Mark Driscoll to open next Mars Hill in Phoenix

Mark Driscoll is founder of Mars Hill church in Seattle

Mark Driscoll has announced plans to launch a new church in Phoenix early next year.

It will be the 15th branch of Mars Hill to be started by Driscoll since he and wife Grace pioneered the first one in Seattle in 1996.  

The plant will be headed up by Pastor Ryan Welsh, who will be moving out to Phoenix with his family next month to start pulling the project together. 

He is looking for an initial core group of 150 members, with 30 coming forward to be trained up as community group leaders. 

The Phoenix branch is expected be launched formally around January or February 2014.

Driscoll tweeted on Monday: "It's official! @MarsHill is coming to Phoenix, Lord willing.  Join the core or give in support." 

Around 14,000 people attend Mars Hill services each week across the 14 locations.  

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