We believe in the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ is NOT a building, but a body of believers. The church is created by God. It is the people of God. Jesus Christ is its Lord and Head; the Holy Spirit is its life and power. It is divine and human, heavenly and earthly, and ideal and imperfect. It exists to fulfill the purposes of God in Christ. Christ loved the church and gave himself for it that it should be holy and without blemish. He promised to build the church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. It is the redemptive fellowship in which the Word of God is preached by divinely called men and that the ordinances are given according to Christ's own appointment. Under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, the church exists for the maintenance of worship, the edification of believers, and the redemption of the world.
Worship in Song
We are committed to worship that is genuine, balanced, and honoring to the Lord. Our worship services are a mix of contemporary and traditional music, with varying styles. We want your worship experience at Harvest to be sincere, stimulating, and Spirit filled. We don’t believe that one style of music is superior to another. Our goal is to use music that is enjoyable and well performed to make it easy for the congregation to sing along and worship our God.
We encourage freedom in worship. Some like to raise their hands and be expressive. We want to foster an environment where people feel safe focusing on God and enjoying Him in song while still respecting fellow worshipers. Feel free to worship loudly, quietly, standing, sitting, or even kneeling.
At the heart of the Gospel is the mandate to "Go and make disciples of all nations.” God is a missionary God. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is a record of God’s efforts to rescue mankind and restore him to relationship with God.
We believe that God has called Harvest Community Church to raise up "world Christians" with a heart to take the whole gospel to the whole world. We believe the fields are already white for harvest but the laborers are few.
We believe that from Pennsylvania, there is no place in the world we cannot reach by the power of Christ. With this in mind we are committed strongly to the following activities:
1. Giving generously to missions throughout the world.
2. Investing in local evangelism.
3. Partnering with people throughout the world to plant healthy churches.
4. Prioritizing our efforts to reach the least reached peoples of the world with the gospel.
5. Raising and training men and women to go into service bringing the gospel to the world.
6. Regularly organizing short-term mission trips to encourage our missions' partners and expose our people to a vision of the world.
Local Outreach and Evangelism
We are committed to reaching our communities with the love of Jesus. The best way to tell others about Christ is to do what Christ would do, be a servant to them and show love. At times we do organized outreaches, creative acts of service, and/or advertising -- all designed to let people know we are here so that they can come and join us and hear the gospel. We encourage people to invite their friends and family to church in order to hear the gospel. We design almost all of our events and services with unbelievers in mind. We want to be a church that is filled with people who invite their lost friends and loved ones to special occasions where they will have a good time and hear the gospel. We also want to be a church where our Sunday services, though directed to God and focused on the believer, are very hospitable and understandable to the guest who visits.
All things belong to God. We believe that human beings will either worship the Giver of all Things, or make idols of His gifts. The first human beings were taught by God to give of the first portion of the gifts He gave them from the earth. This giving of the first fruits quickly became the giving of the tithe by the time of Abraham, before the law of Moses. We believe that God’s people should joyfully give back the first 10 percent of their income to God as worship. We believe that this worship should be done in their local church, where God is feeding and caring for them.
Although this gift is an act of worship to God for the giver, it becomes the supply for the financial needs of the local church. We also believe that after the tithe, the people of Harvest should generously support the work of God according to how He has blessed them. We also believe that all of us have a responsibility to seek to live balanced lives so that we have something extra to give those in need.
As a church, we are committed to giving the first fruits of all that is given in worship to the mission effort of planting churches throughout the world. For this reason, a set percentage of all money received by Harvest is first given to missions and to local outreach. This percentage varies according to our financial capabilities, but it has historically always been substantially more than 10 percent. It is our hope that this portion of our giving will always increase.
Beyond that, we believe that the Lord’s money should be spent according to His priorities. This can be difficult to discern and good Christians can certainly disagree. We seek to staff our church to minister well and also to be frugal, keep minimal savings, and get the most use possible out of all assets owned by the church. In all things, it is our desire to use earthly wealth to increase the population of heaven.
Christians are to grow in the knowledge of the word of God throughout life. This learning is not so that the Christian can become proud of his knowledge, but so that he can know and enjoy God better, and thereby be more like Jesus. If we are more like Jesus, we are truly His disciples.
In addition to your Sunday morning experience, Harvest schedules various learning opportunities through small groups, Bible studies, special series and training events. These are designed to help you grow deeper in your walk with the Lord.
God desires us to grow in reliance on Him. One of the main ways we do this is through prayer. In prayer, we can focus on God, bring our worries to Him, bring our requests to Him, adore Him, confess to Him, and consider how wonderful He is in all ways. We value prayer as a component of every endeavor and every ministry.
