SEATTLE (Christian Examiner) -- Pastor Rick Warren of southern California-based Saddleback Church will preach the last official sermon for Mars Hill church in Seattle on New Year's Eve, according reports. The megachurch leader and author of bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life" offered to speak on the church's last Sunday.
"Our dear friend Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church has graciously offered to preach the final sermon for us," Mars Hill said in an email newsletter. "Each of our churches will be showing a special message from Pastor Rick, based on John 12:24."
"Our hope is that this timely message will be an encouragement for the people that have called Mars Hill Church their home, as we reflect on the great impact our church has had on the kingdom of God, as well as an [encouragement] for the new churches emerging out of Mars Hill, and the potential they have to continue bearing much fruit," the letter continued.
Warren's message will be delivered to Mars Hill's 12 congregations via video.
Mark Driscoll, who resigned as head pastor of Mars Hill in October, has been longtime friends with Warren. An internal church investigation found that he had been "guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner," according to a letter from the church's board of overseers obtained by Religion News Service.
In August the Acts 29 church planting network, which Driscoll founded, removed him and Mars Hill, which had 15 campuses in five states with an estimated 14,000 participants, from its membership.
"As we reflect on over eighteen years of ministry, and ultimately close the doors on Mars Hill Church, we are thankful that many of our churches will continue as new independent, autonomous churches," the church said Tuesday on its website. "While Mars Hill Church will cease to exist, God's work through his people will continue."
Mars Hill will officially close its doors on New Year's Eve.