Rock, rap and Jesus? Seattle-based ministry Mars Hill is launching a record label to serve and attract its growing membership.

The fledgling record label is called Mars Hill Music and run by Deacon Jonathan Dunn. Dunn is a founding member of the heavy metal band Demon Hunter and directed A&R at Tooth & Nail/Solid State Records prior to joining Mars Hill.

According to Mars Hill’s site, “it’s a label defined by Christ and culture and corporate worship.” There are also a few tracks to sample onsite.

Citizens will be the first act to release a full-length album on Mars Hill's new label.

MyNorthwest reported that Mars Hill would like to tap into the music offerings currently happening at its 14 locations in four states, from “rock to rap.” In light of a flailing music industry, Christian rock continues to perform strong in an era of declining physical sales, coming in as the second highest-selling genre, according to Billboard’s 2011 Music Industry Report.

And, as MyNorthwest points out, Mars Hill “boasts upwards of 14,000 followers” and a “built-in” audience with Pastor Mark Driscoll’s sermon podcasts downloaded more than 10 million times last year, according to the church. If that’s the case, Mars Hill’s ability to translate its message into online content could bode well for digital sales.

Curious about a what sampling of Mars Hill artists will sound like? The first band to release a full-length album on the new Mars Hill label will be Citizens, led by Zach Bolen, the worship director at Mars Hill’s U-District church. Bolen calls his band’s brand of music, “blue-collar indie rock,” or what we like to call “Christian Nickelback.”

“We want to be able to fit into as many groups as possible. We don’t want to alienate ourselves in any way, and so accessibility is huge. So especially with Citizens we’re trying to do music that dudes would like,” Bolen tells’s Josh Kerns.

In case you’ve never heard of Mars Hill, Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger did a massive cover story on the church in January.

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  • Dave

    So if they are making money on this, does that make them for-profit now?

  • Free Thinker

    Thumbs down. This church is a bigoted, brain-washed community of Jesus propaganda. I’ve been to one service and nearly threw up in disgust at its chauvinism, hypocrisy and especially labeling the Jewish religion as the “synagogue of Satan.”

  • SeattleRexx

    These people are the most homophobic bunch of bigots and “Bible Twisters” I’ve ever had the displeasure of encountering. Not only are they rabidly anti-gay, they have a reputation of “shunning” and actively alienating members who do not “conform and submit” to the vile demands of the “leaders” of this cult-like pseudo-church. Avoid ANYTHING connected to this 21st century “Jonestown” disaster in the making.

    • Jesus

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. If I were alive today, I would have nothing to do with that cult.

  • God

    I just threw up at the phrase “christian nickelback”

  • Jen Zug

    Wow. I had no idea I was a brain-washed homophobic bigot. Anything else you’d like to call me?

    Oh wait, I think you left out the part where I’m a beaten down woman who can’t think for myself.

    • Dana Jill

      I’m seriously surprised you even know how to use the interwebs, Jen!

      • Jen Zug

        Oh, I had to ask my husband, but he said it was okay. (hahaha!)

  • Jen Zug

    Also, if you’re going to insult me, please have the balls to use your real name. I’d like to know who my accusers are.

  • Bryan Zug

    Pro-Tip: Wouldn’t believe everything you read in the Stranger or the comments section of a post.

    Speaking for our family (@bryanzug + @jenzug)…

    We have called the imperfect gathering that is MH our spiritual community for a long time.

    The reality is that folks from MH support all sorts of things in the city (Go Geekwire! Go Belltown Green and Clean!) and are not drones or clones.

    Christianity is a belief system that is at odds with a ton of things (consumerism, individualism that trumps community, etc) and it’s much easier to throw zingers around than taking the time to get to know your neighbor.

    Working through really understanding where people are coming from takes longer than 60 seconds — and who has time for that these days, really?

    Honestly, the sorts of fear inducing zingers that have already been posted — “homophobic!” “cult!” “jonestown!” “bigoted!” brainwashed!” “Yada!” “Forever!” “Amen!” —

    …well, they get tired quickly — especially when, in our experience, we never have that type of interaction with anyone in the tech/biz/arts community we collaborate with in person.

    I’d rather built cool things and spend my time blessing the city around me.

    But before I get back to doing that, one other thing…

    Saying “X” is the Christian version of “Y”, is the easiest way to get mocked in our circle of friends from our spiritual community.

    If Christianity turns out to be true, I am sure Jesus has an awesome sense of humor and that he takes us all less seriously than we take ourselves.

  • Will Foster

    Yeah, sure sounds like Nickelback:

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