This subject has divided many believers throughout many centuries. In seeking to unite believers rather than divide, Harvest allows for the disagreements of individual Christians on this issue. This does not mean that we do not encourage a strong conviction in this area. We encourage all Christians to seek to determine how God saves and how the salvation continues throughout our earthly lives. We encourage all believers to hold to the Bible’s teaching on this area. The reason we allow for disagreement is because we understand that many in our area have come from churches that take very different stands on the issue. We want to allow for strong conviction on this very important matter, but without disunity. Therefore, the issue of a person’s stance on eternal security will not become a litmus test for membership.
Speaking in Tongues
Speaking in tongues is one of the most widely debated topics within the Christian community today. It is an issue that we cannot avoid discussing since the Bible mentions tongues, however, it is NOT an issue that we choose to debate. Speaking in tongues is speaking in a language that is different from one’s native language. Tongues is seen being used in two different ways in scripture: speaking the wonders of God to man, and speaking to God.
The gift of tongues was used in scripture to fulfill God's purposes, and is still used today. Since it is listed in I Corinthians 12 as one of the gifts of the Spirit, we have no reason to believe that this one gift has ceased to exist. The position of Harvest is that the gift of speaking in tongues should be of private use and not of public use within our worship services. In I Corinthians 14, Paul tells us that tongues are for private or personal edification, and it is of no profit in edifying the body if no one understands what is being said. Paul places a greater emphasis on understanding and prophecy than the unknown tongue.
In addition, Paul states in verse 26 to let all things be done for edification when coming together in worship. The only way tongues can be edifying to the body in a worship service is if there is an interpretation. Paul also states that if the church is speaking in tongues those who don’t understand will think you are mad or strange. Since Harvest exists to evangelize the lost, it is our position that those who have the gift of tongues use that gift to speak between themselves and God, thereby not denying the speaking of tongues while also not causing distraction to the unbelievers.
Paul does give restrictions for speaking in tongues during a worship service. It should be noted, however, that the verse states “if anyone speaks in tongues,” which would seem to imply that it is not a necessary part of a worship service. In fact, he states when you come together everything should be done for the strengthening of the church. To enter into this practice during a worship service can and has caused a great deal of confusion (which God is not the author of.) When tongues lead to confusion, it does not strengthen the church. This is the primary reason Harvest does not promote speaking in tongues in its worship services.
Additionally, we realize that many people come from churches that do not believe that speaking in tongues is a manifestation of the church in our present day. Although Harvest teaches otherwise, we allow freedom to believe otherwise. A person’s position on tongues and the charismatic gifts will not be used as a litmus test for membership.
When it comes to living with others with differences on matters like tongues the true issue is Christian love. Can we hold to different convictions -- and hold them strongly -- and still love and commit to one another? We believe that is what God requires of us. We delight in the challenge that God has given us at Harvest to love within a diversity of convictions.
Healing was an important ministry of our Lord. Jesus healed as a means of demonstrating the power of God and as a witness to draw the hearts of men to Him. Scripture clearly records God’s power to heal sin, the brokenhearted, sickness, disease and our land. Since the Bible testifies that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, we have no reason to believe that God has retired or ceased from performing miracles and healings. We believe that God is able to heal today.
God often uses a person as a vehicle to administrate His gift of healing, but healing is the result of the supernatural intervention of the power of God in our lives. It is through His name that we are healed. Sometimes the vehicle that God chooses to use is medicine and the medical field. We recognize that God uses physicians to treat while the Great Physician heals.
The Bible lays out five basic guidelines for those who seek healing:
1. Confess our sins that we may be healed.
3. Exercise our faith.
4. Call on the spiritual leaders of the church.
5. Lay hands on the individual seeking healing and anoint with oil as a symbol of God’s grace at work in the life of that individual.
There are many factors and mysteries as to why one is healed while another is not. While we cannot always answer every question, we can know four things for certain:
1. It is appointed unto man once, to die, and suffering is a part of life here on earth.
2. We will not experience total and complete healing until our bodies are glorified.
3. When the grace to be healed is not given, the grace to endure is promised.
4. We can continue to trust God knowing that He works all things for His good.
Modes of Baptism
Baptism signifies entrance into the household of faith, and it is a symbol of identifying with Christ in His death and resurrection, a representation of the new birth in Christ Jesus, and a mark of Christian commitment. Baptism marks believers as part of God's family. Jesus practiced baptism and proclaimed the necessity of it, and the early church performed it. We believe that baptism is a rite to be performed upon every Christian.
Most Christian traditions of all times are united in support of the practice of baptism. However, what most Christian traditions are not united on is the mode, meaning, and timing of baptism. We have chosen, as far as it depends on us, not to allow baptism to divide Harvest Community Church. We believe in baptism, but also believe the means of baptism is not as important as the meaning of baptism. The conviction of Harvest is to practice believers’ baptism and infant dedication. Our primary means of baptism is through immersion. However, if a Christian has been baptized in a different tradition (perhaps sprinkling, pouring, or thrice dunked) and they feel strong conviction that their baptism is sufficient, then they can still be a member of Harvest Community Church.