The Mars Hill Network has officially launched! The Network is designed to help large, quickly growing churches navigate new and challenging environments with the resources and support system that will allow them to thrive.
Last week, we held our first Network event, a workshop for all the lead and executive pastors for all 14 Mars Hill local churches, as well as our first two Network churches: Living Stones in Reno, Nevada, and CrossPointe in Orlando, Florida. The all-day event on Wednesday included addresses in the morning from Mars Hill pastors Sutton Turner, Dave Bruskas, and Mark Driscoll. Breakout sessions in the afternoon addressed specific ministry challenges with practical solutions. The day was concluded with a Q&A session where Pastor Mark highlighted the importance of being “curiously interested” in our culture to understand how to best reach people for Jesus.
With great anticipation and excitement, we look forward to seeing churches come together to help move the kingdom of God forward in the months and years to come.
Executive Director of Ministries at Mars Hill
Pastor Harvey Turner
Lead and Preaching Pastor, Living Stones Church in Reno, Nevada
What have been your big takeaways from Pastor Mark’s talk today?
One of them was hearing from Pastor Mark about being a Christian pastor: first my responsibility is a Christian; second, husband; third, dad; and then I’m a pastor. And that a pastor is somebody who loves the church, defends the church, prioritizes the church, and that I’m not doing this for my glory—I’m doing it for God’s glory.
Another takeaway was that God is having grace on my church, Living Stones. We’re one of the fastest-growing churches in America and have been for the last couple years, and one thing [Pastor Mark] pointed out is that I need to assume that that’s God being gracious to the church, and not assume that it’s about me, that because I’m the leader that it’s growing. But instead, God has just sovereignly decided, “I’m gonna be gracious to Living Stones.”
Had you thought before, ‘Oh, we’re doing something right”?
Yeah, I mean there’s always this pride that wells up, and you think, “Well, it’s because we’re doing these things, or I do that thing, or the way I lead or the way I preach or anything—and God uses all that stuff, but really at the end of the day, it’s him just deciding to be gracious to us for his own purposes and glory.
One thing that Pastor Mark told me a long time ago is that God blesses movements, not men. And so then that keeps you humble. It’s like, OK, this isn’t about me. I’m just along for the ride, riding this wave of God’s grace.
Pastor Donovan Medina
Lead Pastor, Mars Hill Albuquerque
What’d you get out of Pastor Dave’s talk today?
What I love about Pastor Dave’s stuff is that he really understands the church as a whole. He understands the church as a pastor. He understands the church as it goes through its rhythms and its seasons. I think what Pastor Dave gives is, he gives us the tools and the resources and the insight to do this for the long-haul. So we’re able to think through the different rhythms of the church year: time to refresh and regroup and restructure, go out, evangelize, make disciples. The rhythm is refreshing; it’s comforting. He’s giving us the ability to finish the race.
What’s it like seeing as how Mars Hill Albuquerque was originally his church, and now it’s yours to lead? What’s the vision you have going forward, carrying that torch?
What’s comforting about all the transition is that the vision has never changed. The mission has never changed. … When this is all said and done, when the concrete crashes down, the sky folds up—we’re left with Jesus.
Executive Deacon, Mars Hill Rainier Valley
Executive Deacon, Mars Hill Shoreline
(This event was Peter’s first day on the job.)
What stood out for you from Pastor Sutton’s talk?
PR: Well, for me everything is new! But just really being focused and intentional to get the systems in place to effectively run the church and ultimately be good stewards to glorify God. … [At Shoreline,] we’re seeing a season of growth right now, so it’s just preparing for that growth and developing out the systems to handle the additional needs of those new families.
What do you think is on the horizon for your church?
SK: For Rainier Valley, definitely leadership development, putting together the entire pipeline [for the church] and what that looks like. We wanna have a stable leadership pipeline because a lot of people in our context, they don’t have stable homes, they don’t have stable father figures, they don’t have stable anything, so for us, making sure we have the same leadership team, unity, cohesion, diversity.
What’s on your heart Scripture-wise as you look at the church and where you are now?
SK: Philippians 2:3, that’s the theme verse for our staff team. I think being in a culture that’s very consumer-driven, everybody wants to do their own thing. But to really look to the interests of others and not to have selfish ambition or conceit, how can I put my lead pastor above me and love him well? And then ask the same for a facilities volunteer, have the same level of love and respect.
PR: Well lately, for me personally, Genesis 50:20 where Joseph is thrown into slavery by his brothers, and he says, “What you intended for evil, God used for good.” And I see how the sinful past and wrecked past that I’ve lived, and coming to Christ, serving directly in the church—those verses really speak to me and that’s really where I’ve been the last several months and that’s what’s been on my heart.
See more pics from our first Network event: