Mars Hill’s music grew out of the same counter-cultural ethos that defined the rest of its ministry. Most of the church’s founding members thought Christian contemporary music was too saccharine and polished for their tastes, and what evolved at Mars Hill reflected the gritty and dark sounds of the city around them. But like many other facets of the Mars Hill story, there was much behind the music. Often selected for their charisma and talent, Mars Hill bands found that few cared about the condition of their souls or the posture of their spirits.

Chad Gardner became a worship leader later in the church’s history, having grown up listening to the church’s music. His eventual decision to leave would mean sacrificing community and intellectual property rights over his band’s contributions to the ministry. Some band members, damaged by various spiritual abuses, would leave the faith altogether.

In this bonus episode of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, host Mike Cosper sits down with Chad Gardner, worship leader at Mars Hill, to hear the hard and beautiful stories of the music that defined the community. Peek backstage for a glimpse of what worship leadership meant in this alternative church culture, and hear stories behind some of Kings Kaleidoscope’s albums. Finally, find out why Chad told us, “I never wanted to do a duet with Mark.”

Learn more about Kings Kaleidoscope here.

Also check out Citizens, The Sing Team, and Ghost Ship.

“The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill” is a production of Christianity Today

Executive Producer: Erik Petrik

Producer, Writer, Editor, Host, and Mix Engineer: Mike Cosper

Associate Producers: Joy Beth Smith and Azurae Phelps

Music and Sound Design: Kate Siefker

Graphic Design: Bryan Todd

Social Media: Kate Lucky

Editorial Consultant: Andrea Palpant Dilley

Editor in Chief: Timothy Dalrymple

Theme Song: “Sticks and Stones” Kings Kaleidoscope

Additional Music: Brad Currah, Red Letter, Team Strike Force, The Sing Team, Citizens, and Kings Kaleidoscope