Are you the next Rob Bell

Are you the next Rob Bell


The Vanderbloemen Search Group is thrilled to partner with the leadership of Mars Hill Bible Church to find a full-time Teaching Pastor to join their community in Grandville, Michigan.

With the transition of founding pastor Rob Bell this January, Mars Hill is seeking a full-time teaching pastor to join in the ongoing mission and program of Mars Hill. This person will teach 35 – 40 weekends per year and work collaboratively with the Ministry Leadership Team. The Teaching Pastor will engage actively with the Mars Hill community and participate fully in the ministry of Mars Hill.

The Teaching Pastor will be an exceptionally compelling, creative communicator of the Scriptures in ways that eliminate hurdles to Christ all the while challenging the thinking of the community. Mars Hill embraces a conversational, expository style of teaching that embraces historical context, and careful explanation of the original languages in a style that engages questions.

West Michigan and the Grand Rapids area is known for its philanthropy, strong community values and as an ideal place to raise a family with great schools and neighborhoods with a low cost of housing and living. Additionally, with access to many arts, festivals, restaurants, area skiing and snowboarding as well as the gorgeous Lake Michigan beaches, there are many activities during all four seasons to enjoy

Thanks to Patheos where I saw this posted.

3 observations

1. It’s interesting that they are advertising

I thought that Rob had planned for Shane Hipps would be his successor – Shane arrived to be a teaching pastor before Rob left for California. We did a Skype live link with Shane for one of our DIGIMISSION events and he spoke about his book Flickering Pixels. I would have thought that for a church of Mars Hill size they would have had someone in mind rather than going through the rather anonymous search committee model. But perhaps there’s things about American employment law that I don’t understand.STOP PRESS – Thanks to @vickybeeching just sent me this link from Shane. Kind of puts a new spin on it – the teaching pastor is not leading the church – the executive director will be, that’s pretty weird. Seems like Shane was put in a really difficult position.

2. Sometimes a Job Spec says a lot about a church

I have never been to Mars Hill. I have only listened into many many of Rob Bell’s sermons and quite a few of Shane’s too. But I was intrigued that in a short job spec this statement was included “The Teaching Pastor will engage actively with the Mars Hill community.” Again, I am no expert on American large churches, but I would have thought this was given for a pastor in a church. You wouldn’t expect someone to just airdrop in for the sunday sermon? Surely the term pastor is indicative of involvement in the life of the church?

3. Why do they feel the need to “sell” West Michigan?

In a church as significant as Mars Hill, I am really surprised to see such a hard sell on West Michigan? It kind of sounds a little desperate that you need to call a prospective minister to teach the Bible in your church and you need to add in that there’s great opportunities to Snowboard near by? Again maybe this is standard practice and I am just out of touch with the US job scene and I have never been to West Michigan – but it kind of underestimates the privilege of the call to preach the Bible to a congregation.

Pray for Mars Hill

Whatever the intricacies of this job spec, let’s pray for the church as it sounds like its been through a lot of transitions recently. Rob’s ministry from what I have seen helped a lot of young adults connect with God through his passion for teaching the Bible in fresh and innovative ways. Rob’s ministry has blessed so many – this will be a very difficult job to do. May God send the right woman or man to fill this role . If you think it’s you – apply here.


7 thoughts on “Are you the next Rob Bell

  1. Jon Kuhrt says:

    Hi Krish,

    yes its interesting to see this too and just to comment on your obersvation about the pastor’s engagement in the community of the church…

    Myself and Adam Bonner went out to do 2 days of work with Mars Hill staff team in June 2010 and the comment about engaging with the Mars Hill community makes sense in that it was a clear tension about how they hold together the sheer creativity and profile of Rob Bell’s ministry and the day to day reality of a church’s daily life. In many ways they were amazingly open with us – allowing us to question, probe and annoy them about the integration of the teaching with the actual way the community operates. We left with massive admiration for their creativity, openness and passion to connect the message of Jesus in relevant ways. The context is very conservative and even to attend Mars Hill can mean hassle for people from Christian families in a way very different to anywhere in the UK.

    The key question for me is – are you gonna throw your hat in the ring? Take it from me and Adam – they love the Brits over there!


  2. I’ve seen a couple of churches smaller than Mars Hill try something like this. It seems to me problematic for several reasons:

    1. Theologically. Mars Hill don’t have to share my prejudices but if the role of the key leader is teaching and directing the affairs of the church it is hard to split the job in two. Ministry is primarily a question of ontology not function.

    2. As a team leader I’m not sure how I would lead the church except by doing a larger share of the preaching and teaching. It is the way you cast vision and give direction to the church; by sharing your understanding of God and what God’s spirit is saying through the exposition of Scripture.

    3. Being a teaching pastor who does the majority of the preaching will be a real test of character for everyone in those key roles. My experience of church leadership is that there are enough tests of competence, call and character without creating additional ones.

  3. tallandrew says:

    That is a very humble letter by shane. It takes a lot of guts to pass up a prestigious role even if you know you are not the right shape for it.

  4. krishkandiah says:

    very impressive letter isn’t it

  5. lauri says:

    Krish I think you might be reading too much into the add. It’s probably written up pro forma by that search group…

  6. Shae says:

    This is the first blog I’ve read by you, I’ve enjoyed reading about your take on the Rob Bell Job Advert.

    It is traditional here, as in the UK, to have the Sr. Pastor be the head of the church- however, like Rob Bell, I’d say Mars Hill probably doesn’t operate under ‘traditional.’ While our church does have one Sr. Pastor, it is primarily run by three Pastors and the Elder board. Maybe it works for them to have someone run the ‘day to day’ operations and vision and have someone who is a gifted teacher preach on Sundays, everyones gifts are different. I think it’s creative not to expect one church leader to be a dynamic speaker, and pastoral, and a strong leader and a myriad of other things that Sr. Pastors/Vicars end up being expected to be.

    As for Western Michigan, it does need the hard sell. Michigan is a lovely state but it is full of poverty, not a lot of growth/industry now and the winters are horrific.

    Thanks for a great thoughtful post!

    1. krishkandiah says:

      Thank you for your comments I agree with you that we need plurality in leadership. Michigan sounds like a lovely place to me. Praying that you find the right person for the job. Thanks for taking the time to post.

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