Still Haven’t Found What You Are Looking For

“I wish I could find a small but faithful church to attend.  I’d leave the HBF [Harvest Bible Fellowship] in a flash. So tired of being marketed to as if I were a consumer and the church was Madison Ave.”

This comment, which was recently posted on BSI, taps into a core problem faced by many Evangelicals today.  And lest the reader wonder, this is not an isolated situation.  Over the past several months, Scott and I have been asked on numerous occasions where we attend church and why.  Clearly, many within the body are struggling to find a faithful church home; and thus, we post this today in the hopes of helping anyone who is currently searching.  While we cannot tell you where to go, we can tell you where we have planted our roots.

In the spring of 2010, my family (and Scott’s family as well) left Harvest Bible Chapel. Since that time, we have been to numerous churches in the area; and I have spent countless hours reading, praying and thinking about the nature of the local church.  Interestingly enough, while Scott and I have developed different convictions about the local church and what worship should look like, we have both landed at the same house of worship: Village Church of Barrington (VCB), which is pastored by David Jones.

To be clear, the Bible does not give us much in the way of specific direction for the life of the Church (hymns, contemporary songs, polity, types of liturgy, etc.).  However. it is explicitly clear on the types of people that should lead the Church.  First Timothy 3:1-13 says almost nothing about giftedness, but it speaks overwhelming about the character of the people that lead the Church.  Coming out of Harvest, one of our top concerns was the character of the leadership.  We are deeply impressed with David Jones.   While he is not a perfect man, he models Christ in a way that helps us follow Christ faithfully.

Moreover, David Jones embodies a cross-shaped, Kingdom driven model of leadership, over and against our culture’s hierarchical, power driven model of leadership.  Leaders act and decide; there is no argument about that.  However, leaders listen and engage the people with humility.  I personally have seen this in action at VCB, and I was humbled.

David Jones is also a very faithful and skilled exegete of Scripture.  The task of the preacher/teacher is to make known the Word of God to the people.  It is not to make them feel entertained, pumped up or excited.  The exegete’s job is to make the meaning of scripture clear.  It is not to tell the people what you think the text means.  The preacher/teacher’s job is to study the text, what the Church has said about the text at various times, and to explain that meaning to the people with clarity.   David Jones does this well; and that should come as no surprise.  In addition to serving as James MacDonald’s personal research assistant at Harvest Bible Chapel, David was also charged with the task of training the pastors of the Harvest Bible Fellowship.

In addition to his exegetical skills, David Jones is also an excellent counselor. He appears to genuinely care about the people of God.  Both Scott and I have turned to him to think and talk through a number of issues; and he has always made the time to be of help.  Take for instance the time when Scott unexpectedly found himself dealing with a very tragic death.  With no warning and with little to no prior relationship, he was able to walk right into David’s office and pour out his heart.  This is what I mean when I say that David is an excellent counselor.  Ministry doesn’t happen on a schedule; and it doesn’t happen only with people that you personally know.  But David understands this, and in a time of crisis, he served Scott in a way that he will never personally forget.

Having said all of this, a church should never be evaluated solely on the gifts of the Senior Pastor.  The church is about the life of the body.  It’s about the community of believers being shaped by the contours of the cross.  In that regard, the people at VCB seem to be students of Scripture; and there is a culture within that church that cares deeply about theology. They have a robust Sunday School program, which utilizes both lay teachers within the church as well as biblical and theological scholars that teach at seminaries and Christian colleges.

Beyond that, it would also appear that, true to their denominational roots, the Village Church of Barrington is committed to planting churches.  So rather than following in the footsteps of the culturally-driven church growth movement, VCB has elected to impose limits on the size of its own body.  In other words, if God graciously elects to grow the church, the leadership of VCB are committed to sending out members of the congregation to plant new, autonomous churches that could better serve the needs of their local communities.

