Yesterday, we had a final service to send Rob Bell into his next calling. It was a beautiful service the team put together with some incredible moments (thank you Dave Livermore).
A number of people over the last few months have been asking how I’m doing since the announcement that Rob would be leaving Mars Hill. I made some of these comments on Sunday, but for those who weren’t able to be there, I’ve included them here.
I learned when I become a pastor that it is a unique vocation. Becoming a leader in any profession can be a lonely experience. This isn’t always bad, in many ways it forces you to grow up fast. In time you learn to allow the loneliness to become a divine ingredient in cultivating depth and resilience. Over the years I learned to befriend it as a teacher. And as I’ve said here before, there is a difference between being alone, and being lonely.
When I accepted the call to become the co-teacher with a beloved friend it was a strange experience. We were both so used to being alone in leadership that we didn’t realize the unexpected gift that comes with having a partner. It was a fantastic experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Rob is almost entirely ego-less and extremely generous in sharing his platform with others. I experienced an incredible hospitality from him. And it gave me a chance to build a really beautiful relationship with a community that I love.
In South American I’m told there is an expression, one ox can do the work of one. But two oxes can do the work of ten. That was true for me.
Rob’s decision to move on, was not surprising to me. I was aware of something stirring in him for some time. While I wasn’t surprised, I was full of grief and joy. There is a funny thing about these two emotions. In my experience, in situations like this, they are not twins.
They are like two different kinds of athletes. Grief is like a sprinter, and joy is like an endurance runner. Grief comes out fast and furious, but it doesn’t have staying power. Joy on the other hand comes on steady, and just keeps going and going. Eventually it outpaces the grief, and all that remains is joy.
Today I have joy. So, Rob thank you for your partnership and friendship in ministry. It was a joy. And now my joy goes with you as you continue to follow your purpose in the world.
Love, Grace, and Peace