There will be a lot of letters of resignation turned in after that conference. Pastors, worship leaders, and even children’s ministers will leave churches they have poured themselves into for years. They will leave to follow their true passions, their true calling – something which has been nipping at their heels without a name for as long as they can remember.
Rob Bell brought that nipping into question last weekend. He gave it a name and a face. He said “turn around and chase that down.”
Bell didn’t say a whole lot that was shocking to me (or many others). What he did do is reaffirm and strengthen ideas that had already sprung up in my mind. He gave us tangible examples of what we’ve dreamt of. That’s why it was such a powerful couple of days.
I want to seek out and work toward a holistic salvation that reaches to the ends of the earth, a salvation that doesn’t end with my personal experience of it. I want to see God’s power through social justice, ending poverty and famine, and curing disease. I don’t want to settle for anything less.
Bell’s advice for someone currently established in a church that is “sick” and more self-serving than anything else was: leave. One person said (in a half joking manner, I’m sure) that they would do more effective ministry at their local bar. Bell said go there.
These are the kinds of things I was thinking about on the drive back.
These are the kinds of things I will be thinking about for a long time. In that sense these aren’t final thoughts on the content of the trip: if anything they are a beginning.
Rob Bell, your words had an effect on me. Their effect may not be fully realized for some time, but something is at work. Thank you.
Something I need to remember is that I’m not yet in the position to move on a lot of the things moving my spirit right now. It’s frustrating, but in the end I’m going to bend to modern times and methods and push through “the system.” By the system I mean college and (probably) graduate school. The best thing I can do right now is push forward. The nice part, however, is that I can be preparing from this point forward with my goal in mind.
I’m not the only one struggling through these thoughts and decisions right now. Dave Crow posted his notes earlier this week too. There are even notes up on a Mars Hill member’s blog. I’m sure there are dozens of people talking about this in dozens of blogs right now.
The point is this isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In a sense I’m sure Bell knew what he was doing with this conference. He was making history, believe it or not.
Oh, and I know one more thing. I won’t be missing a single Bell conference or speaking tour from now on. His next book, Sex God, comes out this March. His next speaking tour will be this fall; it’s called The Gods Aren’t Angry. Take my advice: be there.
p.s. I ended up with 43 pages of typed notes. Rock on.