Paul teaches that the church is one unified body made up of many divers parts, each dependant on the other and equal in value. As Mars Hill enters its 10th year as a church, this description of the church is more relevant than ever.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
A brush of idealism paints the first century church as a nostalgic example of community and perfection. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In this sermon series, Pastor Mark Driscoll teaches on Paul’s First Letter to the Church in Corinth. The Apostle wrote to the Corinthians to untangle the many moral and theological knots they’d created, providing some of the richest theological sections of the New Testament. If you have any questions following this podcast, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe to this and other Mars Hill podcasts, go to marshillchurch.org, and here’s Pastor Mark with 1 Corinthians: Christians Gone Wild.
Well howdy, Mars Hill. Good to see you all. We’ll be in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12, Verse 12 tonight. We’re continuing a nine-month study of 1 Corinthians and on the way in, you shoulda been handed two things. One was called the loop, and it’ll have the sermon notes and the sections of the Bible that we’re gonna be studying together tonight, in case you forgot your Bible. Additionally, you should’ve gotten a booklet that has Jesus’ words on the front, “I will build my church,” and you wanna take that with you. It’ll give you some things to be praying about and keeping an eye on in the coming months and I’ll explain the content of that document for the second half of the sermon. So I’m gonna pray and we’re gonna get right to work. We got a lot to cover. It’s been a good day and it’s good to see all of you and thanks for coming out.
Father God, as we get into your word this evening, we come, acknowledging the authority of the Scriptures that you have chosen to speak to us, through the Bible. So, God, we come to the Bible with humble hearts, willing to listen, willing to repent, willing to learn, willing to yield ourselves to what you would have to say to us – and it is my prayer as we study tonight that you would give us your heart for the church, that you would give us your heart for our church, and that you would allow us to participate in meaningful ways and that he would find it a joy to do whatever it is that you have called each of us to do to make this the most healthy church; to serve the city to maximum effectiveness. For that to occur, and we ask that Jesus would be the centerpiece of our lives and our study this evening and that the Holy Spirit would come to lead, guide, convict, instruct, in power and gift us to do the work of an industry that he has appointed for us to do. And we give our time to you, expecting great things. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, amen.
Well as we get into it, and here’s where we find ourselves in 1 Corinthians. Great book. I hope you’re enjoying it. We still have chapters, 12, 13, and 14 that we will study over the course of eight weeks, beginning this week. These are the most debated sections. It talks about prophecy and tongues and miracles and healings and all of the good stuff is coming up. This week, Paul is going to lay down for a foundational principles of our unity, diversity, interdependence and worth insofar as the church he is concerned and how we do life together. And so, by way of preface, I will just tell you that the church is, is not just a building, it’s not just a place, it’s not an event, it really and truly is, in its essence, people, living their life together with Jesus as their center and their Lord and their God and their savior he and Jesus as the one who is knitting various people together, changing their lives and working through one another, so that each person is blessed and so that more people meet him.
And so, when we speak of church, we’re speaking of a community of people doing life together around the person and the work of Jesus as revealed in the Bible. And so, as we get into a tonight, these principles are gonna be foundational for our church, and I’ll spend the second half of our time together getting into great detail, very specifically, if informing you of the changes that have already happened at Mars Hill and what is in store for us in the coming years as we have, literally, reengineered this entire church in preparation for our tenth anniversary coming up this fall.
So we’ll start, Chapter 12, Verse 12 of 1 Corinthians. The first principle is this principle of unity. That God intends for his people and churches to be unified, and I know that some of you have come from churches where there were church splits and fighting and faction and different groups of the church were against other groups and there were different agendas and, by God’s kindness, to be honest with you, this has been an exceedingly unified church, since the beginning. We have not had church splits. We have never had a fallout of a divisive nature among the elders, the pastors in this church, and two this day, there is incredible unity among our leadership. It’s actually one of the great joys of working here, and it’s so important to pursue unity because Jesus prayed for, John 17, he says, “Father, my prayer is that you would make them one as we are one.”
Unity is so important among God’s people, the church, he that Jesus prayed for it and Paul speaks specifically of how that kind of unity can be obtained through the Holy Spirit. He says, beginning in Chapter 12, Verse 12, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” He’s working here by way of analogy, to articulate to us what it means to be a Christian church. And he has chosen one of his favorite analogies, which is the analogy of the body. And you think about your body, what a miracle your body is, your physical body. The Psalmists says that we’re fearfully and wonderfully made. And we are. I’m no doctor, but some of the research I did says that we have over 200 bones in our body, 650 skeletal muscles, 210 cell types. You have so many different parts of your body, visible and invisible, and you have so many systems in your body that worked together, but sometimes, we sort of miss the absolute wonder and miracle it is for all of the little things we do in life and how all of the different systems and parts of the human anatomy work together for singular purposes and causes. I was meditating on this verse yesterday. My daughter, Ashley, she’s my oldest, two days her ninth birthday and I was working today, so yesterday I spent time with her. We had a daddy date for her birthday.
So I said, “Well what do you wanna do?” And so we came up with this idea. Let’s get up early, let’s go out to breakfast at Pike Place Market, let’s walk the market, I’ll buy you tons of jewelry, maybe clothes that they have some in your size. I’ll buy you flowers, ‘cause you’re a total girl. And so we did. We got up early and we went downtown and I was walking through the market, I thought, “What a miracle it is. I mean, here I am holding hands with my little girl. We’re walking. We’re talking. We’re smelling, you know, food and flowers. We’re looking at jewelry and clothing. We are picking things up. We are feeding ourselves. We are visiting. We are laughing.” Just all of the systems in our physical body, all of the parts of our physical body that are working together, just for my daughter and I to get daddy time – a couple hours on a little adventure together. It’s just absolutely astonishing how well the body works and how much it is able to achieve and sometimes we take for granted our physical body until all of a sudden we have sickness or injury or illness. And then all of a sudden we realize that the body is a miracle and when it’s not functioning well, everything is implicated in its illness or is injury.
Paul says so it is with the church. The church, when it is appropriately functioning, is supposed to be like a body. That everybody in the church, every person in the church, is a part of the body. We’ll get into this in a few weeks but some of you are toes and fingers and years and rear ends in armpits, and we are all part of the body of Christ. And that’s one of the great joys – is that we all have something important, we all are connected to other people and everybody’s doing their part and working together for singular mission and cause of bringing the love of Jesus to Seattle, which is one of the least church cities in America. And the question then is, will how do we obtain this unity? And Paul says, well actually it’s something that God does and he does it through the Holy Spirit. And he says that all who are Christians have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. And this is it referring to water baptism, it’s referring to spirit baptism and that is analogous two when you become a Christian.
And when I was in college, I was 19, I was not a Christian but then the Holy Spirit came into my life and all of a sudden, my mind open up and I understood Jesus was God, died for my sense, and rose in love for me. And my heart was changed. I love Jesus. I remember waking up one day, going, “I really like Jesus.” That was different. Yesterday, I didn’t. And I remember my well-being changed, thinking, “I need to read my Bible and I need to be more like Jesus.” So my minds and my will end of my emotions in my heart are all changed. What is that? That’s the Holy Spirit. Just changing me from the inside out. Jeremiah says taking out my heart of stone, giving me a heart of flesh. Taking out my resistance to God and giving me a desire to love and to obey and to follow and to serve God. And that’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit where the Holy Spirit comes into a person and transforms them from the inside out and empowers them to live a new life and gifts them to do ministry in service to Jesus Christ.
And for those of you who have experienced it, you know that this is a radical thing. That you’re never the same that things change – that you change. And Paul says that if we are Christians, what causes our unity is the Holy Spirit. Right? The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the bible and Christians read the Bible. That’s where we go for the truth. That when Christians are convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin, we repent and get it to Jesus. That’s what we do. When other people apologize and repent to us, we forgive them as Jesus has forgiven us. And what Paul is saying is that our unity comes – not that we’re all alike but in fact that we are all filled with the same spirit, we are all led by the same spirit, you’re all reading the same Bible, we’re all being convicted by the same spirit of sin. We’re all loving one another with the love that God has poured out into our hearts to the Holy Spirit, the book of Romans says. So, when were convicted and when we love and when we see the truth and when we’re transformed and when we serve, it’s all by the enablement, the empowerment of God the Holy Spirit. That he has baptized us, making as Christians, and that we continue to drink from his well of kindness, and thereby enabling us to live a new life that is increasingly more patterned after the life of Jesus. So, unity is not possible apart from the Holy Spirit. But with the Holy Spirit, unity is not only possible, it is the natural result of people following the leading of God, the Holy Spirit.
So, his first point is that Christians have and should have unity. That’s why fighting in disagreement and Christians who are turning on one another in very negative ways is such a sad thing, because we are to love one another and where to be unified. Just as there is one God, father son and spirit, they are unified. They are singular in mind and purpose and identity and will and as there is one God, so God’s people in their diverse community, are to be unified as one, which leads to his second point, is that – in spite of our unity, we still maintain diversity. Because unity is not uniformity. Some of you may not be Christians and you may be worried about becoming a Christian, saying, “I know a Christian, do I have to be just like them?” Well, to be a Christian means you do hate sin, love Jesus, read your Bible, pray, those kinds of things are consistent and we have unity around that, but there’s also a great deal of diversity. All right, that in, in our church, even, there is diversity. There’s different kinda people, right? I mean, you just look next to you. I mean there’s hip-hoppers sitting next to indie rockers and there’s dudes in suits sitting next to dudes in Mohawks, right? And one is looking at the other, saying, “You need a job.” And the other is saying, “You need freedom in Christ.” And we have all these things to talk about, and there’s great diversity.
And here’s how he says it in Verse 14. “Now the body is not made up of one part but many.” Just like your body’s got a lot of parts, so this church has got a lot of parts, as the parts of your body are different. Your toe is not your head, thankfully, you know? That’s so, in the church that there are different people and they’ve each got a part to play. He goes on: “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say,
‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.” Verse 17: “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?” Here’s what he’s saying. Within the church, this church, there is unity but there’s also diversity. Black, and white, young, old, rich, poor, hip hop, indie rock, highly educated, school of hard knocks, people who are really rich, people who are living on Top Ramen and going to college, right? There’s all kinds of people. And you walk into the room, and you say, “Well, they’re different styles, tastes, colors, races, backgrounds, genders, what in the world are these people all doing together?” Because apart from Jesus, the people who call Mars Hill home would not all be one community, right? At all. I mean, we’d be killing each other. That’s what we’d be doing because of the differences would lead to divisions, which would lead to conflict and would lead to hatred and would lead to all kinds of sin and prejudice but in Jesus – you say, “Well, I love Jesus, you love Jesus. Well that’s all that really matters.” And as Jesus is the center of our community, as we pull together around Jesus, we actually grow closer to one another. Right, if you’re walking toward Jesus and I’m walking toward Jesus, we’re unified because we’re getting closer together.
And so one of the great things is Jesus says, by this the world will you know you’re my disciples if you love one another. So you walk into a church and you say, “Well, there’s lots of different people here. Well how come you guys are all together? What’s going on here?” Jesus. “Oh. Well Jesus seems to be bigger than our class and our race and our income and our gender and our life experience and education. It seems like Jesus is big enough to love a wide number of people, to change them and bring them together as one very diverse, loving, unified family and not take away their diversity. Not take away their distinctions.” And we’re not talking about here distinctions and diversity that are sin or heresy, where just talking about people who do life a little different, have different perspectives and backgrounds and preferences and such.
And in saying this – I love the fact that he does not say that we need to be uniform. You know, it’s a terrible thing when you walk into a church and everybody looks the same and everybody’s into the same music, and watches the same film, and has the same hobbies, when everybody kinda wears the same clothes. Paul says it really shouldn’t be like that. It doesn’t need to be like that. And at Mars Hill, the diversity is pronouns because of a few things – one, we’re a large church and the larger the church, the greater the number of people, so the greater the diversity that is likely to occur of people. And secondarily, we’re in the city. Right, any time you’re in an urban area, you have a high concentration of diverse kinds of people and as our church continues to grow in the city, you’re gonna see all kinds of different people, right? I mean if you go out to a very rural area, you’re gonna see the kind of people you see if you just hang out down on, you know, Broadway or down on the Ave, right? I was downtown Friday night with my wife and she was shopping and I just sat out there and I mean it looked like the Sea Fair parade. There was pirates, there’s clowns and everything. It wasn’t the Sea Fair parade, it was just people going out for drinks, you know, but that’s what you get in the city and that’s why I love the city. There just all kinds of different people.
And in our church there’s great diversity as well. There’s people working in children’s ministry, in technology, and sound and light and video and ushers and greeters and set up and tear down and community group leaders opening their home, teaching the bible; and people teaching classes during the week and people helping in the area of finances and administration and church planting – and all that is Mars Hill is a great number of people doing all kinds of different things. And Paul’s point is that it is a very sad day when some group in the church says what we’re doing is more important than what anyone else is doing. I mean now we’re meeting in West Seattle, Ballard and Shoreline. It’d be terrible if Ballard said we don’t care about Shoreline, we don’t go there. What’s that got to do with us? While that’s our family in Jesus and we love them and care for them and we’re concerned about them and West Seattle and vice versa. And the saddest thing they can have been is when all the same kind of people go to a church and they say, “We do teaching, not evangelism.” “We do evangelism, not teaching.” Or, “We do social justice but not church planting.” And they’re a single issue voter church that all they do is one thing, when the church is supposed to do as many things as it can so that as many people are utilized and as many gifts are employed for the purpose of building a great church to love and serve as many people as possible. And so diversity is a good thing.
Even if you go to our services, different musical styles, there’s a different crowds. This is our last service of the day, right? This is a different crowd, 9:00 in the morning we all got button-downs and little trousers on and decaf and “Howdy!” and you are the 7:00, right? You’re like it’s almost happy hour, you know? “Appetizers are cheap, will go to Mars Hill but if it’s not good, we’re leaving early and going to get some wings.” Right? I mean, it’s just different groups, and that’s cool. We love all of you, even the other guys with jobs.
Third point is that though we have unity and diversity, we also have interdependence. We need each other. It’s not like these people over here do evangelism, and the single people over here, and the married people over here, and the Bible teachers over here, and the administrators over – no. Everybody needs everybody and everybody is important. He says in Verse 18, “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” He’s talking here about interdependence. Different people working together and we need each other. And this is, this is absolutely true. I mean, I can remember early on in Mars Hill. There really wasn’t hardly any diversity. Everybody was 20 years old, unemployed. We didn’t have any kids. We didn’t even have a kid’s ministry. Now you look at it today. Now there’s different ages. I mean, earlier today, we had some older people. There were like 32 who came for the first time and it was so cool to see that. You know, so they came in with their walker, it was awesome! And you know, know what we’re seeing is age diversity. We’re starting to see people in their sixties, seventies, and eighties come. We ask, “What are you doing here?” They’re like, “This is cool, there’s a lot of young people and we love Jesus and we wanna open our home. We wanna teach a bible study and we wanna have all kinds of new Christians over and we wanna be like mom and dad and feed ‘em and love ‘em and pray for ‘em.” Will that’s a great idea. That’s a great idea. That beats hanging out at the retirement home playing shuffleboard. That something better to do with, you know, the last years of your life.