Finally, it should be noted that VCB gives between 23 – 25% of its tithe to missions, outside of its own walls.  That is a very significant amount of giving for any church to undertake, but VCB has been doing that kind of Kingdom (not all about us) giving for sometime now.  If you want to see what people or institutions love. one way to go about it is to look at where they spend their money.  Judging them by their checkbook, VCB loves the Kingdom and not just their local church.

 
For all these reasons, and for reasons we are still discovering as we plug into this local community of believers, VCB has become our new home.  And both Scott and I would recommend it to anyone who is currently looking for a church home.

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54 Responses to Still Haven’t Found What You Are Looking For

  1. TruthSeeker says:

    I found one. My congregation is small, but in
    Love with God. We don’t have set of fundamental beliefs, except that we Follow Yashua and gather for worship and fellowship on God’s Holy Day – Sabbath, no membership BS. We adhere to God’s commandments. We do not
    Agree on everything and differences in opinion do not devide us. We can challenge our two speakers and we are engaged in biblical discussions. Every Sabbath is a delight. I have been blessed beyond anybody’s imagination. I feel privileged to come out of Her.

  2. TruthSeeker says:

    Rayan M.Mahoey, please don’t get offended,
    But the term tithe can only be applied to Levitical priesthood. Tithes are not money, tithe is produce and only. Farmers are only people who were required to pay tithe to the Levites who had no land of their own and fed themselves and their families off of tithes. They could however exchange tithes for Money. Tithes were never money. Your pastor has no right to collect tithes, because it is not money, nor is he a descendant of Aaaron family. Offerings is the proper term for collecting money. But even money should be used only if pastor has a full time job at his congregation, building maintenance expenses and for the need of orphans, widows, poor people.

    • Not offended. I don’t agree with standard evangelical teaching on tithes. It does not represent good exegesis of scripture, as you pointed out. I have for some time thought about writing a piece on what scripture actually says about the tithe, but lack of time and other priorities have kept me from doing so. In this post I was merely using the language of our audience. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Josh says:

    all the unneeded side-swipes at Harvest aside, I am thankful for you both that you have found a church where you are flourishing.

    Well I disagree with the the tenor and conclusions you draw about James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel, sounds like you have found a church that is very honoring to God.

    Does this now explicit association you have with VCB mean they endorse what you have said/continue to say about Harvest?

    • Thanks Josh. BTW I was not trying to swipe at HBC, but in light of all we have written that was a reasonable interpretation.

    • Josh … Might I offer a simple counter-question for you to consider. Does your willigness to comment on this blog carry with it either the implicit or explicit endorsement of HBC leadership? I suspect, based upon Jeff Donaldson’s sermon earlier this year, that it does not. Therefore, why ask whether VCB endorses what we have said? Just like you, Ryan and I are two autonomous individuals that are morally responsible for our own actions. And as two former attendees of HBC, we have spoken up, from time to time, based upon our concerns. Our words belong to no one, but us.

    • Chris Trees says:

      Josh,

      Despite the familiarity with HBC that many who post here may enjoy; Harvest isn’t the pole star around which all conversations need revolve. Big as it may be, HBC’s gravity isn’t yet that great. Positive comments about VBC or any other church body hopefully don’t suggest negative comparisons or “side-swipes” at Harvest unless one chooses to make them such.

      The last time I checked, this blog isn’t supposed to be a winner take all contest between churches. Instead we are to rejoice at the successes of others as if they were our own. As it says in 1 Cor. 12:26; ” if one member is honored, all rejoice together”.

      Chris Trees

      • Josh says:

        ‘Coming out of Harvest, one of our top concerns was the character of the leadership.’ — a sideswipe.

        You tagged the post with ‘Church and Culture, Harvest Bible Chapel and tagged David Jones, Harvest Bible Chapel, Harvest Bible Fellowship, HBC, HBF, James MacDonald, pastor, VCB, ‘Village Church of Barrington. ‘

        So friends, yes this was a compare and contrast.

