With an eye on the broader church, Rob Bell is leaving the Mars Hill megachurch that he founded 12 years ago. Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Christianity Today have the story:
Flickering Pixels author Shane Hipps 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.
Last spring, Bell stirred a real storm with the publication of his latest book, “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.” Here I discussed whether Bell was a universalist heretic or a marketing genius.