We have little kids who are coming in and love Jesus and they are needed as well. I mean, this is what he’s saying. That whatever your age, whatever your race, whatever your life station, whatever your experience, whatever your background – of that the more diversity that we have and the more we work together, and the more we honor one another, and the more everyone gets to use their skills, talents, and abilities, the stronger, better church we’ll be, the more ministry will be able to do. More people in this city will be able to love and bring the truth of Jesus to. End when he uses the word body, that’s what he’s referring to. That when Jesus was on the earth, when he came as a man in to human history, he did ministry out of his body and now that he’s a send it into heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to live in us, to empower us and gift and enable us to do ministry as the body of Jesus Christ on the earth, doing the work of Jesus and loving other people and serving them with the truth of the goodness of God’s Word.
And so what he’s saying is this, the more you work together, the more it gets done and the more things go better, and the more you learn and they learn. And so, if you’re working with people who are different than you, you both learn and it’s mutually beneficial for everyone and it’s in the issue of interdependence.
And what he says is that God arranges the parts of the body just as he determines and sees that. So let me tell you this, God brought you here to become involved in Mars Hill Church, right? We have holes and you’re here to fill them. Some of you walk in, you get frustrated, you say, “This part of the church is it going well. I don’t like it. It’s all messed up.” Great, you apparently have the gifts to see that, diagnose it, and we’ll put you to work in Jesus’ name and you can help fix it.” And that’s all that ministry is, walking in and saying, “I see a whole, I see a need. I have two choices. I can complain and say, ‘Well that kinda stinks,’ or I could say, ‘I could help.’” And nominate yourself to help. So my question to you is, you know, are you connected to this church body? Or are you just a free floating toe? You know, are you just a free floating mouth? I mean, those are the worst. The free floating Christian mouth, who just goes from church to church, “That one stinks. That one stinks. That one stinks. That one stinks. Or it’s not good enough for me.” Oh sure. They are all filled with sinners and hypocrites, you’ll fit right in, come on. Join us, you know? You’re just like us. And it’s sometimes popular for Christians to stand back and critique a church rather than saying, “Well, I’m part of the family, I guess I should stop complaining and help pick up dishes and be a good part of the family.”
When he’s talking about the body, he’s talking about you being plugged in. Here’s how we do it at Mars Hill Church. We have a membership class, called the Gospel Class. We tell you what we believe, how the church is organized. We try and help you figure out where you should participate in this church body. Your gifts, talents, abilities, passions and skills. In the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about spiritual gifts, to help you identify how God has knit you together to do meaningful ministry and then we plug you in – try to find you a good place to do the things that god has laid on your heart and gifted you to do. And we need you and you need us and we all need each other and were all in this thing together, one body, many parts.
He goes on then to say, that in the church not only is their unity, diversity, and interdependence, but there is worth that is ascribed to every person. So you walk out of this room and it depends on how pretty you are and how smart you are and how much you are and how cool you are. But as far as the church goes, we have a different economy and we value people differently. In fact, we value everyone because they’re image bearers of God and if God would bring them to this church, we believe that God has brought them for a specific reason and their bringing something that is very important and we need to welcome them and to discover what god has brought them to us. He says it this way in Verse 21, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’” I mean how and silly would it be if one part of your body declared war on the other? Right, I mean it’s just sort of a silly metaphor, but that’s what happens in the church when one group of people declares war on another group of people in the same church. I mean, who wins, right? Who wins? Nobody winds. Everybody loses. I mean, if your right hand declared war on your head, neither would win, right? I mean you get that? The keypunching yourself and the head and the right-hand says, “I won.” Won what? You know, you don’t get a trophy for that, you didn’t win anything. Everybody loses. When there’s war in the church and factions in the church and division of the church that is unnecessary, nobody wins. Right, you can’t look at different groups, different services, different congregations in different parts of the city, different departments within the church, and say, “I don’t need you.” In fact, we do. We need one another.
“The head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,” Verse 22 says. Some of you come in here. You say, “But I’m not really rich. I’m not really smart. I’m not really successful. I’m not really a mature Christian. I don’t know my bible that well,” you know, “So what am I supposed to do?” Well, you’re a very valuable part of this body. One, you, the people who have learned and have grown, they have an opportunity to love and serve you. You’re giving them an opportunity to teach you, to counsel you, to bless you, to pray for you, to love you, to serve you, to help you. And so you are an important part of this body. Additionally, there are many people who are struggling, who are not doing great, who are in a hard place in their life and if you are here, then they know that they’re welcome here too. Which means other people, including non-Christians, are gonna feel welcome here, because it’s not just the winners club for people with red capes and no problems, it’s where real people can come and deal with real issues.
And so, he goes on in Verse 23, “and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,” so let’s talk about that. Are their parts of your body that you don’t show people? Kay, let’s talk about big stomachs and small shirts for a moment, since we can. See, there certain part- you’re just like not supposed to show certain parts – that’s why your butt’s in the back, you’re not even supposed to look at it. Nobody supposed to see that thing, right? You know, there’s just certain parts of your body that people aren’t supposed to see. Like if you’re the dude with the big yellow, curled toenails and the toe jam and the funky, you know, black and blue toenail – like do not wear flip flops. That’s evil. Get some socks, get some shoes. You know, right here, you’re not being Biblical. You’re supposed to cover that out. None of us are supposed to see that, right? And what he says is just like in your body, and some of you ladies know what I’m talking about. You’re like, “Ooh, I gotta buy certain clothes that cover certain parts and then it won’t be, you know, seen and,” I know, I know, I know, I know, I know.
And so it is, and dudes, dudes are just dumb. They’re like, “Huh?” that’s why we wear sweats, just cover everything, keep it simple. But he there are certain parts of your physical body you don’t show off. “Wanna see my scar?” “Wanna see my stretch marks?” “I got a black and blue thing. You wanna pick at it, like,” we have certain parts we cover. Nobody wants to see that. So it is in the church body. Just because everybody’s equally loved, equally important, equally valuable, does it mean that everyone’s equally visible, right? So like if you come in, you’re recovering from drug addiction, you still got chapped lips, and the shakes and you wet yourself, you’re not gonna be a greeter. Just not gonna. We love you, you know, like, “[makes noises] the notes?” And like, no, we’re not gonna do that. We’re gonna help you, but we’ll find something else for you to do, right?
And what he’s talking about, here, is that – is that if your definition of church is – church is an event that happens in a building on a Sunday on the stage with a microphone, then you say, “I’m not involved in the church unless I’m on the stage on Sunday with a microphone.” And not everybody can be. Not everybody should be. Not everybody wants to be. And so what he is saying is this, that we need to expand our understanding of church. The church is the life that we live together as a people, not just the event that we attend together as a people, and that people live their life, right? Opening their home to love people, and pray for people, and read their Bible, and serve, and bring the truth of Jesus to others, and you ministry that is not visible, right? Not visible. So much of what happens at Mars Hill – I would tell you the majority of what happens at Mars Hill – is invisible. You listen to me, but you don’t know the dozens of sound, light, and video people that make this happen. The people working with children and the three previous services in this building today. The ushers who get everybody in, and the greeters, and the janitorial volunteers, and the parking volunteers, and then when everybody leaves, the community groups meeting throughout the region – where people are up inning their homes and teaching the Bible – and all the people who are doing software and code and people who are uploading our vodcasts and podcasts, people that are doing hospital visits and doing meals for new moms that just had babies, and all of these other things that are invisible. They don’t happen on the stage with a microphone on Sunday, but that is Mars Hill.
