Dear Family & Friends,
We are writing this to let you know that at this time, we feel like we need to step away from attending meetings. This is really difficult to share, as we know this may come as a shock and may be very upsetting to some of you, but hopefully we can explain a little bit to dispel some of the confusion or potential misunderstandings about why we are leaving.
Please know this is a decision that we don’t take lightly at all, as it has been agonizing in many ways and nearly all consuming for quite some time. We’ve cried many, many tears over the thought of leaving. We’ve pored over scripture and prayed more fervently than ever in our lives. We’ve also had many conversations with trusted friends and workers as we’ve worked our way through this part of our spiritual journey.
One thing we want to be clear on, is that every person we spoke with both inside of the fellowship and outside, ultimately encouraged us to seek Jesus. We are thankful to have really wonderful friendships with people who are very devoted to God, on ‘both sides of things,’ who pointed us to Him and His Word over and over again.
This has been one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make, but as time has gone on, we have felt more clarity and peace with leaving than we have with staying. The reason for our departure is because ultimately it feels like this is the next step we are being directed to take in our spiritual walk, coupled with feeling like what we’ve come to believe about Jesus (about knowing Him, about following Him, and what the Word of God says) differs from some core doctrine that our fellowship teaches in both an overt and subliminal manner.
To be clear, we still believe that God is working in the meetings/with those who attend (as it’s been our experience) and we appreciate many parts of the fellowship as it’s been a largely wonderful part of our lives. It is not our intention as we step away from the fellowship, to step away from the Lord…it is to step more fully into knowing Him.
We know this likely sounds ironic to most of you, and while some may fear for our salvation, we have to believe the promises of God. We believe that He does not forsake those who earnestly seek Him and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. That we have salvation by grace through faith and truly receiving Jesus as our Savior. That Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is every good and wonderful part of us and our lives and we would never ever want to live a life on this Earth without Him. We want to spend our lives glorifying Him, worshipping Him, and honoring Him through love and obedience to Him.
We won’t go into more details here, but we’re very open to questions if it’s something you’d like to discuss further. There are many wonderful parts of the fellowship that we will greatly miss. The fellowship is where our walk with God began and has grown, and for that we’re very thankful. Please also know that no one has done anything to push us away from the fellowship.
We’ve had really wonderful experiences, relationships, and meetings. We very much value the friendships we’ve formed with you and others over the years and would love to continue in those. We’re happy to talk about anything from the weather to Jesus – whatever you are comfortable with! We do understand that there tends to be a natural separation with people who leave the fellowship, and even a level of unease…whatever the case, just please know that we love you, and very much appreciate the role you’ve played in our lives and spiritual journeys over the years. All of you are still very welcome in our home and lives!
Derek & Malia Forza
Audio testimony given at church: