ROB BELL Addresses MARS HILL CHURCH Sunday About His Reason For Leaving

 

Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, stood before his 7,000-member congregation Sunday to discuss his departure from the ministry he founded more than 12 years ago.

Telling Mars Hill Bible Church members that they would “be fine,” Bell spent much of his half-hour sermon discussing the new calling he felt had been placed on his life to “share God’s love” in new ways, according to ABC 13.

That new calling for his life involves moving his family to Los Angeles within the year to undertake several projects, which include penning more books and undertaking speaking engagements, such as his “Fit to Smash Ice Tour” in Canada and the U.S.

Bell, 41, also informed the Mars Hill congregation that he would not be starting a new church.

According to congregants who posted their reactions on Twitter, Bell’s remarks were very emotional. “To be honest with you, I thought I would die here, but that’s not really the right way to say it… Change is a form of loss,” Bell said, according to Heidi Fenton. Chris Zoladz, also tweeted Bell as saying, “We serve a big God and none of this is shocking to him. All we can do is embrace a future that is going to be brilliant.”

The Love Wins author attempted to comfort worried congregants at the Grandville church about his departure by telling them, “You are going to be fine.”

Bell, who received a standing ovation as he concluded his remarks Sunday, will continue preaching at Mars Hill Bible Church until he departs in December.

Mars Hill staff members made the announcement Thursday that Bell had resigned, revealing in a statement:

The news had attracted so much attention that Mars Hill Bible Church’s website suffered a crash that same night.

Bell’s recent book was so concerning to many evangelicals that some released their own writings to counter Bell’s claims about hell. Among them, Francis Chan recently released Erasing Hell, Mark Galli authored God Wins: Heaven, Hell, and Why the Good News Is Better than Love Wins, and a group of theologians including R. Albert Mohler, Jr. and J.I. Packer collaborated for Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven?

Still, some applauded Bell’s work, calling it timely and prophetic.

Bell will be traveling across the U.S. and Canada in November for his “The Fit to Smash Ice Tour.” On his official website, Bell says “Fit to Smash” will involve “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.”

Shane Hipps, the Michgan church’s co-pastor, will continue preaching after Bell’s departure. Hipps joined Mars Hill as a teaching pastor in early 2010.

 

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