In fact, that’s the most important part of Mars Hill. But the problem is, if we think that church is an event that happens on Sunday and it’s not really ministry unless you have a microphone and you’re on stage, what happens then is that some smaller churches, emerging type churches, they say, “Well, we don’t need a leader. Everybody’s equal here. And we all need to get together. Who wants to teach today? Who wants to sing today? Who wants to be in charge today?” and the issue is, just because we have equal worth, we each have a different role and not everything is going to be visible. Much of it will be invisible, but it’s not invisible to Jesus. He knows exactly what everybody’s doing and he’s pleased, whether or not anyone else sees what you’re doing. If your loving and serving him, then he does take account of that.
I’ll give you an example. Went to a small church before we started Mars Hill and in the middle, they brought a gal up to do special music. You ever been to the special music? This was very special. And this gal, this gal started singing and I, I just about died. I mean, I’ve been in car wrecks, I play football. I was a catcher in baseball. I have never sustained an injury like this. This was the most deep penetrating, painful, excruciating injury I’ve ever sustained. Just listening to this woman. I kept waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and tell me I was Punk’d because the whole thing was a joke. It was just so incredibly horrendous. I mean it was horrendous. I can’t sing at all. Okay, I sound like I got captured by Al Qaida when I try to sing. But I could’ve done a duet with this gal and we would’ve been just fine.
So, she sings the song and I’m just like, “This is unbelievable.” So this little church, and afterward, I went up to the pastor and I said, “You know, the sermon was pretty good but what’s up with a special music gal?” he said, “She really loves the Lord.” And I was like, “You can not sing and love Jesus.” I mean, you could love Jesus like this, and she should. This woman should just text message, that’s how about her voice was.
I said, “Dude, why did you let her sing?” he said, “She has a good heart.” I said, “She’s supposed to have a good voice, not just a good heart.” I mean, if we plugged the microphone into our heart, maybe we’d all be blessed. But unfortunately, it was near her mouth and that did not go so good. Right? The – not everything, you know, gotta be presentable. That’s what he’s saying. That doesn’t mean that just because people aren’t seen that they’re not important. I mean how many of you have parts of your body that are very important but are unseen? So it is with the church body. So it is with the church body.
He goes on – “while our presentable parts need no special treatment.” Verse 24. “But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body,” don’t you love that? There’s distinction , there’s difference, there’s diversity, but not what? Division. That’s what’s great about the church. Different people, but not divided, and not trying to all be the same. I even like that metaphor of the melting pot. No, it’s more like a stew pot. I mean a potato’s a potato, a carrot’s a carrot, a bean’s a bean. They’re all in the same pot but they’re still what they are. Come into the church. It’s not a melting pot where we’ll melt together into one sort of general culture, where we all like the same things. Know, we maintain our distinctives. We just simmer together to give a better flavor. It’s distinction. It’s differentiation. It’s diversity. But it’s not division. We’re not divided over that. Your different than me. We both love Jesus. Cool, we have things to learn from one another and where both benefited by having a relationship together as the church.
He goes on, “but that each part should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices.” Here’s what he’s saying. That in the church, there is mutual concern. And just like your physical body, right? How many of you have sustained an injury to a portion of your physical body and realize that it does not remain concentrated in the area, it affects your whole body? Let’s use the example that you’re – you’re working on something and you hit your thumb with a hammer. If you’ve ever done that, you realize it doesn’t just affect the thumb, right? It affects the feat, ‘cause you’re dancing. It affects the eyes, you’re crying. It affects the mouth, you’re saying bowling words. I mean it affects the whole body, right? You’re all – everything was involved in this – and the right hand, ‘cause it did the damage. I mean everything was involved in this. So it is in the church. If one part of the body – if someone in the church is hurting, is suffering, is in pain, we’ll feel that. Last week, we had a dear brother die of a long, hard bout with cancer. We feel that. A woman comes in and gets pregnant and is excited and miscarries. We feel that. Someone dies. Someone gets sick. Someone loses a job. Someone is unemployed. Someone’s spouse abandons them. Someone’s children turn their back on God. We feel that as a church body. We all feel that. We don’t just say, “Well, that’s your problems, that’s not my-“ no. We all feel that. We’re empathetic, compassionate. We care.
Okay, that’s why in this church, we have and recovery groups. And if you’re struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we have people to help. If you have been sexually abused, molested, or raped, we have people and groups to help. If you’ve had an abortion and you’re feeling very guilty and convicted about that, we have people to help. If you’re addicted to pornography, we have people to help. If you’ve lost someone and you’re in mourning, we have people to help. Right, when people are hurting, it’s the great privilege of the body of Christ, the church, to hurt with them. To weep with those who week. To feel with those who are in pain. And to me, this is one of the benefits, quite frankly, of being a large church. Some people say, “Well, in a small church, you get better care.” I don’t actually a agree with that because in a larger church, there’s a huge army of specialists and all kinds of people with all kinds of experience and all of this diversity to draw from. And I’m not saying big church is good, small church is bad – I’m not saying any of that. I’m just saying that with this many people, all these resources, that we can help a lot of people that otherwise we couldn’t because we just wouldn’t have the wherewithal and the resources to do so.
He says also, if one part rejoice is, we all rejoice. If somebody gets a raise. If somebody gets married. If somebody gets a baby. If somebody graduates from school. We rejoice if somebody is healed. We rejoice and we all rejoice. Right? Just like if one part of your body is honored or was sick and it’s healthy, your whole body is glad, so we’re glad when something good happens. And for us, this is what church membership, quite frankly, is all about. You go through the Gospel Class, you become a member. We’re gonna give you a password, if you complete that, and then you get to this password protected member site and it’s cool on there. There’s classifieds. People bartering, right? “I got a car.” “I need a plumber.” There are sections for theology. “I got Bible questions.” “The sermon stunk again. Could you explain this to me?” And we’ll get on there and explain that to you. And there’s – the thing that I love on there the most is the prayer request forum.
See, when you’re like we are, three locations, you know, coming upon seven services this fall, four, five thousand people, which is where we are today. You say, “I just feel lost.” Well, this is the way that you post and you say, “Pray for this. This is good. I want you to rejoice with me. This is bad. I want you to be empathetic with me.” And within an hour or two, hundreds of people’ll view that and if they don’t know who you are, they can click on your name, address, and phone number and your photo, know who you are and call you up. So people will post and other people will call them. “Can I pray for you?” “Can I bring you a meal?” “Do you need anything?” “I heard you got in a car wreck and you’re a single mom.” We’ve had this happen before. “I heard you got in a car – I’m gonna bring you a car. I’m gonna give you a car.” and that’s what it means to be the body. Not that we’re a perfect church and everything is great, but true of technology, even though we are a large distributed, scattered church, we still can speak to one another and know what’s going on so that we can pray for one another in care for one another and do the invisible ministry that is the most important aspect of Mars Hill as we love and care for one another. Celebrate the wins and mourn the loss is together at the family does.
And Paul says this is, this is what it means to be the church. To be unified because of the Holy Spirit around the person and work of Jesus. To have diversity that we don’t all need to be the same but we have the same Jesus, the same Bible the same mission, led by the same Holy Spirit. That we have interdependence. We really need each other and the more different kinds of people that participate in the church, the better off we all are. And worth. That even though everyone is not equally visible, everyone is equally important. Those are his four principles for church, and now I want to transition to the practical application of those four principles with four practical implications.
