Mars Hill grows by 3,530 people in the past year

Press release:

Mars Hill Church has been ranked the nation’s third-fastest growing church by Outreach magazine. In the magazine’s most recent issue releasing its annual rankings of the largest and fastest growing churches in the U.S., Mars Hill Church was also recognized as the 28th-largest church in the country. In the last 12 months, the magazine reported, Mars Hill’s weekend attendance has gone up by 3,530 to over 13,100, which represents a 37% growth over the previous year when the church ranked 43rd in both categories.

The Outreach 100 report is the result of a survey conducted by Outreach and LifeWay Research of more than 8,000 churches and is based on average weekend attendance. According to Outreach, Mars Hill’s 3,530 person increase each week was the fourth-largest numerical gain of any church. Mars Hill is also listed as the church with the most locations, 14, which is five more than any other church in the country.

“Jesus is moving, people are being saved, and we are just a kite in a hurricane of God’s grace. Mars Hill Church is on its greatest wave ever, and we’re excited to see the growth and opportunities that God has in store for years to come,” says Mark Driscoll, founding and preaching pastor of Mars Hill. Pastor Mark, popular for his commitment to bible-based teaching, is also featured in a small article in the special report issue.

In addition to growth in physical attendees each weekend, Pastor Mark’s sermons enjoy tremendous viewership via the church’s website and podcasts. Regularly ranked #1 on the iTunes Religion & Spirituality podcast chart, Pastor Mark’s sermons are downloaded over 15 million times each year, which means that for every attendee of a Mars Hill Church there are approximately 20 more sermons that are played or downloaded each week.

Mars Hill Church was founded in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood by Pastor Mark in 1996. Today, 36 weekend services are held at the 14 locations among 4 states. The church recently announced plans to open a 15th church in Tacoma in 2013, as well as move Mars Hill Everett into the Everett Armorybuilding, and Mars Hill Downtown Seattle into the Daniels Recital Hall later this fall. In addition, the church has four Lead Pastor Residents who are currently being trained with plans to open four additional Mars Hill locations in the fall of 2013.


  • thobie1 September 13, 2012 Reply

    Sounds like some lousy research. This church alone has double the number of locations as Mars Hill in the U.S., not counting the ones overseas:

    Perhaps the original research qualified their statements by saying that they are only speaking for the churches that opted in to their survey, or something like that.

  • Pingback: What Does Mars Hill’s Amazing Growth Do To You? | Serving Strong

  • Lizette Beard September 14, 2012 Reply

    Whoa Whoa there thobie1. Easy now. “Lousy research” is a little harsh–considering I’m with LifeWay Research and this is one of my projects. 🙂

    We have a “no guessing” policy when we report numbers. A church has to tell us. We don’t get them from magazine articles, denomination reports, websites, or rumor.

    You are on the right track in your second paragraph. On page 31 of the magazine, it’s noted that some churches don’t participate–even if they have in the past.

    I have a ton of respect for Dave and CTK. Having interviewed him for a multi-site project we did a while back, I like their reproduction mindset–not just for churches but for leadership. I think they bring a refreshing simplicity and grace to the church today. And – they have a model that can do well in different cultures–not just suburban America.

    Hope that helps!

    • thobie1 September 14, 2012 Reply

      Lizette, yes, “lousy” may be jumping the gun a little bit. I guess my issue comes with the assumptions in the report about the research that it is nationally representative (and thus could make the claim that Mars Hill has more locations than any other church in the country), when it doesn’t appear that the research can be claimed as being statistically representative of a larger population.

      I think it’s very valuable for understanding the self-selected sample of churches, and perhaps drawing inferences from there, but not saying something representative about all large or multi-site churches in the U.S.

  • Rev. K.A. Christian September 22, 2012 Reply

    TGBTG! Its amazing when a church is being increased weekly. The Bible says God added daily to the church… This is a testimony of what God is still doing…

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