In case you weren't keeping an eye on all the usual Mars Hill-related news sources over Labor Day weekend, here are the three biggest Mars Hill stories to go live over the last 72 hours:
1. In a financial update that was obtained by Wenatchee the Hatchet, Mars Hill admits to "a substantial decrease in tithes and offerings these past two months, due to the increase in negative media attention surrounding our church." The church supposedly saw the decline coming and tried to prepare for it, but they admit that the "drop in giving revenue has exceeded what we have been able to cut in expenses." They want more money from churchgoers in order to make up the difference.
2. As Warren Throckmorton reported, former Mars Hill Pastor James Noriega published a Facebook post "confessing" to various sins during his time at Mars Hill and asking for forgiveness. Noriega says he doesn't want to add to "the rock throwing party" happening "in the media," so he doesn't have anything to say about Pastor Mark Driscoll or anyone else at Mars Hill, but his apology seems both sincere and wide-reaching:
Let me ask for your forgiveness. I don’t want your hurt from my sin to linger in your soul any longer. I am so sorry. I am so sorry I got in the way of the Cross of Christ in your life. Please forgive me. I am so sorry that I may not know who you are.
3. Earlier today, Warren Throckmorton linked to a Reddit post publishing a message from Mars Hill Bellevue Pastor Thomas Hurst demanding that Mars Hill either rebuild itself "from the top down" or close down entirely:
Lastly, in the end there are only two outcomes I will continue to partake in – seeing our church faithfully rebuilt, with love and grace from the top down, or turning off the lights and locking the doors if God brings our church to an end. As a Christian who has experienced God’s ability to move mountains in the hearts of men, I do not think it is very wise for us to look at yesterday and then presume we know what tomorrow will bring. God will show us what tomorrow will be and we will make our decisions then. In the meantime we are family and I have hope for our family because I have hope for our God.
No doubt this story will continue to unfold in the days ahead. It's very rare that we get to see a megachurch flounder in public like this.