Just a quick not on one of the big things that have changed for us - we decided to leave our old church. This was very difficult for us to do. We have been at one church for over 8 years - members for the past 7 years. We met at this church. Our kids were dedicated at the church. We know many people in the church and we have a great small group. The church has a pretty open and agreeable** theological stance, good leadership, good children's ministries, and lots of great ministries which help so many people. The church gives over 60% of their collected giving to ministries locally and across the globe and is almost debt free so they can give even more. It is a great church and we were comfortable there.
Why are we leaving? Because we are convinced that the Holy Spirit has been urging us to consistently for the past 12 months and maybe as many as 4 years ago. What are we hearing? "Leave what is comfortable. Seek a smaller discipleship oriented church. Find ways to better serve Me. Look to magnify Me to those I place in your path. Avoid consumerism and don't settle."
We blindly followed that and decided to leave our church over labor day weekend not knowing where we would go. We stopped going to that church completely. We were able to look at over 50 churches thanks to how people have put their beliefs and sermons online these days. That was great but it still was a difficult decision. Through online searching, we were able to compare our beliefs (and theology), look at church vision, and listen to sermons very quickly - and through that process we narrowed our church selection down to 3 churches. We went to the first one who was the front runner and it was clear we were in the right place. That place is Harvest Bible Chapel North Raleigh.
Interested in hearing more about Harvest? Check out the 9.19.2010 sermhere about the vision of Harvest. My favorite sermon thus far has been Mike's sermon on 10.3.2010 around Mark 10.
** So long as you don't have strong convictions that one specific theology MUST be preached