So let me tell you what this looks like at Mars Hill and what this means. I’ll catch you up to speed. I was 19 years of age, in college, didn’t know Jesus. The Holy Spirit came, make me a Christian, changed everything, told me to start Mars Hill Church. Got married in college, moved back, worked in college ministry for a year and-a-half. Most of you know the story. It’s in the book, Confessions, you can pick it up on your way out, but, but the thing was, God said start a church in Seattle. And so I met with some pastors. I’m like, “Okay, I’m 25. God called me to start a church in Seattle.” They all said, “Do not do that.” Seattle is un-churched. It’s very liberal. There’s like one republican, but he’s trying to move, you know? And, and everybody is young, and are all committed to punk rock and anarchy, so good luck gettin’ ‘em organized. You know, there never gonna go for an org chart and, and they’re all broke and they’re all college students and singles and homeless. They’re not gonna give you any money. And there all moving all the time. They don’t own their homes so you’re – it’s gonna be shooting a moving target. There’s no Bible college, seminary or bookstore of any weight our size in the city because no one’s ever gotten there. It’s the least churched city in America. Run for your life. You know? And I was like, “Okay, but Jesus said to go, so we’re gonna do it.”
So we started a Bible study in our rental home, my wife and I did, in Wallingford and it started very small, about the size of a Mormon family. There’s like 10, 12 people. Not a big deal out of the shoe and just started teaching the Bible and praying at the age of 25 that God’d get this thing some traction and we’d get somewhere. It outgrew our little home, we moved into a youth room at a church, moved into their main room, and in the fall of 1996 – the first week of October – week officially launched Mars Hill Church on Sunday evening. And you know what, over the years, we’ve had all kinds of trials and trauma and drama and we’ve moved a bunch of times and it’s a crazy story. You can read it. But here’s where we’re at. In the most unlikely, peculiar place in all of America. We moved into this building, here in Ballard, at our Ballard campus, three years ago. We were a church of about 11 or 1,200. We’re now the church of 4 to 5000, depending upon the week. We’ve quadrupled in three years, in the least likely place in America. The church planting graveyard, where I know a list, personally, of over 30 people that have tried to start a church here and failed. And millions of dollars have been attempted to start these churches and nothing has worked. And what is just shocking to me is to recent reports came out. One said that we’re the 22nd most influential church in America. That’s out of over 400,000. Another one said where the 15th fastest growing church in the nation. That’s out of 400,000 churches, okay? And we’re the only church in Washington and Oregon, on either of those lists, and those are the two the least churched states in the United States of America.
Kay, and some of you say, “What are you, bragging?” No, we’re blessed. We’re totally blessed. I feel like a kite in a hurricane. Just like every other kite, I just got a hurricane. It’s a cool ride. It’s a little crazy, but it’s a cool ride. God, the Holy Spirit apparently loves a lotta people in Seattle, is working on their heart, destroying a lot of people to Jesus, and is working through the people of Mars Hill in a way that I would use the word – and I don’t think I ever have – of miracle. I don’t throw that work around. I’m not one of those guys and TV, with white pants and a wife who looked like she lost a paintball gun war, but I believe – I believe that we’re kinda living a miracle. That’s what I believe, right? That’s kinda what I believe. And that God keeps blessing. So what has happened is, we started asking the question, “Well, whereas this thing going and what are we gonna do now,” because this year we went to five services in this building and quite frankly, it almost killed me and the staff. We’re doing 8:30, 10:30, 12:30, 5:00 and 7:00 and by this service, I wasn’t even a Christian, I was saying crazy stuff. And so I apologize but you know, it was like, “Well, we gotta figure something out. I mean, this is crazy.”
So what we did is we purchased a building that came up for sale a block away and we told you we needed $3 million and a bank loan to renovate that space, go to 1000 seats, open it up, and do services here and there and I’d walk between the two. We’re still waiting on the permits for that building. We do now own it. We’re in permit purgatory, just waiting for the permit – and waiting for some time now. And in the meantime, we said, “Well, we gotta do something to alleviate this growing, you know, number of people in Ballard. It’s very hard to get into. Let’s try a video service as an experiment in Shoreline.” Crista Ministry approached us. Very gracious people. The interim president of the time was a member of Mars Hill, said, “We’ve got about a 400-seat room. We’ve got a full daycare for kid space, lots of parking. You can have it on Sundays for free.” We can afford that.
So, we took it and we did some renovation – sound, light, video, chairs, paint – about $100,000.00. Carpet – got it all dialed in and we videotaped the morning service and then drove it up to Shoreline and played it on a screen. The musicians were live, everything else was live, and it worked. Actually, the service grew, very quickly, and right now, they’re running over 400 people on Sunday morning. It’s packed out. Last week alone, they checked in 16 new families with multiple kids, into the kids ministry. It’s bursting at the seams. We gotta go to two services in Shoreline. We’re like, “That’s gonna work. That’s gonna work.” Indeed gets around the biggest problem, which is I’m not omnipresent. I can’t be everywhere and the – and some of you will say, “Well, what about our other options? We don’t like this technological option.”
Will here are our options: all right, our first option is, we say Mars Hill’s full. We put a big sign out that says, “Sorry, we’re full. The Mormon Tabernacle’s got seats. Go there. Get your underwear. Good luck.” We’re not gonna do that. You know, Plan B is that we get a huge room, four, five thousands seats, which I’m not averse to, and if you have one, gimme a call, but you know, we get this big room and we pull everybody together. But then we’re not reaching the whole city, everybody’s coming in.
The other problem is that the city and the county have outlawed large churches in the City of Seattle, so what we’d have to do to bring the love of Jesus to the city is first sue them, which seems like a weird place to begin. We want to talk about the love of Jesus. You’ve been subpoenaed. You know, I mean, that’s just a weird place to begin. And so, I mean, that’s probably not the best way to go and it – what we would have to do is sue, change the zoning. If we wanted, we’d have to buy a very large piece of land, and then we would have to get permits and we’d have to build a building that would be a couple hundred thousand square feet to get four – three, four, five thousand seats. We’re looking at, at this point, I’d probably six to eight years out and probably about $60 million. Which we don’t have, no one will lend it to us. I looked under all the couch cushions in the church, and it’s just not there.
So, that wasn’t a good plan and what we would have to do then, is say, “Well, we can’t grow for six or eight years. Nobody else can meet Jesus. Nobody else can worship Jesus. That’s it. We’ll see you again in a decade.” Which is not a good plan. Seven this technological capacity came in. We said, “You know what, we could try that. We could try that.” And it worked very, very well in Shoreline. And because it’s worked so well, we actually, as an elder team here, pastors – there’s 15 of us and a number in the process – we redid our constitution and bylaws. It took six months. It’s not the sexy part of the church, which it’s the parts they keeps you out of jail, so it’s very important. We redid our bylaws. There’s an executive team of elders – six men plus myself – we’ve been meeting an incredible number of hours to reengineer and rearchitect the whole church in preparation for our tenth anniversary this fall, saying, “How can we reach as many people as possible, still have a friendly relationship with the city. Work around the zoning requirements. Do it within budget. Do it on timeline and allow Mars Hill to go from a church of four to five thousand to a church of eight to ten thousand. Double, without having to spend $60 million and here’s the plan. Here’s the plan.
I start with Jesus’s quote – this is in your handout as well. “I will build my church,” and that’s Jesus – I love the fact that he says that – and he has been doing a great job at his job. So the next one. Here is Ballard. Here’s Ballard. This is what happens when you have tech guys with cameras. You’re like, “We could walk around.” “All right, fine.” Everybody’s – everybody’s gonna get seasick, but that’s cool.” So there’s Mars Hill Ballard, where you’re sitting tonight. Thirteen hundred seats, 4,000 square feet. We will continue to use this building, but there are a few problems with this building. One, we could use more seats, which is shocking, because we keep growing. Two, parking around here has gotten very, very tight. Today is sockeye salmon day and you’ll notice that there are trucks with trailers that are taking all the parking that we usually steal in the neighborhood, ‘cause all the guys are out fishing, which makes no sense because they get up at 5:00 in the morning to go fishing and they have fish at the store. So I don’t understand what this is all about. You get – whenever you wake up, you could just go get one. You know, I don’t understand.
