Monday, March 17, 2008

Salt of the Earth: Mars Hill Preserving a Decaying City

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 5:13-16)

Sounds like Mars Hill Church of Seattle, Washington, which yesterday opened its newest campus in a former, shall we say, den of iniquity:

Mars Hill Church opens in ex-Tabella nightclub



The 400 or so people who attended the first service at Mars Hill Church's new downtown campus Sunday were witnesses to a startling transformation: They heard a sermon while seated on the former dance floor of one of Seattle's most notorious nightclubs.

At Tabella Restaurant and Lounge, the music was loud, the crowds rowdy.

Seattle police often raced to the club to break up brawls.


In October, Mars Hill bought the two-story, 15,000- square-foot building on Western Avenue for nearly $4 million, making the Belltown venue its sixth campus.

The church sank about $370,000 into the renovation, with volunteers spending months ripping up carpet and painting walls, Gaydos said.

When a worker was installing wiring, a black bag dropped from the ceiling. Inside was a crack pipe and cocaine. Police had to be called -- one more time.


The remaining go-go dancer's cage has been converted into a coat hanger.

The condom dispenser is now a diaper-changing station.

"It's amazing how God can change things," said Sarah Rosenberger, a 29-year-old Lynnwood mother who attended Sunday's service with her infant son.


Down the street at Elbasha Cafe, manager Sam Alramahi recalled how often police cruisers used to pull up to the club to quell late-night fights.

"We're very glad we have a church there," said Alramahi, who lives in the neighborhood. "It saves us hassles."

Wow. Good stuff, Mars Hill. May God richly bless you all and may you turn all that blessing around to the praise and glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.



Laura March 18, 2008 at 9:22 AM  

Reminds me of Ezekiel 36, where God says His name will be profaned no longer, but He will vindicate the holiness. We can be reminded that He is a sovereign God whose goal is that His name be glorified.

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