August 13, 2021 (CAROL STREAM, Illinois). A new podcast from Christianity Today has quickly become a media phenomenon. With over 2.5 million downloads, a #1 ranking on Apple’s religion podcasts, and breaking into Apple’s top three podcasts, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill is generating interest from all corners of Christianity. The podcast, one of CT's first forays into long-form audio storytelling, recounts the saga of an influential megachurch, its controversial pastor, and the cultural shifts that made them possible.

Founded in 1996, Seattle’s Mars Hill Church was poised to be an undeniable force in evangelicalism—that is until its spiraling collapse in 2014. The church and its charismatic founder, Mark Driscoll, had a promising start. But the perils of power, conflict, and Christian celebrity eroded and eventually shipwrecked both the preacher and his multimillion-dollar platform.

This compelling human story is resonating with both critics and audiences, with each successive episode drawing greater numbers. Based on downloads and social media engagement, it’s clear that The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill has struck a chord.

The product of months of research and dozens of interviews by the director of CT podcasts, Mike Cosper, the 12-episode series takes you inside Mars Hill, from its founding as part of one of the largest church-planting movements in American history to its very public dissolution and the aftermath that followed. The issues that plague Mars Hill—money, celebrity, sexism, scandal, and power—aren’t unique, and only by looking closely at what happened in Seattle will we be able to see ourselves.

“Nothing will change some of the amazing things that happened at Mars Hill,” said Tim Smith, a former pastor and 16-year veteran of the church. “And nothing can change the pain and hurt and devastation that also happened at Mars Hill.”

The podcast is “an important listen for any Christian leader or leader in the making,” says prominent evangelical speaker and author Beth Moore. Christian poet and hip-hop artist Jackie Hill Perry agrees: “What Mike Cosper unveils is way bigger than Mark Driscoll. He wants us to think about the culture we all participate in that exalts ability over character.”

Christianity Today is an acclaimed and award-winning media ministry that elevates the storytellers and sages of the global Church. Each month, across a variety of digital and print media, the ministry carries the most important stories and ideas of the kingdom of God to over 4.5 million people all around the planet.

For more information, or to request an interview with Rise and Fall series creator Mike Cosper, contact:

Joy Beth Smith
phone: (336) 314-7375