ROB BELL RESIGNS FROM MARS HILL CHURCH !!!!

 

Mars Hill

Rob Bell announced today that he has decided to leave Mars Hill Church, the Grandville megachurch he and his wife founded 12 years ago, to focus on a broader audience, the church announced today.

Shane Hipps, author of Flickering Pixels will take over for Bell during spring 2012 after Bell finishes his series on Acts in December.

The church released the following statement on its site:

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.

 

Bell’s ignited a firestorm in the evangelical world earlier this year when he released his book “Love Wins.”  In it he questioned the traditional Christian view of hell, arguing that hell was not eternal. He wrote that people could choose to leave hell if if they wanted too.  This view drew the ire of some of the most influential evangelical leaders including John Piper. After seeing a video promoting “Love Wins,” Piper tweeted “Farewell Rob Bell” on his Twitter account. That set off a furious online debate about the book. The controversy helped propel it to the number two spot on the New York Times bestseller list.

 

Bell founded Mars Hill Bible Church in 1999, spending 18 months gathering in a school gymnasium before expanding to a former mall in Grandville, Mich. The church seats about 3,500 and holds two Sunday morning services. Bell was formerly an assistant pastor at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Other prominent pastors and leaders, including Francis Chan, N. T. Wright, and Jim Belcher, have left their church positions in the past few years to pursue broader activities.

Below Is The Full Text of Mars Hill Church’s Statement:

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.

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 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

Our thoughts and prayers of all of us here at Awaken Generation Blog go out to Rob and his family during this time of transition.

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3 Comments to “ROB BELL RESIGNS FROM MARS HILL CHURCH !!!!”

  1. I wish him the best as well as his church…

  2. I’m right there with you JB, regardless of our differences with Bell and his views, he’s still a human being. Your book definitely seems interesting. Hope it goes well!

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