Mars Hill Shoreline

Greenwood Ave N & N 195th St
Senior Pastor: 
Mark Driscoll Steve Tompkins?
Other Reformed
Will Someone Please Preach The Gospel!!!???

The whole multi-campus deal is something that I think could possibly work but doesn't or hasn't so far in Mars Hill's case... but I'll get to that later. Specifically shoreline wasn't all that friendly... I was only greeted by the person who "had to" and I was there before and after the service. The music was the one part of the whole experience that was really great, very worshipful but professional at the same time... a strange balance struck but they did it. I didn't know most of the songs... all but one hymn, that's because the worship band is a real band... "the northern conspiracy" (I think). On to the sermon, I say "please preach the Gospel" because I think too many preachers do what Mark Driscoll does: uses the church and the pulpit to conduct a self help or better living seminar. The church gathers, or should gather to worship God corporately... during the sermon I saw and heard teaching but not worship. Let's participate in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ instead of learning how Driscoll thinks I should date and marry especially during the season of Lent!!! Finally I don't think the multi-campus thing works for mars hill because from what I can see there is teaching coming from Driscoll to the six different campuses but no communication from the six campuses to Driscoll how do the events and lives of the individual campus communities impact how their "pastor" preaches? I don't think it does. How is a pastor (Driscoll) supposed to be pastoral in his preaching if he doesn't know his congregation and its issues?



Sunday morning at Mars Hill can be broken up into several segments for me. First is the aesthetics. The Mars Hill service on the Shoreline campus was astounding. In the middle of a wooded forest, this school provided an amazing "walk-up" opinion of the church. And I wasn't let down once inside. I'll go as far as saying that the set-up was perfect. Not to big, not to small. Nothing, at all, was messy. Everything was taken care of, and in everything you could tell that they had gone the extra mile. The next segment would be the people at Mars Hill. Personally, I felt very comfortable. I wandered around, casually talking to people, and I was so happy to be here. I felt like I could be myself, and at the same time, I felt like I wasn't being ignored. But finally, would be the most important area of Mars Hill, how well are the following Jesus. And my response is this - I have no clue. The sunday I was there, Mark Driscoll preached about the different methods of dating. There were seldom references to the bible, and if there were, it was only used as a "realting story" to a small part of Driscolls speech (yea, speech). I feel like this same talk could easily have been given at a highschool, or at a conference for married couples, but not a Chruch, on a Sunday morning. Where was Jesus? Where was the teaching about following him? I understand that sometimes that concept get's lost in the mix, but I didn't even hear a reference to the core things that make us followers of Christ, the things that give us reason for preaching & church - things like love, and mercy, grace, faith and hope. I saw this in the music, but since it was a simulcast sermon, I felt like 2 separate things were happening. 1 was a worship team that was paying tribute to the death of Jesus on a cross, and 1 was a man talking about the benefits of a courting vs. dating. What? Sadly, I feel like to many people are engaged with Driscoll's preaching, which is why they have so many churches, with so many people, but only 1 focal church name, and 1 focal speaker. Maybe this works now, but I don't feel like it is right, nor do I feel like it is healthy. In scripture we read from Paul about a place called Mars Hill. It is a temple on a hill, that all of these spiritual people came to praise a God that they did not know. Paul, being the smart person he was, went there and simply said, "I know who this God is that you worship. Let me tell you about him." I feel like Driscoll and his several churches don't know this story clearly, or else they too would be telling everyone about this God that no one knows - as their church name suggests. Apparently they still worship the Unknown god, because if "Mars Hill" knew who this God was, I feel like they would say something about it.


The Mars Hill Shoreline Campus seemed to be incredibly interested in church growth. It seems that Mars Hill wants to see more members come and join each various campus and that more people would come to know Jesus Christ.
But as to how they seek to do that is very interesting. From what I could tell there did not seem to be much of a sense of outreach to the community in the campus we visited. It seemed to me that the main draw to the Mars Hill Church was Mark Driscoll because of the celebrity status he has basically achieved. This seems very dangerous to me that the entire Mars Hill Church seems to revolve around Mark Driscoll and it seems, in my opinion, that if Mark Driscoll was somehow out of the picture Mars Hill would cease to exist.
In some ways they did seem to be able to create an environment to engage the culture very well. The whole set up was very laid back with different areas to browse, as well as coffee and tea to drink. The music was also incredible and this seems very important to me, especially since Seattle is such a huge much culture. But on the other hand the message and the set up was not very appealing to the culture. The set up, no matter how laid back, was still just as modern as any other church but it simply had a fancier more welcoming packaging. And Mark Driscoll’s message on dating that basically supported the subordination of the female in a relationship in every way does not seem like it would be good to engage the culture of a very liberal Seattle with.