        • Stauron3n1 says:

          As Chris said, you can read into these posts whatever you choose, but perhaps you’d find it helpful to consider that in the wider evangelical world, there are lots of folks who have had negative experiences in other churches, but who aren’t familiar with HBC or James MacDonald; who’ve never attended HBC, never read any of Pastor MacDonald’s books or blogs, listened to WITW and in fact, don’t even suspect that any of them exists.

          Like Ryan, I’m not saying that VCB is a perfect church, or that HBC has or doesn’t have some problems of its own, or that because of past posts there isn’t an historic context that all posts here unavoidably share, but in this case Ryan seemed to be careful to describe the one without making a direct or implied comparison to the other.

          I’ve noticed that neither Ryan nor Scott (or I for that matter) has ever been stealthly about expressing opinions about some aspects of HBC, so why try to establish a contextual connection in this case where it’s quite possible that none was deliberately expressed nor implied.

          All this to say, every once in a while, while reading these posts, I find it can be charitable and healthy to grant the benefit of the doubt to the authors when the topic isn’t specifically about HBC regardless of what the “tags” may list.

        • The tag simply allows those who have followed the HBC posts to find all the material in one spot in the future, and if Williow Creek, Chapel or other church members start asking about where to go to church after leaving then I’ll happily add those other names to the tag as well. So, as I said it was not intended as a sideswipe, but it is reasonable to interpret it as such, if you must, in light of previous postings.

          The reference to “coming out of Harvest” was informative for the audience in case they are not aware that we have experienced the difficulties of exodus as well. So, not intended as a sideswipe but a narrative connection of our experience to others, but it is reasonable to interpret it as such, if you must, in light of previous postings.

  4. Stauron3n1 says:

    Many of us have attended churches that have lost the vision and “first love” so clearly demonstrated at VBC, and departed sadly with feelings of confusion, disillusionment, and even cynicism that healthy churches still exist and can be found.

    The truth is that there are many, vital, God centered, Gospel driven bodies; it just that in order to find them, we need to set aside some of our “consumerism” that compels us to seek the place with the most charismatic and dynamic preacher, the hottest worship band, a stable of boutique ministries designed to cater to every demographic and “ministry” fad and an unquenchable thirst for more of everything and deceives us to believe that “settling” for anything less makes one a spiritual loser.

    It’s God’s own grace that we who have moved on from “lost churches” are to quote Meredith Wilson; “sadder but wiser” and consequently more appreciative and grateful when we discover and join with a church like VCB.

    While my wife and I are not attenders at VCB, we are familiar enough with the church body, leadership and David and Helen Jones to unreservedly stand behind Ryan’s and Scott’s assessment of this body of believers.

    It may seem to some, that Ryan is simply “gushing” about VCB’s best features, but in reality he’s actually pointing the way to many other churches that while different in the details, share the same vision and philosophy of ministry as VCB.

    Nil desperandum. Despite the assertions of some, the age of the small church hasn’t ended and the Multi-Site, International Mega Church is not the new ecclesiological paradigm and God isn’t disappointed in you for choosing to worship in a smaller local body.

    • Amen! And I never use that word.

    • Stauron3n1 … Thank you for understanding what we have tried to say in this post. This is not about VCB or any other particular church. This is merely a response to the frustration that has been expressed both privately and publicly to Ryan and myself. People are wondering how to find a faithful local body. And as we both believe that we have found one in VCB, we tried to answer their questions by pointing them not just to a church, but to a set of criteria that we used in finding a church. That way, if VCB isn’t the place for them, they might have a reasonable set of criteria to use in their search for a different church home.

  5. Jen Grabsky says:

    I have to agree with everything Ryan said here about VCB and Pastor David Jones. He has a great depth of understanding of God’s Word and his sermons make me want to develope a more intimate relationship with God. I have also found him to be kind and compassionate.