So, the parking around here is really bad today, and one of the lots we usually use is being repaved, so we can use it. Additionally, just behind me, if you’ve seen that little Beirut lot, just to the south of us. Have you seen that thing? It’s all rocks, man. I mean, it’s a good place to have a war. And it’s just a totally bummed out lot, but here’s what their building there. A Trader Joe’s, a 24 Hour Fitness, looking at restaurants, coffee shops, because what’s coming into this area is condos. Hip, a young, cool, urban development as Fremont and Ballard come together, the industrial area is being transformed. What that means is, we’re gonna lose all the street parking that we’d been utilizing and we need to become self sufficient with their own parking, otherwise this building’s gonna be relatively obsolete for our use. So, that leads me to the next point.
There is the building a block away. We purchased it a year ago. It was heading into foreclosure. We purchased it for under market value. It has increased in value since that time, and this is just some interior and exterior shots of the space, and our plan was to turn that into a large room to see maybe 800 to 1,000 people. And so, what we have instead decided to do, first, we’re going to keep that building – and it’s been great – ‘cause according to King 5 television, they had a report that said that 98105, which is this zip code, is one of the five fastest, increasing valued zip codes in the State of Washington. Since we bought that building, as it was going to foreclosure, we already have gained a million dollars in equity in that building. We have no intention of getting rid of it, but here’s what we do want to do with it. We want to knock half the building down and just turn it into parking to increase our parking capacity. Secondly, the other half of the building – we don’t feel that we have to use right now because of some other things that have come available that we’re gonna tell you about – but we’re gonna keep it. We’ll rent it out with the hopes that a tenant will pay most of our mortgage. We can keep it then, and then if we ever do wanna build on it, we can develop it and do whatever we want with it but we feel it’s important right now to watch and see what happens with this neighborhood, particularly what happens to parking, and then make a determination down the road as to best use.
And the reason that we don’t need to develop it as we had thought is because of some other things have come available. Among those is Shoreline and these are some shots from the Shoreline campus and where we are meeting at Christa Ministries, at Shermer Auditorium. Four hundred seats, plus a full daycare. It’s amazing kid space. Huge gym for the kids to run around in. Lots of parking. They’re letting us use that on Sunday and now this fall for beginning, for midweek programming for nothing. It’s free. We don’t even pay for janitorial, we don’t even pay for utilities. It is a savings of over $100,000.00 a year. We can be there for two more years. It’s a savings of 200 plus thousand dollars. We love Christa. We’re very, very grateful for their kindness to us. Eventually, we will need to purchase a permanent site for our Shoreline. We’ll need to get them a permanent purchase campus, ‘cause we can only be there for two years. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if somebody let you how the house for two years for free? I mean that’s a very kind gift, so we are actively looking for another place to buy.
In the meantime, we also picked up another miracle. This is West Seattle. This is on 35th at the top of the hill in West Seattle as you head toward White Center. I grew up in this neighborhood. This is a church building that is an absolute miracle. I’ll tell you the story on this space. I tried to launch Mars Hill Church in that building ten years ago, and we were rejected, and I’ve always wanted to be in there since. And what happened was, is we were growing. I went to Pastor Bill Clem, who was leaving that congregation. He planted it for Acts 29 Church Planning Network, him and James Noriega, who is the other elder there and I said, “We’re maxed out. You got a fat building, 50,000 square feet, 1,000 seats.:” It’s a bigger building and the one you’re sitting in right now. I said, “Is there any way we to use it?” They said, “Well, we wanna reach as many people in West Seattle as possible. How about if we give it to you and work together?” we prayed about it for a second and said, “Yes.”
That is a $5 million gift. That is a $5 million gift, right? And I don’t know if you’ve been tracking the real estate market, people aren’t giving away a lotta real estate right now in Seattle and so we have – we’ve taken Pastor James and Pastor Bill on staff at Mars Hill. We have taken their members through the Gospel Class and they’re now members of Mars Hill. They’ve been meeting as a core group over there. As we speak, there is $1.5 million of construction going on at the West Seattle campus, with the intention of opening in October in time for our ten year anniversary, and we want to expand over to West Seattle as well. We were thinking, “Well, we can borrow $8 million from the bank. We can spend $3 million and for $11 million, we can open up a 40,000 square foot location.” Well, we can now open more square feet for $1.5 million. So obviously, you take that opportunity.
The two cool aspects of this particular campus is one, is already zoned as a church, so we don’t need to fight use permits. We don’t have to bring it up to code. We can just walk in and use it immediately and it saves us, literally, a few years of permitting. Secondly, the log that it is on his only zoned for 15,000 square feet of building and it already has 50,000 square feet, and because as grandfathered in, we could use it all. We could never build this building today as it exists. And the cool thing with this building, a very Godly church that loved the Bible – started this church, built it, there denomination went liberal, dropped the doctrine of the inerrancy or perfection of Scripture and this building went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and was the test case for who owns the church building, the congregation or the denomination. The congregation lost and these people actually bought their own building back, because they refused to drop the authority of Scripture as their value. And so, there were some Godly older saints who paid for this building twice. It then went into decline but there is still a core of these people, like in their 70s and 80s, that are now members of Mars Hill. Grandmas tithing, waiting for us all to show up and fill that thing up again, and they’re praying us in. It’s a really cool God story and what God has done is pretty amazing.
And we’re now in Wedgwood. We bought a building last week. If you missed it, here’s Wedgwood. Wedgwood is just north of the university village, okay? If you haven’t got the point, we’re in a real estate acquisition phase as a church. We’re doing – we call it facility evangelism. We’re winning buildings for Jesus all over the city and I’m on the lookout for struggling, dead, dying churches. We’re like – and they’re calling us, saying, “Could we plug in?” “Yes, let’s talk about that. We love Jesus and real estate.” So, this is a building in Wedgewood. Now here’s what happened. We did not have sufficient office space for our staff. You take all the interns, deacons, elders, pastors, synonymous – it’s about 70 people, full-time and part-time. We have them in 4,000 square feet of office space. Some of you say, “That’s a big house.” Yeah, for a family of five, but if your wife was pregnant with 68 kids, that would not be enough, right? So, what happens is if you come here during the week, sitting in the chairs in the main room are interns on laptops with cell phones ‘cause this is their office during the week. So pick up your coffee cup on the way out. Don’t mess up their office.
So what we decided was, we need to appoint campus pastors at each location. And each of the campus pastors will be overseeing what’s going on at their campus. There will be stuff that is officing at each campus, and now will have an office campus where about half of the staff will be to run the website, the podcasts, the vodcasts, printed materials, organize community groups, spread out the counseling and everything can be in one location. So, this building – let me tell the story on this – mishap and really quick. It’s 18,000 square feet with about a – almost a hundred parking places on site. Is already zoned as a church, so we could use it immediately and we have good friends in the Southern Baptist Convention and one of their regional leaders came in met with me – he’s an old friend – said, “I heard you need space. We love you. What could we do to help.” He’s a really great guy, loves Jesus. I said, “We need an office building, big, zoned for our use. We needed immediately because we gotta get it ready for our ten year anniversary this fall. We don’t have all the cash up front. We’re tight on cash, so I need a friendly deal, can you do it?” Here’s what he said, “I have this building. It values and $2.5 million. I’ll sell it to you for $2 million.” That’s a half a million dollar savings. Right there’s a good deal. That’s 20 percent off the price.
