Big Fred's Bytes - February 22, 2017
It has been a very busy winter around Harvest and we are so excited to see how God has been at work. While life continues to bring struggles and strife, it is refreshing to see God at work in these lives of people as they join us weekly in our services and spend time in His Word and worship. I thank God for continuing to care for us through these ministry efforts.
Pastor Mike continues to improve and has been following the doctor’s orders. While we miss him around the church, our prayers for his complete recovery continue. We will be discussing plans for his return to the pulpit this Spring soon. But, one step at a time. “Don’t rush it” is the phrase we need to focus on.
Do you know any children under 6th grade that are not connected to a church? We have an awesome summer VBS that has been striving to connect them to Christ for years. What if, if we try to connect with them with that energy every week? What if, if these children are so excited to come to church every week that they keep asking their parents to bring them? What if, if those parents bring their children to hear about Jesus -as they do to? Well that is our hope, our prayer, and our vision. Reaching Higher Summit is the first step. Reaching Higher is meant to not only appreciate and thank our Harvest Kidz Ministry leaders, teachers, and teacher assistants but to help them see how we can Reach Higher in many ways. Inviting, equipping, teaching, and connecting the children in our community to Christ. We have a vision to reach deep into our communities and find the opportunities to connect these children to Christ. AND, in doing so, we hope to connect the parents to Christ too and help equip them toward Christian family values to guide their lives.
If you are now or would be willing to join our team at Harvest Kidz, mark the date of March 25th on your calendar. That Saturday we plan help you accomplish this vision to take Children’s Ministry to the next level. Our prayer, bring Christ into the lives of all the children in our communities. This will require several additional Kidz Ministry helpers as well as some extra dollars to convert our Harvest Kidz space into an engaging environment. If you would like to help with an extra financial gift toward this effort, you may select “Harvest Kidz Effort” under the “fund selection” when using any of our electronic giving platforms, including text-to-give. Bringing God’s Word to the children throughout our community is life changing.
Missions – reaching the world for Christ from our backyard is our prayer. Taking the Word of God to those that don’t have saving faith in Him and, in some cases, don’t have a way to even hear the Word of God is crucial. Locally, we call it Outreach and globally, we call it Missions. Missions engages across cultures, political and geographic boundaries, races, or languages. You will hear us refer to “people groups” to help understand how we can identify these groupings.
You probably have and continue to hear about our 10:16 effort and updates from those that are working hard within that focus effort. Please continue to pray for Nate and Tabatha while they prepare to return to their assignment. Isaac and Danielle are in their final stretch and should be in country within the next 2 months. Chris and Monica will be coming home for this summer and we look forward to their home assignment. You will want to subscribe to all their newsletters directly. For more specific information regarding “How To”, check the “Welcome Area” at any of our four campuses.
We have our short-term team in Juarez Mexico from Feb 18th to 25th serving with a church ministry there. 22 people have carved out a week to work with this ministry that is connecting to street kids and the impoverished community. They will be teaching, feeding, and ministering to these children with the church there, as well as doing some facility improvements. Our partnership with several churches in this effort, including the North Apollo Church of God, continues to be an awesome opportunity for all.
We have several other short trips coming together for 2017-18, and I encourage you to consider these as a goer, a sender, and a prayer partner. Here are a few more details:
- - The youth from several campuses will be in Washington DC March 10th-11th for the Dare 2 Share Conference which seeks to challenge our teens to have saving faith in Christ themselves and then to equip them to share that with their friends. Dare 2 Share weekends have helped teens show love to others while pointing them toward their Savior. (led by Pastor Fred and Pastor Harvey)
- - An international mission trip for our teens will be coming together this summer to Puerto Rico. (Pastor Dave Lusk has all of those details)
- - A more local effort will allow some of our teens to serve at the Washington City Mission for a week this summer. This Washington should not be confused with DC as this group will be working about an hour south of Pittsburgh. (Pastor Fred for more details)
- - Our ongoing partnership with our missionary in Israel allows us to help open a new Christian Fellowship in northern Israel this summer. The church will be a campus of Kehilat HaKarmel. Harvest has a 6-person team led by Pastor Scott Rising preparing for their journey there this fall. We are also looking to send 1 or 2 more teams early in 2018. These teams are limited to 6 or 7 people each and will be very active while in country working with the ministry efforts of our partner in Christ.
- - We have a small 3 man teaching team heading to India this coming Fall to come along side of ministry efforts there too.
If you have an interest in being a part of a short-term team in the future, please let us know. We periodically have meetings to convey trip details to help you consider a specific trip. I encourage you to attend those information sessions and to contact any of the trip leaders for more details. If you are interested in either of the Israel trips coming up early in 2018, please send me an email at ISRAEL in 2018 - we are planning a meeting for mid-March.
We are actively looking to add new community groups now. If you are willing to host / lead, please talk to your campus pastor. It is our hope to add 4 or 5 new group locations when we start our next semester in April 2017. If you are not currently attending a weekly group discussion, we would like to help get you connected. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you would like to join a group. We will give you a call back and help get that done.
Our Friday Night service option has been continuing to grow and be a good option for our church family to stay connected each week. With all four campuses running on the same week for the sermon, this has been a viable option when Sunday ministry needs keep you busy. Join us Fridays at 7 pm at Kittanning and you will still be ready for your community group discussion.
Just a reminder that we can receive any tithe/offering, special gifts, or payments for events via several electronic giving methods. You can use our “Harvestpa” App, online giving via our website, or text-to-give. The text-to-give is very new for us. If you have not tried it yet, here is how you can do that:
Send a new text message to “77977” and type “harvestpa” in the body of the text. You will receive a reply message within a few seconds that allows you to complete the gift. Registration only takes a few seconds and allows secure giving from your normal bank card.
All in all, I could share so many more updates but I need to get this in the mail. Don’t forget to call someone today and ask them if they would join you this week at church. God works through their hearing His Word. See you this weekend.
In His service,