    As for Josh’s comment, VCB doesn’t control it’s people, so it’s a wrong assumption to say that because Ryan goes to VCB then David Jones must agree with everything said here. David Jones has never made a public statement about Harvest so we don’t know what his opinion is.

    • Thanks. Good points. VCB and Jones had no idea this post was coming. I didn’t ask him before hand because he may have been very uncomfortable with being held up in public like this and may have asked me politely not to. Sorry DJ.

      Also, VCB is not about him. He, and has, pointed to the strong community he was blessed to join. My point was not to elevate a man, but to elevate some principles to keep in front of you as you search. VCB fits many of these principles.

      • Ryan, can you clarify what you meant in the second paragraph? Thanks.

        • What I meant to say is that VCB was a good church before DJ, and I suspect it will be when he is gone. The leadership of the church is not built entirely around him as a singular individual. Certainly, as the senior pastor, he has influence, but that church is hardly his in the same way numerous megachurches are completely centered around one, head pastor. I did not want people to get the idea that VCB as a culture is all about him simply because we mentioned him as a strength of that church. At the same time, he has been positively influential during his brief tenure.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Ahem.

      • Rebecca says:

        Ahem… I figured you’d know what I’d suggest for a church home.

        • Thought about heading East. There is much there worth considering.

          • Stauron3n1 says:

            Head East? That was a pretty good band before your time. The lead singer became a believer who became the lead singer of the Christian band Petra for about 20 years.

            Aw nuts! Now I’ve given away my age!

          • Rebecca says:

            I left the Evangelical church in 2004. I have not regretted it, nor have I looked back. It is hard, though, to get the Western mind to understand submission. We don’t do it well. But that is what true faith is. (Micah 6:8)

        • Forgive me. A sad attempt at a joke. When tone is missing, all that’s left are the words on the page.

          All that to say, I knew what you meant. For me, the move to the East would be problematic in the sense that salvation is largely influenced by the theology of theosis. And while I tend to believe that there is something there, I think one is hard pressed to suggest that this is a dominant theme in Paul’s writings. As such, I don’t think it should be a dominant way that a church understands salvation. Is that fair?

          • Rebecca says:

            My browser ate my earlier response…

            Sorry I didn’t catch the joke. Digital communication is deficient in its ability to adequately convey humor unless it’s just snark.

            Here’s the short of it, for me. I understand what you are saying. (Obviously, being Eastern Orthodox, I don’t agree) Looking at your subsequent post re: the Canon, I would post the following there as well…

            Protestants screen the church through the Bible. Orthodox Christians screen the Bible through the Church. The Bible exists because of the Holy Tradition of ancient Christianity as handed down and handed down and defined at the Councils and handed down, etc. We do not expect the Bible to explain the Church. We believe the Church explains the Bible and all that is in it is best understood through the lens of Holy Tradition, of which Scripture (including the other OT books) is a part.

            Does that make sense?

  7. Dan McGhee says:

    David Jones is good people. BTW, I thought that VCB stood for “Vertical Church Band.” lol.

  8. Deb says:

    Thank-you for writing about finding a good church, it’s time to get serious about the craziness in the evangelical church. I note that your thoughts included the pastor as a shepherd/leader, but not necessarily the personality or “star of a show”. I think being a shepherd to a church body helps God work with him and keeps the leader humble. It’s good to know your pastor’s lifestyle and for your pastor to know yours too. The strongest most well-known person in this type of church is the Lord, not a man. Please keep these thoughts in mind as you search for a church.

    A contrast would be the world’s business model with a leader/speaker who is capable of stealing the sheep to grow his fold (by various methods – sheep are dumb!), shearing the sheep (getting his money’s worth out of them), then eating the sheep to fill his belly. It’s business! So sheep are replaceable by new sheep – the gate is always open. Worst of all the sheep in this fold never know who’s leading them; they are just blindly following the leader/speaker. This is a sad church model that has grown too easily in America. Dumb Sheep! So please listen to their advice and run from the leader/speaker consumer church model. Don’t be fooled by any charismatic leader/speaker.