And I said, “Well, we can’t pay for it all up front.” He said, “Here’s what I’ll do. You put $800,000.00 down and I’ll give you three years, no interest, no payments.” That’s over $300,000.00 savings. In three years, you get the financing for the $1.2 million and the question then is, well, what if, perchance, we can’t get the financing. He said, “I’ll carry the note at a 6 percent interest.” On a commercial property. That’s million dollar deal. Between the equity we gain in three years, what we save on principle and interest, and the $500,000.00 off of the purchase price, that’s a million dollar deal. In our 50th building, we have made a million dollars in a year. In West Seattle, we just picked up a five million dollar gift. It’s been a very busy but very cool summer.
And that leads me to where we are. This changes everything. One body, many parts. Right? These are all the parts and here’s what it’s gonna look like, because we all worked together. One, where multi-campus. We now own roughly $20 million of real estate, $3 million of sound, light, video, computers and assets, with the total debt of $12 million. That is for the purchase and renovation of these projects. To get them not completed, but certainly functional. Some of you will freak out and say, “But that’s $12 million dollars debt.” Actually, for a church of our size, that’s fairly reasonable. The banks are willing, and have lent us, that amount of money. And here’s the thing I would tell you. Look at it this way – if somebody came to you and said, “I am going to sell a real estate portfolio to you for 60 cents on the dollar,” you should take a deal. That’s where we’re at. We just got all these properties and we have 60 percent debt but we have 40 percent equity in our total collective real estate. And we have now moved from just using this 40,000 square foot building and the 20,000 at Shermer, we’ve added the 20,000 that we will continue to own next door, 50,000 in West Seattle and almost 20,000 square feet in Wedgewood. Additionally. Much as multi-campus, multimedium.
Here’s how it’s gonna go. Here at Ballard, the 9:00 AM, the 11:00 AM and the 5:00 PM in the 7:00 PM will continue to exist but I will not be here at the 11:00 AM service. Okay, I won’t be here. There will be a video of me. Will video the 9:00 AM in high def. A screen will come down. They’ll Photoshop me, make me highly attractive, so it’ll be, it’ll be even better than live. I’ll be tall and slim and handsome, it’ll be amazing and they’ll be live – everything will be the same, except for a I’ll just be on a video. And for those of you that are here, half of you are in the back of the room watching probably on a video anyway. So – and at Shoreline, were gonna go to two services, 9:15 and 11:15 and it’ll be live streaming and we’ll take the sermon and we’ll pipe it through the Internet up to Shoreline and they can essentially TiVo it and hit play whenever they’re ready to go, ‘cause they’re bursting at the seams, need to go to two services. That all allow them to grow to 800. And then I will drive, instead of doing the 11:00 here, I’ll drive over to West Seattle. My goal is to matriculate about 600 of you with me, plus 100 children – that’s the number that we’ve identified from West and South Seattle that are coming to Ballard – to take you with me to that 1,000 seat room and take Mars Hill to West Seattle really in a big way, starting in October, for our ten year anniversary, and to start to fill up that 1,000 seat room, which’ll make us the biggest church in all of West Seattle from day one. And that will leave more seats here at the 11:00, so that our visitors and guest who hit that service, because it is our biggest, can continue to come.
Here’s our services. I mean this is crazy. 9:00, 9:15, 10:30, 11:00, 11:15, 5:00 and 7:00. Three via video, four live, three parts of the city all working together. Additionally, one part, when body, rather, many parts. Multi-midweek. We’ve only been doing midway classes, junior high, high school, young marrieds, pre-marrieds, counseling, those kind of things, on Wednesday nights in Ballard. But starting this fall, up at Christa, there will be programming, classes and such for all age groups in Shoreline, beginning in October, at Christa. In Ballard, Wednesday nights, as always, beginning in October and in January, midweek programming, classes and such, beginning in January. What you to see – we’re going for as much of the city as we possibly can. We want to have – we have community groups scattered all over the region. You can go to a Bible study just about anywhere. Now, you can go to church and a lot of different areas. You can go to mid week and a lot of different areas. So, if you live in one area, work in one area, if you relocate, move, sell your home, go somewhere else, were probably gonna be there. We’re going with a Starbucks method, right? Starbucks is everywhere. Like I went – you know, if you go to the Starbucks and you say, “Hey, can I go to the bathroom?” They give you the key, you go in the Starbucks, there’s another Starbucks. It’s crazy. They open new Starbucks in the bathrooms of old Starbucks, that’s the way they do it.
So those are thought, if we’re gonna, if we’re gonna try and reach as much of Seattle as we can, we just spread this thing all over the place. We go everywhere, it’s totally viral, we penetrate neighborhoods, we take a preexisting buildings that are zoned for our use and we, we roll in good churches and we help them to do a better job. We continue to plant churches. Over 100 have been planted. Ten percent of our dollars are still going to church planting. One body, many parts. Kinds of things, tons of things going on. Here’s the big ask. First thing, pray. Pray like crazy. Pray like you mean it. Pray like a Pentecostal. But your hand in the air, say, “Jesus,” say “Holy ghost.” Yell a little bit. Say words like, “Claim it in Jesus’ name.” Do that, okay? Y’all gotta be praying this in. Seriously. I mean, I’m ready to truck in some Pentecostals just to teach us, right? You guys gotta stop praying like white bread indie rockers. You gotta start praying like charismatics, okay? Both of the charismatics are excited about that. Will get into that next week, too, because we are charismatics. And so you gotta pray. Pray for wisdom. Pray for dollars. Pray for timelines. You know, the reason we gave you this booklet, you can read through it and say, “Okay, these are a lot of things to be praying for.” We definitely need to pray this all in.
Secondly, serve, right? Everybody’s gotta get out of the stands and get on the field and suit up. It’s game time, if you’re a Christian, man, we got stuff for you to do. Become a member, get plugged in, help us find a meaningful place for you to serve. Right now, we’re working on almost 20,000 square feet in Wedgewood, 50,000 square feet in West Seattle. We’re doing demo, we’re doing painting, we’re doing construction and we need you to come out and volunteer and help, right? You say, “Well I don’t have any skills.” If you’re just an angry man, we’ll give you a hammer, you call it demo, it’s a ministry for Jesus, go break things, you’ll feel better, okay? If you can paint. If you could take out the trash. If you have any skills whatsoever, we can put you to work, it’ll save a lotta money and a lotta time to help us get these buildings ready to go for our ten year anniversary and we need everybody to do their part, whether it’s working in kids ministry, community groups – we need all hands on deck. If we take this church from four or five to eight or ten thousand, that means that we can’t have any spectators. Everybody’s gonna suit up for game day.
