Mark believes that bible study should not only happen at Mars Hill, but that anywhere people are willing to listen and dialog it's appropriate to open the Scripture and get to work. This approach has led him to a lot of places many would fear to go - and some would object to.
I’ve preached and led Bible studies in all kinds of places. I’ve even preached in bars. I preached at happy hour one time in the University District of Seattle. The bar owner asked me to come and preach to all the college guys drinking beer, so I did. I did a short sermon. Then I did q & a with a bunch of drunken frat guys, which was fun. I’ll preach anywhere, anytime. If it’s a round trip ticket to preach in hell, I’ll take it—as long as it’s round trip. I’ve preached at cult meetings. I have taught and answered questions at all sorts of bizarre churches. I’ve sat down with Native American shamans. I’ve done a Bible study with witches just to answer their questions.
For the record, I think we should be willing to go wherever we can get a valid hearing. Mark is a good example to us all here.
Mark goes on to share some of his thoughts on Bible study, and how to get the most out of it. He encourages others to:
1. Use the right tools: a good translation for primary use, additional translations, concordance, Bible dictionary, commentary, etc. 2. Learn to make the connection to Jesus: All of Scripture leads us to Christ. Mark says the difference between Bible reading and study is making this connection. 3. Examine yourself: Bible study should impact mind, heart and attitude. It is not about accumulating knowledge. 4. Draw application to real life: Much of the bible is written from and addresses times of suffering as well as joy. Drawing relevant application from the truths and principles of Scripture requires some Q&A both internally for the individual and verbally for the community. This is why Mark began Mars Hill with Q&A built into the worship service. The church still manages to pull this off, but via text messaging due to size and multiple campuses.