On Monday, I established that Mars Hill Church in Orange County violated the city of Santa Ana’s zoning law for the better part of a year (2011-2012). In defiance of the city and at the direction of Mars Hill’s executive elders, Mars Hill Orange County continued to meet in a building which was not zoned for a church, even paying fines instead of moving to another location, or simply waiting until a suitable location could be found. Then when the church was facing enforcement, Mars Hill’s pastor Mark Driscoll claimed to lack understanding about the city’s actions.
Apparently, Mars Hill members care about this issue because they asked about it during a recent “Vision Breakfast” where members could ask the executive elders questions. A May 18 email from Mars Hill leaders to members referenced the matter:
Turner’s reply to members is very close to the one he issued to me when I asked him when he became aware that the church in Orange County was in violation of zoning ordinance. Honestly, I don’t understand how the answer to that question would be influenced by a reconciliation with Kyle Firstenberg (the “person who is raising these issues publicly“). According to Firstenberg, he made Turner aware of his concerns on more than one occasion with no reply.
Furthermore, based on documentation supplied by the city of Santa Ana, it seems clear that the Mars Hill executive board knew that the church in Orange County was operating in violation of city ordinance. This is a matter of public record. I can understand why church members would ask about this and want their leaders to be accountable and transparent. As of now, that does not appear to be the stance of Mars Hill’s leaders.