Corban’s Bible Certificate program partnership with Mars Hill will end on Dec. 31.
According to Dr. Matt Lucas, provost and executive vice president, this will not immediately affect students on the Salem campus, nor will it affect students on the Washington campus currently involved with the program.
The 24-credit Bible Certificate program began fall of 2014. The partnership will end on Dec. 31, the day Mars Hill Church will officially disassemble. However, current students will still have the opportunity to complete the program in the spring, said Lucas.
As of Thursday, there are 18 students enrolled in the Bible Certificate program. A location change will occur in the spring, where students will no longer be at the Mars Hill Bellevue, Washington location. The short-term site for the program will be the First Baptist Church of Kirkland, Washington.
In a letter titled "Local Mission, Local Churches," which can be found in the Mars Hill website, Dave Bruskas, executive elder, discussed the future for the Mars Hill congregations.
"Following much prayer and lengthy discussion with Mars Hills' leadership, the board of Mars Hill has concluded that rather than remaining a centralized multi-site church with video-led teaching distributed to multiple locations, the best future for each of our existing local churches is for them to become autonomous self-governed entities," Bruskas said. "This means that each of our locations has an opportunity to become a new church, rooted in the best of what Mars Hill has been in the past, and independently led and run by its own local elder teams."
In chapel on Wednesday, Nov. 5, Dr. Greg Trull addressed curiosity and concerns among students regarding the future of Corban's partnership with Mars Hill.
Trull said that when the partnership was being settled, they had “no idea” of what was going to happen.
"None of the current controversies had come to light when the trustees approved the Mars Hill partnership," he said. "Even though unexpected situations come up, we have to persevere, trust in God’s sovereignty, and pick up the pieces."
Lucas also discussed the role of God's sovereignty in situations like this.
“It’s always a risk doing these kinds of partnerships,” Lucas said. “I’m saddened to see what happened, but I’m trusting in God’s sovereignty, and I’m excited to see how He will use this.”
According to Trull, two positive things have come of this partnership.
"Corban has stretched and grown both through working with an internationally known partner, and through navigating the complexity and criticism from Mars Hills' failure," Trull said.
Secondly, he said that he and the School of Ministry "have been delighted with the quality of students in the Mars Hill program and would love to see them continue their education in Salem."