If you’ve not heard of Rob Bell, you should get to know this guy. Whether you’re on the same page with him theologically or not, he is a leader for our generation worth knowing about. He thinks outside the box and helps others to do the same, especially through his wildly popular small group video series, Nooma.
I had the privilege of hearing Rob at Catalyst this past week. Did I agree with everything he said? No. But there was predominantly more that I did agree with than that I didn’t. (on a side note, thinking about criticism…don’t criticize somebody until you’ve read their books firsthand, or heard them speak for yourself…don’t just take another blogger/writer/pastor’s critique of the person…do the work yourself, then you can criticize)
I’ll spare you all of the notes from his sermon, but suffice it to say that Rob was on point. His, “Is Bigger Better?” was exactly what pastors needed to hear. Citing John 6:22-26, 60-71, Bell says, “Sometimes the crowd thins and the people leave.” Jesus there corrected misconstrued ideas, and when he did, people deserted him. They deserted Jesus, and we should know that some will desert us if we remain faithful to the Gospel message. Bell told a story about how, just a few days before, he was talking with a pastor of a smaller church. This pastor was lamenting his situation, and saying that he couldn’t wait until he made it big, and God blessed him with a bigger church, because then he would have a legitimate ministry. His flock of 300 people wasn’t too big of a deal…he was waiting for his big break. Bell then made this statement,
And I responded with, as the French say, “WTF?”
The audience gasped. Some chuckled. He had captivated everyone (though he hadn’t said the curse word…ok, if you don’t know what I mean, just take a stab at what cuss word starts with “F” and you’re probably right). Rob had gotten away with referencing a highly charged, highly offensive cuss word while preaching to 12,000 pastors. Bell couldn’t believe that this pastor did not view his current ministry as valid, or that those 300 people were somehow less important than the big crowds.
If there is ever a time to cuss, it’s right there.
No matter the size of your ministry, God has called you to those people! Whether you’re leading a small group of 3, a church of 300, or speaking to 300,000, you are called to shepherd those in your flock.
What are you more offended by, the fact that Rob Bell used a reference to a cuss word, or the fact that the other pastor completely blew off his people, the role that God had called him to, and the ministry that He had equipped him for?