    Didn’t Jesus talk about our need for the “Good Shepherd?”

    So let’s agree that we need to let go of the worldly consumer based thinking in church and open our eyes to church that’s God’s truth seeking in biblically based ways.

    Please pray for us sheep!

  9. follower of Christ says:

    “This comment, which was recently posted on BSI…” What is BSI please?

    I have heard great things from others about VCB, too bad it is far from where we live. I don’t want to commute to church. I think we really lose out when our church is not local. The relationships you form are with people who live 45 minutes away. Hard to “Do life together”. Can’t drop by for a cup of coffee or a bible study. One thing that Catholic churches have that I admire are parishes. They really do assist in forming community.

    • Agreed. I am Anglican at heart, but they are too far for us to really be in community with. Character, community and Christ trump worship style, polity and the like.

      • Kevin W. says:

        As I have said in a previous post, I was in classes that David Jones taught when he was at Harvest. He is a great teacher and a terrific pastor. I am thinking that we will go to his church as an alternative to Harvest but what I am really looking for is a confessional church. As I delve more into church history, I find myself longing to belong to a church that is historical and confessional and the people know what they believe and why they believe it.

        • I hear you. I would put myself in an Anglican church (ACNA) without hesitation, and we found a good one in Wheaton (actually there are several). But doing life with the body, as a body is critical, and Wheaton was just too far for us.

          Presbyterian PCA has a church finder on their web site, and the Anglican (ACNA) has one too. Just google them, and you should be able to find it.

          Having said that, evangelical churches need confessional people too, and maybe you can be a small voice in a place as a reminder that here and today is not all that there is, was or will be.

  10. follower of Christ says:

    oh!! I beg your pardon!! BSI…Blood Stained Ink. Of course!

  11. In wrath remember mercy says:

    I have tremendous respect for David Jones and have heard wonderful things about VCB. Just a word of caution for you and other VCB attenders to consider: A godly friend of mine who used to attend HBC and now attends VCB recently observed the following about the climate they discovered there.

    “We did not realize that we would be coming into a hornets nest of people who are mad at James for one reason or another. I am not an idiot, I know James has a very strong and forceful personality but I am getting tired of all the James bashing, especially on the internet when James has no recourse to defend himself. All it does is continue to fan the flame of anger toward him, does not resolve anything and is not biblical. At some point, people who leave HBCRM have to move on emotionally and give their hurts to God and pray for James. We serve a big God, He will deal with James Himself if James does not listen to the rebuke of his elders and friends, etc.”

    What a shame it would be if the genuine spiritual strengths of the community at VCB were spoiled by a spirit of gossip, slander, bitterness, or prideful judgment being fanned into flame among the congregation.

    I do not need a response to my comments… I just ask that you would prayerfully consider the damaging effect you may be having upon the Body of Christ there—even if done with the best of intentions or with some measure of legitimate observation and concern.

    • Chris Trees says:

      Dear Wrath,

      One more small point; The Body of Christ never benefits from hiding or refusing to speak of “blemishes’ that need to be brought to light and corrected but, the Church has historically and repeatedly been degraded, defamed and humilated by attempts to keep sinful things hidden.

      Paul in Ephesians 5:11 says ” Take no part in unfruitful works of darkness, but instead EXPOSE them”. Paul is speaking TO THE CHURCH about “keeping her skirts clean” and to no one else. It’s our job. It’s not a popular job, and it’s awfully messy and seldom will gratitude be expressed for the effort, but it’s our job and no one else’s to do.

      CT

    • CarolM says:

      “A godly friend of mine who used to attend HBC and now attends VCB recently observed the following about the climate they discovered there.”

      Wow! Heresay? I am a member of VCB and believe me we have other things to talk about than James!