And lastly, on October 1, 2006, our ten year anniversary, we’re asking that the entire day’s offering would be given to these projects and that you would give $1.2 million in a day. Not Canadian money. That’s like 27 bucks. American dollars. $1.2 million American dollars. And here’s what we’re gonna do. What we told you was, when we got that other building, that we needed $3 million from you and we needed the loan from the bank to get that space done. We’re not asking for any more dollars than what we asked for a year ago. All we’re doing is taking those dollars and like fishes and loaves, hand it to Jesus. We are multiplying them. So we’re gonna do that building and West Seattle and Wedgwood and be looking for a space for Shoreline. All right, so rather than just doing 40,000 square feet, were doing more than 100,000 square feet. As what we’re looking at doing. And so what we’re trying to be, is good stewards. And I know some of you may be critical and you may say, “But I gave that money toward real estate.” It will still go toward real estate. It will just be multiplied. Now, out of that three million that we’ve asked for, we’ve received 1.8 million. Actually, about half of that has come from a handful of very generous people. Some other people have done what they can. We want you to start thinking, praying, saving, and saying, “Okay, the body is many parts, what is my part? What am I supposed to be praying in? What am I supposed to be doing to serve to make this happen? And financially, what am I supposed to be giving to contribute? What is my part?” and I’m gonna be excited on our tenth anniversary if we blow out a million dollar Sunday, knock all this out. Some of you then ask, “Well, is this it? Are we done?” Of course not. This is what we’re doing this summer. You know, it’s gonna be something else. I assure you of that. Now, I don’t know what it is. As the Holy Spirit leads and Jesus opens an opportunity, we’re a church that is happy to hit the brakes, turn on a dime, and go somewhere else if there’s more people to get saved.
And lastly, some of you will say, “So what is it all about the numbers?” Of course it is. The number of people who worship Jesus. We want that number to go up, right? There’s a book of our Bible called Numbers. It’s a perfectly good word, you know? And if – what we’re saying is, if four or five thousand people are worshiping Jesus, that’s good. But if eight or ten thousand worship Jesus, that’s better. We would like more people to be able to go to church, more people to hear about Jesus, more people to participate in the community of Mars Hill. We’d like to go into more neighborhoods. We’d like to take over more real estate. We would like to see Jesus change more lives. We would like to see the Holy Spirit enter into and transform more people, by the thousands. I’m 35, been doing this almost 10 years, got about 40 years to go, depending upon what I do with red meat and, and my diet, but in 40 years, what could we get done? We’re not done. We’re nowhere near done.
To me, what’s cool is we get a chance to sort of relaunch the church at our ten year anniversary and just scatter it all through the city and take all the opportunities that Jesus would give, work around the zoning issues, work around the real estate costs, work around a complicating variables to reach as many people as possible so that more people love, meet, worship, serve, and are changed by Jesus to go as far and as fast and as hard as we can in the least churched city in America, where no one would’ve expected this but apparently the Holy Spirit has got a big job for us to participate in – and what a great honor in it is to be a part of it. It’s super humbling. My wife asked me last night, she said, “So are you freaked out?” No, it kinda freaks me out that I’m not freaked out. But I’m not freaked out. I’m sleeping good. I feel good. I believe this is exactly what God wants is to do. The elders are in total, unanimous agreement. We’re in total harmony on this. I mean, we’re getting free and reduced real estate. We’re going to take it and roll and go and if everybody does their part, everything will be fine. Even for $1.2 million. If every adult brought $300, we’d be done. Let me break it down to the number of people. It’s not that big of a deal, so don’t freak out.
If you’re new to Mars Hill, this happens all the time. It’s been going on for ten years. We just have more zeros, but it’s the same stuff. Is just the same thing. And things change, but Jesus is still God. The Bible’s still true. We’re still a church family and we are just trying to love and serve the city as large and as well as we can, as quickly as we are able. I’m pretty excited. I’m having a good time.
So here is where we land, the bottom line. Some of you are here, you’re saying, “Why tell me this?” Because we want to be honest. We went to make a budget this year. We called the other large churches in our state. We said, “What’s your budget?” they said, “We won’t tell you.” What? “We don’t disclose that.” Well at Mars Hill, we do. We tell you what we’re doing. We tell you what it’s going to cost. You tell you when we change our plans because we want to have integrity and we want to just be honest with you. You know, at this point, I’m supposed to bring up the cheerleaders and bring out the smoke machine and start firing t-shirts into the stands, like a pro sports game. I’m just gonna bottom line it and say, I believe this is what God wants us to do. The elders believe this is what God wants us to do and where just gonna tell you exactly what that is in be upfront and honest, be open to criticisms and questions and try and be as honest as we can and not lie to you and not hide anything, just have full disclosure. We also have a CPA who does a full accounting of the end of every year, coming through all of our books. We have an external audit. We have no problem telling you that the dollars are well stewarded and that for the money, this is the cheapest way to reach as many people as quickly as possible. This is a wonderful thing that God has done and I would call it a miracle. I just told you that – we just got $5 million of real estate given. We got another building a $1 million saving and the other building that we got has increased in value by $1 million in 12 months. I mean God has been so good to us and we’re just so excited to be joining him and what he’s already begun.
Some of you here today – you’re not a Christian – say, “What am I doing here for this big church business meeting?” Well, you’re here to get saved. You’re here to meet Jesus. That’s why we’re here. You’re here because God wants you to be part of this body. God wants you to benefit from this church body. God wants you to meet Jesus. God wants you to know that Jesus Christ is God, that he lived without sin, that he died for you, that he loves you, that he rose and he’s alive and well today, and if you pray to him, he will hear you. And if you confess sin to him, he will forgive you. And that the Holy Spirit will come and live inside of you and empower you to live an entirely different life. A new life, patterned after the life of Jesus. And he wants to connect you to this church family, so we can love you, and care for you, and pray for you, and answer your questions, and walk with you, and when you suffer, we feel it, and when you rejoice, we clap. That’s why he brought you here. He brought you here to be a part of what he’s doing. If you’re here and you’re a Christian, we want you to get plugged in, connected. If you haven’t been serving and giving and you’ve been one of those great people that has been used of God in a tremendous way, I hope tonight that you’re just encouraged. I mean there’s a lot of things we could be doing, but man, not with this kind are returned a rare time and money investment. This is – this is amazing.
When you’re ready, get some time in prayer for yourself and the church, asking the Holy Spirit to tell you where it is that you’re supposed to plug in and participate. When you’re ready, you can come for communion if you’re a Christian, remembering the body and blood of Jesus, and then we’re gonna give of our tithes and offerings. If you’re not a Christian or a first-time visitor, do not – please do not – give your money. We love you. We’re not trying to take your money. The Christians’ll pick up the tab. We’re happy to have you. You’re our guest. Do not give your money. It’s not about the money, is about Jesus, and if you don’t know Jesus, just think about Jesus, work on Jesus, ask questions about Jesus, wrestle with Jesus. Don’t let the money get in the way. Set that aside. That’s really not an issue for us. And when you’re ready, were gonna sing, were gonna celebrate, and we’re gonna leave this place and scatter to be Mars Hill, doing things that hard on the stage, with the mic, in this room, which are oftentimes the invisible but the most important aspect of what it means to be this church body. I’ll pray. I hope you guys are excited. It’s a cool season, for sure.
Father God, I thank you so much for sending the Lord Jesus. And Jesus, I think you for not sinning, for loving us, for dying for us, for rising to conquer enemies of Satan, sin and death. Jesus, I thank you that you are the center of this church and because of that, there is unity, even though there is diversity and that there is interdependence and worth, even though everyone is not equally visible, they are equally valuable. And Jesus, I pray specifically for Mars Hill Church. And pray, Lord Jesus, that your spirit would continue and guide us. I pray you would show up in big ways and get glory and show off, not so that the name of Mars Hill would be great, but so that you name, Lord Jesus, would be made much of in our city. I pray for everyone who is here, Lord God, that they would be connected to you and they would be connected to this church. That they would find their place. They would know what they’re supposed to be praying about, where they’re supposed to be serving, what they’re supposed to be giving. And God, I pray that would be a tremendous joy to them. Something that they get to do, not something that they have to do. And God, I pray that in the very near future, you would double our numbers. That we wouldn’t be a church of four or five thousand but of eight or ten thousand. Not because we’re all about the numbers. We’re about the number of people who get their life changed by Jesus. And God, we are so happy that in the name of Jesus -