Rob Bell Is Leaving The Megachurch He Founded

09.27.11 | Sarah Harnisch

   Pastor and author Rob Bell announced that he is leaving the megachurch he and his wife founded 12 years ago in Grandville, Michigan.  Bell says his reason for leaving Mars Hill Church is to focus on a broader audience. He will relocate to Los Angeles and will be doing book tours. Bell's latest book, "Love Wins," ignited a controversy over a discussion about heaven, hell, and the nature of salvation. Bell's resignation makes him the latest in a string a celebrity pastors who have said goodbye to church life. "A New Kind of Christianity" author Brian McLaren, "Crazy Love" author Francis Chan, "Deep Church" author Jim Belcher and the popular British Bible scholar N.T. Wright have all left their church leadership positions in recent years. Megachurch Pastor Rick Warren posted a responce to Bell's departure on Twitter. He said "speaking tours feed the ego-- it's all applause and no responsibility. It's an unreal world. A church gives accountability and validity."

   Rick Christian, president of Alive Communications, a Colorado Springs, Colorado, a literary agency that represents megachurch pastors says it's not uncommon for megachurch pastors to leave their flock. He said at a certain point, some feel more like a CEO than a shepherd. Christian said "seasons can change; callings can change. But if you're called to church ministry, make sure you're called out for all the right reasons."