Friday, September 23, 2011

Rob Bell will leave Mars Hill to tour

From Mars Hill:

September 22, 2011

To our community of attendees, listeners, and supporters:

The infamous quote “change is the only constant” certainly holds true at Mars Hill. We have experienced ongoing changes that have improved and transformed—as well as at times unintentionally created tension or heartache within our community. And now, we have another significant change to hold together.

Rob Bell
Feeling the call from God to pursue a growing number of strategic opportunities, our founding pastor Rob Bell, has decided to leave Mars Hill in order to devote his full energy to sharing the message of God’s love with a broader audience.

It is with deeply mixed emotions that we announce this transition to you. We have always understood, encouraged, and appreciated the variety of avenues in which Rob’s voice and the message of God’s tremendous love has traveled over the past 12 years. And we are happy and hopeful that as Rob and Kristen venture ahead, they will find increasing opportunity to extend the heartbeat of that message to our world in new and creative ways.

Rob and Kristen started Mars Hill and helped create a church that removes the barriers to meeting Jesus. And while we recognize that no one person defines a community, we acknowledge the impact of Rob’s leadership, creativity, and biblical insights on our lives, and face a deep sadness at the loss of their presence in our community.

Rob Bell at Mars Hill.
Rob will be addressing our community in both Gatherings on Sunday, September 25, to describe his journey and call to pursue a new venture. For the remainder of this year, he will be teaching our Acts Series several times with his last teaching being in December.

As we plan for the future, Shane Hipps will continue to teach our community and we will be inviting other familiar voices to teach on Sundays during the spring of 2012.

We continue to be amazed by the grace and trust of the community we serve. Your voice and heart will be important elements of how we move forward together as a community of believers. We invite you to continue on this journey with us and ask that you would join us in prayer while we carefully discern what lies ahead for the Mars Hill community.

Grace and Peace,

The Elder Team,
Ministry Leadership Team,
and staff of Mars Hill

And here is a statement from Rob Bell:

Have I ever told you the story about
the smoke machine at the wedding?
Or the time I hit my head and had
to be told who I was? Or the one about
Eleazar and the elephant?

I didn't think so. Which means it's time
for a tour. Over the next year or so
I'll be out on the Fit to Smash Ice Tour
with the good chance I'll be somewhere
near where you live. As usual it's several
hours of entirely new content I haven't given
before, exploring all the exhilarating ways
we stumble and fumble and fail and bleed
and limp along and just how good and
sacred and thrilling it all is.

I'm hoping to break some new ground
on this tour, going places we haven't
gone before. I want you to be inspired,
provoked, challenged and moved in all
kinds of new ways throughout the
evening so that you leave Fit to Smash

Read more about it here and here and here and here.


Dale Matson said...

Can someone clarify something? When I went to the Mars Hill Church website, Mark Driscoll was listed as the Mars Hill pastor and two others as associates. It seems like this is a franchise too. Is Rob Bell at a satellite campus? Wouldn't Mark Driscoll be in a different theological camp than Rob Bell?

Unknown said...

There are two Mars Hill churches - and is Mark Driscoll's church and is Rob Bell's church. They are two unrelated church organizations.


Dale Matson said...

Thanks for the clarification.

Patrick said...

The relationship between Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll is kind of interesting. Rob Bell would be a major leader of the "emergent" movement, which was basically founded by Brian McLaren. There was a time, back in the 90's, when the "emerging" and "emergent" church were all one big happy family of people trying to "do church" for "Generation X", and Mark Driscoll and Brian McLaren worked together at Leadership Network. Unfortunately, Driscoll left Leadership network, which eventually became the "Emergent" movement, and has since become just another theological revisionism in my opinion. Around this time, Rob Bell came into the scene on the "Emergent" side of the picture. This is kind of a shame, because in the late 90's I had the opportunity of spending some time with Brian McLaren and he was a really engaging thinker and speaker on the topic of how Evangelicals could remain culturally relevant without becoming liberals. (Off-topic but relevant: I had occasion on Sunday to visit a very liberal church and was very unsettled to sit in on a Sunday School class which included Brian McLaren in a line-up with Jack Spong, Dom Crossan, and Marcus Borg. Sadly, I think he's gone over to the dark side completely at this point, and at one point I considered him a friend.)

Back to Driscoll, he has made it pretty clear that he has no time for Rob Bell or Brian McLaren or the "Emerging/Emergent" movement anymore, and regards Bell as a heretic -- most recently with regard to Bell's book Love Wins. It seems like Driscoll has pretty much gone all neo-Calvinist at this point.