get spiritually flabby. Open up that Book about Jesus you’ve put off for too long. Listen to an online class about Scripture, the attributes of God, the gospel, theology, how to study the Bible, or any number of subjects. Start memorizing Scripture by picking a letter like 1st John and reading and memorizing one verse a week. There are instructions online to do that. Let’s be prepared for whatever the Lord has in store for us. A strong disciple of Jesus makes a healthy church. Challenge yourself to grow in the strength and grace the Lord provides.

Philippians 2:12–13 – “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure,”

I pray these are helpful to give you an idea of how we each might contribute to the overall health and future of our church. Take time to pray and think through areas where you might need some growth. Let’s trust that Jesus intends to conform you more and more into his image, especially during this time (Rom. 8:29). Let’s not waste this moment!

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