One of the most profound things about the Church is this: It is local. And while the world in which we live today is more “connected” than it has ever been, it has also never been so isolated.
Have you felt that over the last year and a half?
But it does not have to be. It is not supposed to be.
At Harvest Christian Church, as Pastor Mike Halstead preached about on Sunday, that is why we have decided our fifth and final core value is city outreach, on a spiritual level, a physical level, and at every other level in between. We are all about keeping it local, right here in East County, and focused on being the kind of neighbor God called us to be in Luke 10:25-37, in James 2:1-9, and in so many other places throughout the Bible. We even see these instructions clear back in Leviticus 19:18 (ESV): “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” In other words, this neighboring idea is not a suggestion, it is a commandment aligned with the heart of God.
But being the type of good neighbor God calls us to be is not always an easy task. We must be purposeful about it and understand that to live life as we are called to, it takes asking God to give us the same eyes He has to see the people around us. As we read in James 1:27 (ESV), “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” The “others” God puts in proximity to us are precious in His sight. And He feels the same about you and me.
At Harvest, two of the most effective ways we are doing this are through the Food Pantry we have on Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. and the showers we make available on Thursdays. In both cases, these opportunities allow us to meet practical needs of people here in our own community and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
On Tuesday and Thursday nights, another way we reach out to the local community is through the REFIT class we offer for ladies from 6-7 p.m. and our Men’s Basketball on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. In both these cases, not only are we able to encourage the health and wellness of participants, but provide another connection point for people who, for whatever reason, might not make it to a Sunday service.
When fall comes, we will also be launching a number of Community Groups. Our hope in those is simple: a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ, first and foremost, along with those who choose to participate in them.
In every facet of Church, we want Harvest to thrive in its role as the local church for the community of Troutdale and beyond, and you are a part of it. No Church is perfect, but at Harvest we desire to be faithful and true to God’s design. And our hope is that we can do this through the city outreach that serves as one of our five core values.
Paul reminds us in Colossians 1:27-29 (ESV): “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me.”
And may we all work to be the Church God calls us to be … together!
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF …
- How can you best serve the local church using your skills, talents, and passions at Harvest?
- What area of ministry ` would you like to see developed over the next year? And how can you help make that happen?
- What is your favorite aspect of the local church? And what part do you want to play in making that more of a regular reality here at Harvest?
MORE ABOUT “WHO WE ARE” AT HARVEST CHRSTIAN CHURCH …
- OUR MISSION: Harvest exists to Love God, Love People, and make Followers of Christ / Blog post: “The Heart Commandment and its Result”
- CORE VALUE #1: Bible-centered Teaching / Blog post: “God’s Word is the Torch on Dark Paths”
- CORE VALUE #2: Christ-centered Community / Blog post: “Draw Near to Jesus, Arrive at Community”
- CORE VALUE #3: Cross-cultural Missions / Blog Post: “Our Mission to Close the Breach and Stand in the Gaps”
- CORE VALUE #4: Life-long Discipleship/ Blog post: “The Four Soils of Discipleship”
- CORE VALUE #5: City Outreach