      I take great offense by your comment “a hornets nest of people.” You are the one slandering and gossiping. Shame on you!

  12. Debra says:

    While everyone is enjoying the merits of DJ, I would like to say, “Amen.”

    He was my first and mostly, only, biblical counselor when we first started leading small groups. We had a number of doctrinal fine points where we varied from the beliefs at HBC and I turned to him quite a few times. My spirit was always lifted and I felt my faith deepened with each conversation. We too would consider VCB except for the distance. I am absolutely certain that we would know more people at VCB than HBCRM, since our friends have moved to Elgin or left the church.

    One more thing regarding DJ pedigree…..I am uncertain of the correct terms and details, so jump in for the detail corrections, but DJ did translations for the ESV for a book or chapter or two and then served on the overseeing committee for compilation/editing, I think. You have to be an intellectual heavy hitter I am sure to have that kind of responsibility. I was ALWAYS awed at the way he brought the stories of the bible to life when he was teaching. I think we took every single one of his classes at HBC. It was a very sad day when we returned from Asia to find he was at VCB. So glad that his ministry is so strong and impactful (is that a word?).

    Ryan, I am very intrigued about your beliefs/study on tithes and I have been meaning to goad you into taking on new/old earth and which day is the Sabbath? Might any of those be topics in the near future?

  13. Chris Trees says:

    In wrath remember mercy,

    Before you too harshly criticize or condemn those who may now attend VBC for sometimes expressing their negative feelings about HBC, you may wish to consider the depth of the pain many of these people feel. Feelings of betrayal by spiritual leaders is perhaps second only to feelings of betrayal by a spouse or parent and often understandably, albeit, not justifiably give rise to verbal expressions of these feelings.

    It’s tempting to say, forgive and move on, but forgiving in most situations isn’t instantaneous but, requires time and prayer for the process to be complete. Forgiving in this context is can be even more difficult and is complicated by the damaged relationship between the injured saint and the church.

    In the case of those who came to VBC from Harvest, in large measure, they had nowhere and no one safe at HBC where and to whom they could express their concerns, frustrations and pain, and they departed with “baggage” filled with unresolved “issues” and a genuine need to be heard by their brothers and sisters in Christ.

    I’m imagining that you’ve been blessed and have never experienced this sort of thing. So, it’s perhaps difficult, if not impossible for you to adequately empathize with them. Please take it from one of many who have been down this particular road; healing from deep wounds of this type can be a messy business, that requires a great measure of patience with, and forbearance for the “wounded”.

    So, if you have been blessed in this way, please don’t condemn VBC for the wounds of those who have sought sanctuary there. VBC is simply doing what it’s supposed to do; continuing Christ’s work “to bind up the brokenhearted”. Someday, perhaps, you too may want to join them and help out.

    • In wrath remember mercy says:

      Chris, truly my words were not meant as harsh criticism or condemnation—only earnest, broken-hearted appeal. I do indeed know something personally about coping with these kinds of wounds… and I know that healing never comes through bitterness, venting, slander. Yes, in personal times of prayer with a friend or intensive “heart surgery” in a private counseling session, the soul may be bared and the ugly emotions unloaded… but if a newcomer to VCB is struck by the vitriol there against HBC and James, certainly something is seriously wrong. I am confident David and others are seeking to shepherd and call others to the healing that comes through forgiveness. Peace to you.

      • Chris Trees says:

        Dear Wrath,

        Apart from all that has already been expressed; during my visits to VBC and conversations with old friends who now attend VBC I’ve not witnessed the “vitriol” that you’ve mentioned, nor even heard anyone mention anything of the sort. What I have seen is people who have settled into VBC and are living in the present with hope for the future and not focused on the past, but very appreciative of all that VBC represents.

        Also, it doesn’t follow that because someone left HBC and now attends VBC that by necessity they must have strong negative feelings about HBC. VBC is a wonderful church on its own merits and doesn’t need a negative comparison with another church to make it appear attractive to someone seeking a new church family.

