The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill follows the journey of Mark Driscoll and his Christian megachurch. An unflinching podcast, the series explores the story of a community led astray.
Driscoll was a prominent figure in the Christian community in the mid-1990s. His Seattle-based Mars Hill church became popular after Driscoll lectured at a conference. There, Driscoll discussed Generation X and its relationship with Christ. The media, including The New York Times, took notice. Christian leaders across the United States became hopeful for the future. To them, he was the visionary who would inspire the new generation of young Christians. His charismatic character and ability to command a room were unmistakable. Mars Hill would grow to 15,000 members across 15 locations. And that's all he needed to become a significant force in evangelicalism.
But power corrupted Driscoll. Although he was transforming lives, his ego grew too big. He had begun to take the work of God upon himself. Finally, in 2014, everything came crashing down. His Christian celebrity status deteriorated almost overnight. And both his reigning pastor reputation and multimillion-dollar platform collapsed.
How did it all fall apart? The congregation reported bullying, spiritual abuse, and persistent sinful behavior from Driscoll. His believers suffered as he made himself out to be a higher source. In the series, former Mars Hill members offer their perspectives on how it went wrong. Also, bonus episodes look into similar church scandals. Survivors tell of other abusive environments and falls from grace among Christian organizations.