I missed my flight! I was one minute too late, at 7:22 am when my flight had departed at 7:21 am. What are the odds. As I waited for an airline attendant to try and find a flight for me I looked around the airport, just killing time and there…to my right I saw someone that resembled Rob Bell. He made his way up to the security screening place and I thought there he goes. I was still waiting for the attendant as he slowly typed on his keyboard one key at a time and with too many milliseconds between each key stroke. I thought to myself, “My chance to meet Rob Bell is slipping away.” I finally got my new ticket and ran (as best I could I am still recovering from knee surgery it was probably more like a hobble) up the escalator to see if I could catch him, “because I knew exactly what to say?” and YES! I saw him still in line at the screening place. I thought it best not to approach him in the security line ‘awkward’. When I finally made it past the screening portal, I found him sitting on the floor below the “Flight Status Screen”. In his hands was a copy of The Reason for God a book by Timothy Keller.
I approached him and said, “Sorry for bothering you but, you are Rob Bell!” (in as unexcited a voice I could use).
“Yes” He responded as he shook my hand.
We spoke for while and what follows is what I walked away with from our conversation. Pastors you might like this.
On Becoming a Pastor/Preacher. I asked, “How or why Pastoring?” He answered, “I discovered preaching after college and it was something I could give my life to.”
On Preparing his Messages. I asked, “How do you prepare for your messages (if you have ever heard his sermons he is quite possibly the best communicator for our generation, he has even been called the next Billy Graham)? He said, “I work months ahead of time.” Which might not seem like a new answer. But if any of you are like me and are preaching on a weekly basis, working months ahead isn’t as easy as it sounds. He also added that he reads tons of commentary’s and other books to help flesh out the text. I asked if he used notes, he said NO. He said that when he steps up to preach, he wants the freedom, so that the text flows.
On What he Preaches. He doesn’t preach for show. I asked if he uses notes and he said no “because the message is a part of me”. So when he delivers his message he doesn’t just talk about what others have said about the text (although he does reference others)but rather how the text has come alive in his life. He further implied that if you are looking for you next point in the message it has not become a part of you. So we might even be able to say that he actually believes what he preaches.
On His Critics. I asked how he deals with his critics or criticism. He responded by saying, “I don’t google myself.” He said if you listen to all of the criticism it will kill you. He continued to say that, you need to surround yourself with people that love you and who will tell you when you are off (paraphrase).
Meeting Rob Bell made up for missing my flight. Who news who I will meet next. Erwin McManus?