        I’ll concede that there are doubtless a number of former “harvesters” at VBC with some strong opinions about HBC that contributed to their move from HBC to VBC and while I certainly haven’t spoken to all of them, if the “vitriol” was as widespread as you’ve made it sound I’d expect it to be more visible.

        As I’ve made clear, I don’t attend VBC, so I don’t have a “dog in this race”, but it seems to me that in this instance, painting VBC with too broad a brush may be a little unfair to everyone there. Your posts suggest to me that you’re a fair minded person so all I’d ask you to take another look at the situation and see if perhaps your description may have been worded a little too strongly.

        In Him

  14. Z. B. says:

    Wow, a plug for your church? This was the big announcement? I guess I should have known – maybe? I don’t know… I’m feeling confused. But let’s assume for a minute that you make some good points. What happens if and when God decides to bless your church and it gets to be as big as Harvest, and everyone wants alone time with the pastor? What happens when hundreds of different members have a different idea/vision of how to handle an issue or which direction to take? Then what? Don’t bother winding your brain up, I’ll just tell you what happens… some people get mad because not everyone can get what they want. Yes, even if you take it to a legitimate vote! Sorry little ones… that’s just the way it is! And instead of bashing and whining and taking your ball and going home, you should feel blessed to have been a part of it. Do you not remember seeing hundreds or even thousands saved? But now that you have left, good riddance, but you should count yourselves blessed if you ever find yourself and your church in the situation of too many members! And what will happen, when your pastors’ only way to satisfy everyone is to clone himself? Because he must, in order to babysit and stroke each and every ego of those who want more credit or else they are leaving, and if they do leave, watch out, because they promise to cause waves of destruction. As a business owner, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a disgruntled employee tell me on the way out the door, “You won’t survive without me”! I think maybe its human nature to want to be that vital to the success of something. I’ve never heard anyone say, “sir, by getting rid of me, you made the right decision.” Now I realize most of you haven’t been fired from Harvest, but some certainly have, and some of those that have, I think its interesting to note, have found a nice warm and cozy place of support – right here! But that’s not odd, right? I’m surprised you guys haven’t been able to round up more of them, ready and willing to give there story right here on your big wordpress blog!

    This Blog is starting to seem like much less of a resource for help in understanding, and much more like a 1990s AOL online chat room for former Harvest staff and members. Honestly, I remember arguing with people like you guys 20 years ago, and there are always people like you guys. Yeah, I know people like you guys, always right, always smarter, and always for the good of the kingdom of God… but the problem is… always only in the way that you see it, and never in the way the someone else might see it. Thats whats wrong. Let’s blog about that!

    Oh and btw, I checked out the find a good church, geographical map you posted in part II for our benefit , and I’ve been to a couple of the churches listed there, and let me just be the first to say… NOT EVEN CLOSE TO COMPARABLE TO HARVEST in any way whatsoever. And one other thing, VBCs not on there either. Guess you guys fall short, as defined by someone else, as well.

    • Mike Sagan says:

      You sound really angry. Not sure why you’re beating up on the writers of this blog. They are helping a lot of people. I want to check out some of these churches. We have been wanting to get out of Harvest but didn’t know where to go.

      • Z. B. says:

        I don’t mean to beat up on them. I’m just writing normal, and maybe its coming off as if I’m more angry than I really am. Try reading it instead, with a pleasant tone in mind, or at the very most a slightly angry tone. May I make a suggestion, and I’m sure you have tried this, but I want to recommend you try ONLY this. Pray about it! That’s what I did! Honestly, when all if this started to go down about a year ago, I started getting real concerned about my church. I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed, and the Lord showed me – I’m where I’m supposed to be! And that’s it… it was a beautiful thing! I’m sure you’ve also prayed about it, and maybe if you don’t have a direct concise answer, then that is your answer! I bet you keep coming around here, looking for good reasons to leave, but maybe, just maybe, you’re not going to find any reason here.

