Have you been listening to The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill Podcast? If not, I want to commend it to you.
I’m struggling to know exactly why I’m commending it to you because I’m still processing a lot of what I’ve been listening to.
On the one hand, it tells the story of the rise and fall of Mars Hill in a very powerful way. It is a podcast done really well. You hear not only the stories of people involved – you hear their voices. You hear the joys, pains, regrets, and disappointments. And I think that’s amazing because it highlights the reality that this whole saga involved real people.
On the other hand, it also attempts to diagnose the ‘problem’ of Mars Hill. The host has done a great job of integrating research, observations, and experiences to consider the question of ‘what went wrong?’. And any historian will tell you that this in itself is a fruitful exercise. Studying the past guards us from foolishness in the present and failures for the future. If you’re a church leader (lay or vocational), then this will hit home. Part of the story of Mars Hill is the power (and particularly the misuse) of leadership.
This discussion is, I think, really worthwhile because the problems that faced Mars Hill is not an abstract problem ‘out there’. I have personally seen very similar patterns in the life of churches here in Sydney. And a very honest assessment of our own hearts will reveal tendencies towards personal kingdom building, manipulation, misuse of power, and more. You don’t need a big church to think or behave in these ways. But the podcast also wrestles with the question of “how could so much bad come out of something that also produced so much good?”
So I want to encourage you to check it out. It’ll give you a lot to think about.