Mars Hill has an "unhealthy culture" and members of the leadership team have contributed to it, one of the church's top pastors has admitted.
Former Executive Elder Dave Bruskas is currently functioning as interim Preaching Pastor following the resignation of Mark Driscoll earlier this month. In a blog on the Mars Hill website, he says the church must now "move forward together knowing that we are a broken and repentant church in need of a forgiveness and restoration that only Jesus provides."
"We love you very much Mars Hill, and it is our deep desire to begin a new chapter focussed on new values," Bruskas writes.
"We ask for forgiveness from those who have been hurt by this church because of the culture we contributed to."
His letter sets out how Mars Hill is planning to go ahead without Driscoll, outlining a new structure which would mean greater power given to the local church, rather than being in the hands of a few.
Much of the criticism levelled at Mars Hill has been regarding the church's bylaws and hierarchy which some argue gave too much power to Driscoll and his right hand men.
"As we move toward a new structure there is no desire to consider a continuation of the current model of leadership, including the Executive Elder roles and the Board of Advisors and Accountability," Bruskas reveals.
"We are currently not considering an option where I would take over in Pastor Mark's previous role. We intend to provide more self-determining freedom to our local churches in a way that empowers local leaders to direct the future of their churches."
The blog encourages church members to give financially, and reiterates the Mars Hill rhetoric that "Jesus is our Senior Pastor".
"He loves you dearly and we as your elders desire to serve you better," Bruskas concludes.
"As the Board of Elders continue to glean the lessons learned during this season, we are confident this will lead to greater church health through deep cultural change... We need your patience and prayers as we seek to live out our commitment to these areas of significant change in our church."
Driscoll resigned from ministry on October 14, confessing to "pride, anger and a domineering spirit". His surprise announcement followed a six-week break during which 20 misconduct charges brought by former elders of Mars Hill were investigated.