Recently, you might’ve have seen, or heard or read about the troubles at Mars Hill Church and with their Pastor, Mark Driscoll.
The question was put to me in regards to all of this: what do we do with the songs? What about the Mars Hill Music bands like Citizens and Saints or Kings K who’ve become popular with many worship leaders in recent years?
While I hope to address these questions, I think it kind of misses the point. Do you know where the songs you sing come from? Do you know what the implications of singing a song is? Or what the implications of promoting a worship leader are? Is Mars Hill Church the only church I need to be concerned about?
THERE’S A LOT OF TROUBLE OUT THERE
Pastor Mark is far from the only well known pastor with troubles brewing. In fact, this very morning I read about accusations that are 100 times more serious being made against Pastor Brian Huston, the founder the Hillsong Churches. There has been a certain amount of scandal around Elevation Church pastor Steven Furtick, and the more I read and hear about the theology and practice of Bethel church (from where Jesus Culture comes) I’m concerned.
So, while I am in no way comparing the charges against Brian Huston with my doctrinal disagreements with the folks at Bethel, my point is that Mars Hill is far from the only church with storm clouds overhead. Yet, I haven’t heard anyone asking “what do we do with Mighty to Save or One Thing Remains?”
KNOW WHERE YOUR MUSIC COMES FROM
I encourage worship leaders everywhere to know where their songs come from. While I’ve been a great fan of Mars Hill Music since it’s inception, I’ve been watchful. I have theological disagreements with MHC. I’m not reformed and they are and while it’s never become an issue, I’ve always watched out to make sure that theological teaching at odds with my church’s theological position didn’t creep in. The same should be true for any number of churches.
I like a lot of the songs from Hillsong, Bethel or Chris Tomlin, but I find that they are often incomplete in their theology. I’m a pastor at a Bible teaching church that’s part of a Bible teaching movement of churches. If we proclaim “the whole counsel of the word of God” (Acts 20:27) then why should our songs do anything less?
So whether it’s Mars Hill or the Southern Baptist Hymnal, I encourage all worship leaders to know where their songs come from and to be mindful of the theological “diet’ they feed their church each week in song.
RIP MARS HILL MUSIC?
From what I’ve read, Mars Hill Music currently exists in name only. Most of the bands like Citizens and Saints, Kings Kaleidoscope, and Dustin Kensrue have resigned from the church, many of them in protest.
This really bums me out. I’ll probably write more about Mars Hill Music in the future, but for now I’ll just say that whether it’s passing is temporary or permanent, it’s something to be mourned.
WHAT I’M DOING ABOUT IT
Truthfully, no one in my church has mentioned anything about where our songs come from, and most of the chatter has been between worship leaders. I feel that if someone is concerned about doing songs from MHC they should be concerned about other songs from other churches as well, but they’re not.
My policy is this: I’m still doing songs like Mediator, Rejoice and Oh! Great is Our God. Some of them, especially Oh! Great is our God have been embraced by my church and I see no reason to stop singing them just because some of the leadership at MHC are acting like knuckleheads. At the same time, I’m not promoting Mars Hill Music in any active way. If I send out youtube links for a song I’m probably not going to use the ones put out by MHC, etc.
Lastly, I’m praying. I’m praying that when the book is written and the story is told, that the tale of Mars Hill, it’s music and it’s leadership would be one of God’s grace working amongst broken sinners as opposed to sinners who wouldn’t be broken. I’m also praying that God raises up a replacement to Mars Hill Music because it’s a ministry that is sorely missed by many of us and the church is worse off without it.