Mars Hill Church cancels festival after raising 3 million dollars

Mars Hill Church has been under intense scrutiny for the past few months following the eruption of a variety of scandals around pastor Mark Driscoll. Now a new scandal has come to light according to blogger Warren Throckmorton and Mars Hill observer Wenatchee the Hatchet.

A “Jesus Festival” event scheduled for August 22, 2014, has disappeared from the calendar of the church, despite the fact that it was one of the reasons why the church needed to raise $2,000,000 “above and beyond our normal tithes and offerings” by the end of 2013.

Throckmorton said in the post that a former member told him that the festival was canceled in the spring after the news of how Driscoll manipulated sales to make his book a New York Times best-seller came to light. No official announcement about the cancellation appears to have been made to the Church or to the public.

Mars Hill had a large fundraising drive at the end of 2013. According to an announcement on the main website, “During these 40 days of prayer and 5 days of fasting, we are praying for $2 million over and above our donors’ tithes to fund these endeavors in 2014. We believe Jesus has given the vision, so we trust that he will graciously provide the means to do it through his people.”

The endeavors mentioned by the church are stated on the same page. The first one listed is the growth of Mars Hill Global, which will reportedly be accomplished through “church-planting” efforts in India and Ethiopia. The second is the Jesus Festival, which is described as “an evangelistic, outdoor outreach, aptly titled The Jesus Festival, at Marymoor Park in Seattle.” It will also reportedly be “a family friendly event with activities for the kids, music, and amazing gospel preachers.”

The last three on the list include a leadership training school, domestic church “re-plants,” and a sermon series and book focusing on issues “including gay marriage, the exclusivity of Jesus, the authority of scripture, etc.”

On January 13, 2014, Mars Hill’s website posted a message that talked about the success of the fundraising drive, “We received $2,991,852 above our budget by December 31st! In addition, during December and January, $300,000 was given to the Endowment Fund for Church Planting, which will help us plant more churches in 2014 and, Lord willing, for generations to come.” The post again mentioned plans for an August Jesus Festival.

Throckmorton wrote in a post on August 18, “Apparently, the money came in (closer to $3 million), but the festival is off, called off months ago. Shouldn’t the people have been consulted? They gave toward a festival but didn’t get one. As late as February, Mark Driscoll was still promoting the festival as a free event.”