Monday, December 3, 2007

Our New Church Home

Hello all! It's Jason posting, at long last. Albeit, I do so only to announce official news that Tami and I have decided to become members of Mars Hill Church, and as such leave Crosspointe. For the sake of not typing out a detailed explanation twice, what follows is a message we sent to friends and family explaining our decision.
Beloved Friends,

After a grueling and heartbreaking process of soul-searching, prayer, and God's clear call being communicated to us, we have decided to leave Crosspointe Church and to join Mars Hill Church in Seattle. While we don't subscribe to the notion that you can never be called away from a church, we want to make it clear that the reason for our departure can be found in the stated and well-practiced mission of Mars Hill, rather than in any particular fault Crosspointe Church may have.

Tami and I are both first-generation Christians. What weighs on our hearts the most as a married couple is our responsibility to raise children in the warmth of God's grace and love, something we unfortunately never knew in our childhoods. When we reflect on the picture of Christ our lives will project to our children one day, as well as on our family members and friends who don't know Christ, we simply cannot settle for anything less than the fullness of what God has for us. As such, we are very happy to have found Mars Hill Church to be a place where the Bible is taught in a real, raw, and sometimes even brutal fashion - even more importantly, in a way that changes lives.

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill is not only a dynamic (and hilarious!) Bible teacher, but a humble servant of Christ who is very specifically open about his own struggles with sin and how much he has grown during the process of founding a church that now finds itself being among the most influential in the country. And most importantly, he pulls no punches on the pulpit. "I speak hard words to produce soft people; soft words produce hard people" is something you can often catch Mark saying, and it's refreshing, although not always comfortable. Mars Hill is a place that puts a premium not on comfort, but on sound doctrine and solid bible teaching and pairs it with practicing community with fellow Christians in a way that values accountable, iron-sharpens-iron relationships. We are at such a fragile state in our spiritual lives, being a newlywed couple, and we cannot help but be drawn to an environment where Jesus can truly empty us of all that hinders and fill us with the Spirit more abundantly than we've previously experienced.

Specifically, Mars Hill is a place that concerns itself with the vitality of marriages, and focuses on a biblical, complementarian view of gender roles in marriage. Under this new teaching, I will be challenged to love my wonderful wife as Christ loves the church, and Tami will be challenged to respect me and encourage me to lead our family as a godly man. We simply cannot resist God's call towards a church body that will dare us to reach for His best in our marriage.

We are also irresistibly drawn to the missional aspect of Mars Hill Church. It is truly a miracle that this church has been so successful in a place like Seattle, bringing to Christ people most would write off as unreachable. Seattle is a place that's just as Godless as communist China, yet nobody ever speaks of taking a mission trip to Pioneer Square! We are happy to have found a church that makes outreach inextricably linked with its church structure and never seeks to serve itself first.

It must be said that our ties to the youth ministry at Crosspointe is what made our decision so difficult. We love every last one of the students we've been privileged to serve, and it breaks our hearts to know that God has called us away from such a great group of people. We have really enjoyed getting to know all the students and staff, and while we cherish every moment we've had to both challenge others and to be challenged in the race we run for Jesus, it grieves us to be called away after such a short time.

Furthermore, we love Crosspointe Church! We love Pastor Rick, and it was an honor to have him officiate our marriage. And through Crosspointe we've come to know several wonderful people that we will truly miss. Know that we didn't take this lightly, and know that we tried as hard as we could to attain peace while staying at Crosspointe and ignoring God's pull on our hearts. Yet, even though it's been heartbreaking, we do have the peace from God we'd been looking for after deciding to join Mars Hill.

As we will keep Crosspointe and you all as individuals in our prayers, we would ask for your prayers as well. And we would encourage you all to believe in Crosspointe with all your hearts as He moves you to. Just because we found certain things lacking doesn't mean they don't exist or couldn't exist. It all starts with your relationship with Christ and how you relate to each other. Tami and I are learning to be the church we wish to see, and we would encourage you all to do the same.

We love you all and thank you for allowing us to be part of your lives.

In Christ,

Jason and Tami