Mars Hill Starts to Close Churches

Mars Hill Church announced on Sunday the closure of the Downtown Seattle and U-District churches in Washington, which will soon be consolidated with Mars Hill Church Ballard as of October 12th. The Mars Hill Church in Phoenix will close its doors on September 28th altogether. The organization announced that it has ceased development of a Los Angeles church and that it may be forced to close its Huntington Beach location if it is unable to raise funds by the end of this year.

The closures mark another blow to the organization, which has found itself in the spotlight in recent news over Mark Driscoll’s alleged plagiarism and misuse of church funds. Mars Hill acknowledged that unflattering media coverage may have played a roll in the lowering in church donations. In a weekly update, the organization said that:

“It is your continued support that is needed now more than ever. While we were able to end the fiscal year strong, giving and attendance have declined significantly since January. Specifically, we have seen a substantial decrease in tithes and offerings these past two months, due to the increase in negative media attention surrounding our church.”

Prior to announcing these financial difficulties, Mars Hill raised nearly $3 million at the end of 2013 in part to fund the planting of its Phoenix church, the replanting of the Huntington Beach church, and a now cancelled Jesus festival.

The church closures leave many wondering what the church’s future will be moving forward as many leave in droves.