Excerpt from a book published by Mars Hill's former pastor, Kent Dobson, in 2017:
In my final year as the teaching pastor at Mars Hill, many of the conversations with the church elder board had to do with the “same-sex question,” and it was breaking us apart. At the time, we sincerely believed that different interpretations could coexist at the same leadership table. We thought this happened with other questions of faith, so maybe it could happen with this contentious one. Many of the key staff supported an open and affirming position toward our gay brothers and sisters. Many of the pastors were willing to perform gay marriages, before gay marriage was even legal. But most of the elders did not support such positions. It was hard to believe that the ship we boarded was heading in any particular direction.
Gay people remained second-class spiritual citizens, welcome to attend our church, but little more. A “moratorium” on gay marriage was instituted that was never lifted, and openly gay people were not allowed to serve at the highest levels. In an attempt to pursue a third way, our gay brothers and sisters lost, while the traditional position gave up nothing, and suffered nothing.
Though we tried, not every position was really honored in our attempt to honor different convictions. And by not taking a public position, the “third way” ended up being a way to quietly sweep the hard stuff under the rug. Gay people remained in the lower category of “sinners” for many—ironically the very category of people Jesus hung out with—while we talked about them behind closed doors with the Bible in hand."