All preachers are artists at some level or another. The study and communication technique that come together in crafting a sermon (on a good day) can be a thing of beauty. Today I had the chance to meet the DaVinci of my generation, Rob Bell.
Rob preached 1 1/2 hours from memory. He subtly yet effectively choreographed his movements. And when he was referencing a story from a book about a primitive subSaharan tribe, I turned to my wife and said "man, he must read all the time." At one point the thought, "why do I waste my time preaching every week when people could listen to this guy?" But right after it was over, a preacher friend of mine for whom I have a lot of respect, Bob Cave, came up to me and said, "we don't all have to be Rob Bell." I guess me thinking "what's the point" would be like my 7th grade QB, Bradly Allen, deciding since he wasn't Bret Favre, the team didn't need him. We're called to grow into our best in the setting God has placed us.
When I got a minute to talk with Rob after the event, I thanked him for all he does. I told him that I'm a church planter and that my wife says my preaching has really improved since I started listening to his podcasts (along with Mark Driscoll, but I left that out). What I meant was that listening to a great communicator has sharpened my own communication. Erin told me however, "sounds like you just steal all his stuff." I should've just gotten my copy of Velvet Elvis signed, taken the picture with him and kept my mouth shut.
In the minute I interacted with Rob, he seemed to be just as personable in person as he seems while preaching. Although tickets were being scalped outside the door, he seems to be much closer to a pastor than a rock star.
I'm sure my good friend David Brush will post a deep theological review of the message.
As soon as I wrote this, I checked David's blog and sure enough, he'd already posted.
The next day after the event, Russ Koelzer told me the proceeds of Rob's speaking tour are going to an organization that provide no-interest micro loans to help people in impovrished countries start businesses. What a shocker...