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Mars Hill Church DowntownMars Hill Church Downtown Seattle has relocated to the former home of the first church congregation in Seattle, which was opened in 1910 and was the church of Seattle’s founding families, the Dennys, Bells, and Borens.  Mars Hill welcomed over 1600 people at its grand opening this past Sunday, January 13, on a day when church attendance was expected to be low due to the Seattle Seahawks playoff game.

News anchor Angela Russell reported last week on Mars Hill Downtown’s, “There’s a new chapter in Seattle’s history tonight with the salvation of a downtown Seattle building that is over 100 years old. The new tenant, a church, is preserving the building and restoring its original use.” The church is leasing the historic building on Fifth Avenue and Marion Street known as Daniels Recital Hall, after selling its Belltown location to a company called PTI Western 2012, LLC. One of Mars Hill’s 14 locations, the downtown church was planted in 2008 in the former building of the notorious Tabella Nightclub. Four years later, the church has outgrown that space on Western Avenue, currently holding five weekend services (the most per week of any Mars Hill church). The new space more than doubles the seating capacity per service, which will allow the church to reach and serve more people in the community. “This is an incredible opportunity to be a ministry hub for downtown Seattle as it will allow us to better serve the business men and women in our city, as well as the homeless and marginalized, as we’re closer to one of our ministry partner, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission,” says Tim Gaydos, lead pastor of the Downtown Seattle church. “Also, being closer to Capitol Hill is a blessing as we are serving and ministering to those who are infected with AIDS on the hill.” CrossCut News recently reported on some of the church’s community reach efforts. “We are looking forward to having a building that allows the Downtown Seattle church body so much room to grow. We hope to fill it with people who love Jesus and love Seattle,” says Mark Driscoll, preaching and vision pastor at Mars Hill Church The church held a Christmas Eve service as part of their soft launch. 2300 people packed the church that night for a great celebration with a choir, worship music, and live preaching from Pastor Mark Driscoll. They also collected canned goods, blankets, tube socks and food for the Union Gospel Mission.

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.

Current Events, Leadership
In a very large announcement, Mark Driscoll writes today at the Acts 29 Blog: Together, we decided, in light of all the complexity we’re facing, that the best thing for Acts 29 going forward would be for Matt Chandler to assume the presidency, move the network offices to Dallas, and select his Acts 29 staff. In light of this, I want to sincerely thank the people of Mars Hill for investing millions of dollars over the years in Acts 29 and the people of The Village for being willing to house the Acts 29 headquarters. As for myself, I want to humbly serve Jesus and his men in Acts 29 by doing whatever is best for them. Going forward, I will gladly remain on the Acts 29 Board supporting Matt, along with Darrin and whomever else Matt believes best fits the Board. Mars Hill gladly stays in Acts 29 as well. I’ll be spending much of my time going forward serving all of Acts 29, pastoring at Mars Hill, helping the Resurgence, writing books, organizing preaching campaigns, and doing media interviews.  You can read more here… Thoughts? Did anyone see this coming? Todd

Yesterday, I posted about a little bit of controversy swirling around between Mars Hill Seattle and Mars Hill Sacramento.  You can read the post here. Last night, I received a gracious comment from Mars Hill Sacramento Pastor Scott Hagan on the post and a link to his response.  You can read all of it here.   I wish all matters of dispute in the church ultimately ended up the way this one has.  The humbleness on the part of both churches and their leadership made this amicable outcome possible. Good job, guys. Todd