I have to say that I have mixed feelings about Mars Hill Church. As I walked in I felt comfortable right away. The people were all around my age, the lighting and atmosphere were excellent, and it even smelled good. But that when I caught myself and asked myself, “Where are all the older people?” This really got to me as the service began. Was this only for the hip, young, collage age types? I tried to over come these thoughts and focus on the worship service. I instantly loved the music there. I have a deep love for Folk music and this music sounded so good and was so meaningful. I was instantly sucked into the worship experience. And then the sermon came. I could not believe what I was hearing. I expected to hear this kind of preaching from my old Pentecostal pastor back home but hearing this come form the professional setting of Mars hill after being apart of some wonderful worship music was confusing. Overall the staff was professional and was very passionate about the health of the church. The only down side to this church was some theological integrity. I really enjoyed this church and the people that it was made up of.

you have great intuitions and insights

"The only down side to this church was some theological integrity."

Could you be more specific?



I would have to say that my idea of Mars Hill has radically changed due to the fact that I have two friends who have found their place (at the Ballard campus) and due to the fact that I attended the Shoreline campus just recently. The demographic was quite different then I expected as there were plenty of families with children, and while the majority of folk were in their mid-late 20's and early 30's, they was a much broader range of ages than my experience at the Ballard campus. The one thing that really stuck out to me was the way in which people seemed to not just get up an leave, or not just walk in right on time, but when one shows up on accident 20min early you have the opportunity to see people connect with each other, connect with you, and see a whole different aspect than what I expected. Also, I saw a good majority of people who were involved in different leadership positions and yet were obviously volunteers. From my glance, it didn't look like a bunch of people who were roped into something but rather they really seemed to enjoy themselves and what they were doing. The atmosphere quickly changed as the musicians led the group in two songs (that were well arranged, and presented not performed) and then a video of Driscoll popped up and the sermon began. Yes, video preaching has it'd downfalls, but the community that seemed to exist at that campus made it more than just a bunch of people who got together to watch some dude on a big screen preach. While the sermon addressed the cultural topic of 'Christian Dating,' and the point of view on Bible is quite different then mine, I was impressed that someone was answering the questions that many of the people in the church had or had never heard an answer to. So while listening to the preaching was tough at times, the community is why I would stay.


Of all the churches that I visited while in Seattle this was my least favorite. There were many things about his church that bothered me. One of these things was the video feed sermon. When I go to church I would like to actually see the pastor in the flesh who is preaching. If I wanted to watch it on a screen I could have stayed at home and watched a television pastor. For that matter I could probably download a whole sermon on YouTube and watch it there from where I want. As Mars Hill gets ready to open yet another video feed campus I am concerned how one man preaching to six different congregations from six completely different areas of Seattle is going to be able to preach one sermon that will be applicable to everyone. Another thing that bothered me is some of the things the pastor said. He made several jokes during his message that were off color and not appropriate for church, for that matter some would have been inappropriate for television. He also seems to have a low view of women; in the material from the church it specifically says that it is only men who will be allowed to have positions of leadership. All this being said, they must be doing something right because they are growing and continuing to draw people into their church and different campus’s.


I actually attend the Shoreline campus, not the main one, but it was interesting to see how that played out. I was skeptical at first as to how this would work, and I still have some reservations, but I was shown that something like this is possible.
I greatly appreciated that songs of praise and worship were done live. It helped to reinforce the feeling of comfort that was set about the place. Also, everything felt authentic, which is always a great thing to have.
When the time came for the sermon, I was a little concerned at first. The subject matter was pretty good though I did disagree with several things he said(he was talking about dating and I think he said I needed to find a girl dumber than me), but he certainly is a charismatic leader. I am not sure I liked how, since it was a recording, he was not able to actually interact with the people, but none of the regular attenders seemed to mind.
I think it was a good look at the multi-campus church.


 I love the way Mars Hill uses Social Networking sites; facebook, youtube, and their website to encourage more active users. I like that Mark publishes his sermons and finds ways to provide leadership trips around the globe to take his followers on. Well done Mark! Keep up the good works!