    • Yes, yes…you so nailed it. This is exactly the post we were announcing.

      • Z. B. says:

        I was kind of being sarcastic as well. I figured you guys are smart enough to make the announcement of the big post, thereby recapturing your audience, and then plug your church, and then post the big blog that was announced. That’s the way I would have done it as well – smart! You have your captive audience now, we are ready to hear about the next disgruntled former Harvest member. Fire when ready! I just hope the rest of the readers understand what’s really going on here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why does “bless” = bigger in number?
      Why do you think some of us have not “taken our ball and gone home”?
      Why don’t you also count or subtract the people who prayed a prayer and got baptized at HBC but are no longer living in repentance? or no longer go to HBC?
      A bunch of good christians CHOSE to LEAVE because of dangerous ecclesiology not because they did not “get what they want” and “take their ball and go home”. And if you are saying “good riddance” to some of the same people that you counted as being “saved” by the hundreds or even thousands, are YOU angry or disgruntled at the people or the situation?
      I am not looking for a “clone” of JM or a church home “comparable to Harvest”. Wasn’t that why the resource was posted?

      • Z. B. says:

        Why does blessed = bigger in number? You seriously don’t know why? Yikes! It’s called the Gospel, and the mission is to spread it! Can you name me one pastor, anywhere on the face of the Earth, that doesn’t want to reach more people?
        I don’t quite understand the rest of your points. Are you saying that because so many got saved at Harvest, that I should sort feel less excited because that would also mean so many have not followed through? That just seems a little twisted, no? Are you suggesting that because more got saved at Harvest, a larger number of people than at a smaller church will no longer live in repentance? Two words – relative percentage.
        I’m not angry or disgruntled at anyone who got saved, and wanted to leave, even James himself said Harvest might not be the church for you. I’m all for people going where the Lord would have them to be! I do however, get slightly angry and annoyed at people who leave, and then spend a lot of time and energy trying to talk other people into following them out just to make a point.

    • Stauron3n1 says:

      Golly! ZB,

      If your post is an example of the “Christlike” behavior modeled and taught at HBC you may have a few issues to resolve there.

      You sound very familiar. Any chance that you’re from Canada? I’ve only personally known one man at HBC who writes in this style, is as facinated with “the numbers”, angrily impatient and dismissive of the opinions of others and brutally sarcastic and condescending as your post suggests you to be and he was from Ontario.

      If you’re not Canadian, my apologies, but I think you may have a soul mate there.

      But seriously, if you sincerely think that there’s ever a time and place for a Christ Follower to fire off a tirade like this, then you may want to seek some spiritual guidance.

      Strangely enough, there are any number of people who frequent this site, who would be humble and gracious enough to try and help you if you were ever humble enough to ask.

      • Z. B. says:

        Didn’t Christ get angry? Have I sinned some atrocity here? I’m at least 90% sure I don’t know you. And I’m 100% sure I’m not from Canada. Only been there once, for a two day trip. That and this much I promise you. I’m not completely sure who you are insinuating I am, but I just want to be very clear here… I give you my word, as God as my witness, I’m not a higher up at Harvest, Im not a staff member, I’m not a pastor, and I’m not an Elder. No need to apologize, I just need to be clear about that one. But About the numbers… the more people I see get saved at any church the happier I am. Don’t you feel the same way?

  15. follower of Christ says:

    Wow ZB. I suggest you don’t read this blog if it is offensive to you. That’s why I don’t read some well known blogs that others might enjoy…I do not waste my time.

    • Z. B. says:

      Thanks for the advice, but I felt inspired to help people here, and that’s why I decided to spend my time writing on this blog. Believe me, I have many more things I could be doing, than this.

  16. Harvest RM says:

    I am wondering….is this the post that your announcement was talking about?

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