Now, though, the wheels started turning. A new church? When we had attended church #2 (the one too far for significant involvement on our part), the pastor had approached us. When we mentioned where we lived he said, 'We've been praying about planting a church in that county.'
Hmmm. Now those words came back to our minds.
The group of people who were meeting and who had invited us to the planning meeting were primarily from church #3. They did not want to plant another church from that denomination because there were already plenty of that type in the county. We came hoping to promote a plant supported by church #2.
But God works, as they say, in mysterious ways.
The group had already done some leg work. They had learned of Harvest Bible Chapel and Pastor James MacDonald.
In 2000, Pastor James felt that the LORD was leading Harvest to plant churches. He thought he was stepping out in faith when he asked the LORD to bless them with 10 church plants in 10 years.
Little did he know...*
As our group met and prayed, it became apparent that we should be one of the Harvest plants.
Then some really cool things started happening.
- the man in charge of the church plants came to visit and meet with us
- turns out he knows some guys we know from Judson, including one of Nate's snowboarding buddies who is currently on staff with Harvest
- he encouraged our core group to continue to meet in the afternoon or evenings and visit other churches on Sunday morning
- Harvest would be sending us a pastor in February (he's here!)
- when several members of our core group visitied church #2 (the one who wanted to plant a church in our county), the pastor and elders met with them after the service, prayed with them and gave them seed money for our plant
- the children's ministry coordinator for the Harvest in Milwaukee contacted us. She is from this area and has been praying for years that GOD would start a Harvest plant here (and it turns out that one of the core group members knows her because his mother taught her in school)
- Pat and I, as we studied Experiencing GOD again, and as Pat taught our Sunday school class, realized that GOD was calling us to be involved in this church plant
- we shared this with the class last week and they have sent us out with their blessing (they are so cool - we were a little worried they might be upset)
- Nate and Michelle attend Harvest; Jon and Kristi did too when they lived in Chicagoland
There are about 40,000 people in our county. Only about 7,000 of them attend church. That leaves us with a 'field white unto harvest' (Matthew 9:37-38) (or Harvest as the case may be....smile).
We are excited about the work ahead. About what GOD will do. More tomorrow....
*Harvest has planted well over 50 churches since the year 2000.