Several months after rocking the Christian community with his controversial views on the hell, pastor and author Rob Bell says he is embarking on a new spiritual "calling."
Bell, author of the book "Love Wins," has decided to join forces with "Lost" co-creator Carlton Cuse to produce a new television drama called "Stronger."
News of Bell's new spiritual endeavor comes in the wake of his resignation from Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich.
"Feeling the call from God to pursue a growing number of strategic opportunities, our founding pastor Rob Bell has decided to leave Mars Hill in order to devote his full energy to sharing the message of God's love with a broader audience," Mars Hill officials announced Thursday in a statement on the church's website.
Unlike his book, which questions traditional theological views on heaven and hell, "Stronger" merely carries spiritual overtones and is reportedly based loosely on Bell's life.
The plot revolves around Tom Stronger, a musician who eventually becomes a benefactor and spiritual guide.
"There's also expected to be a narrative twist to the project that will make it a bit unconventional, but for now, that detail is being kept secret (this show is from a 'Lost-ie' after all)," New York Vulture magazine's Josef Adalian writes.
The 41-year-old is expected to remain with the church until December. During that time he'll be teaching a series on the book of Acts.
On Sunday Bell attempted to comfort members of his congregation who appeared distressed by news of his departure, telling them "you're going to be fine."
Bell and his wife Kristen founded the now 7,000-member megachurch 12 years ago.
"We have always understood, encouraged, and appreciated the variety of avenues in which Rob's voice and the message of God's tremendous love has traveled over the past 12 years," church officials said in statement.
"And we are happy and hopeful that as Rob and Kristen venture ahead, they will find increasing opportunity to extend the heartbeat of that message to our world in new and creative ways. ..." they said.
--Published Sept. 30, 2011.