The Tragedy of Mars Hill Church

Dear Seattle,

As a Seattle pastor for over twenty years I want to publicly apologize for the way in which the entire Mars Hill Church debacle was allowed to unfold in our city.

I’m sorry that one man and the men in leadership at Mars Hill Church were allowed to treat men, women and children in the most scandalous way possible while acting as representatives of God. The fact that it went on for years and years without any intervention from the Church in Seattle is mindboggling.

Together, as a city we’ve had a front row seat on what it looks like when power is abused by a religious leader. This is not what Jesus meant when he told his church to bring “Good News”. I pray that God will forgive those of us who call ourselves pastors. I pray you will forgive us. I pray that you will give Jesus another chance.

I’m profoundly sorry that His message was so badly twisted by Mark Driscoll and the men who led Mars Hill Church.

I forgive them. But I ask for your forgiveness as well. Those of us who call ourselves pastors waited too long to speak up. Our silence makes us complicit with those we criticize today. None of which excuses the spiritual abuse that Mars Hill leadership has engaged in. I am grateful for all that have tried to intervene, especially Warren Throckmorton.

Like one of their pastors Steve Tompkins has already modeled, I pray these men will own their sin and get the help they need so that real reconciliation will be the end of this story.


Rose Madrid Swetman
Lead Pastor
Vineyard Community Church