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Rob Bell Oozes III

July 6, 2007

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More from the Ooze interview with Rob Bell

We are sitting here in what was an old mall, built in the 70’s or 80’s. Most churches this size would be looking for property to build a large nice facility to house all these people. Any intentions to do anything like that?

(Bell laughs) We are trying to preach sermons to free up some seats. I don’t know, in one of the most dangerous and under resourced neighborhoods in our city there is a warehouse. I would love to move in there. I think there is somewhere we could go but we would want it to be shabbier than this.

Mars Hill meets in an old shopping mall that is pretty minimalist.  Think Apple store on a budget.   They have no sign. You have to want to find them.  You have to want to be there.  So as not to incriminate him I will just say that a friend and I were talking the other day about churches and their buildings and he said he has decided that for so many pastors it is all about the building.  Why do we feel the need for so much building?


So no intentions of the giant steeple anytime soon…

Oh I don’t know how you could ever do that and still have your soul. I guess some people do, God bless them, and that is on the record, but I don’t know how.

I am actually in a church where that is the focus. We are in a 13 million dollar facility where we still owe 8 million and we are about to cast a vision for another 4 million dollar addition. Honestly, it is the kind of thing that breaks my heart and it is one of the reasons I am at this conference.

(Bells leans down close to the recorder) 4 million dollars! Wow you could feed a lot of hungry people for that!

So,  do we give our “best” to God in the form of a building?  The temple was certainly extravagant.  I’ve blogged about that before.   And I grew up frequenting enough buildings that were on the far side of art that I really can’t imagine why all the aversion to windows and natural light came from.  It certainly wasn’t in anticipation of projectors.

The Catholic Church has a long tradition of extravagant buildings.  At their best they are meant to point you toward God through their beauty and the art they contain.  Also through their size and height taking your eye upward.

But what’s a person/ a church to do.  Mar’s Hill has gone counter cultural.  They meet in a donated browned out mall.  The church we attend meets in a old motorcycle dealership.  While others build new facilities costing millions of dollars.

For some churches I know that meeting in the space that no one else wants is not going to be acceptable.  But for one who had no home to lay his head, I am going to try to err on the side spending less on buildings and more on people.

Next my favorite part of the interview and the part that gets my blood pumping.  Why the controversy?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2007 11:46 am

    It’s still about your heart. In a lesson yesterday at Lipscomb, the speaker was talking about being embarrassed by all the things that we have (he was with someone from another country). The other person said, “Look at all the great things God is doing here.” I personally don’t care for the ‘monuments to man’ but if we’re using the things we have to glorify God… we’re doing what we’re told to do.

  2. July 6, 2007 8:01 pm

    Some people connect with God better with buildings that point them toward Him. Some people connect with God better outside, with no building to block Him from them. Some people can connect with God any time, anywhere.

    I want to be the third kind of people. I’ve got a long way to go.

  3. July 10, 2007 1:15 pm

    My response would be my latest blog entry.

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