It's amazing what can happen over the summer. For the last year, we have been running a very simple children's ministry. It was nothing fancy, some curriculum, 3 amazing volunteers, and a handful of kids. For the longest time it was just the founding families kids, so it allowed us to simply make due, until we were able to do something else.
But since this past Easter, things have been begun to change. Over the last couple of months, the population of children has started to grow. Along with that growth, new families have also started attended regularly. We quickly realized that we would no longer be able to just get by. We need a plan. We decided it was time to get serious about our Children's Ministry. And last night we did.
You know when you have a vision for what something should be, the dream alone can be intoxicating. But when substance begins to make your visions reality, well, I'm not just not sure how to describe it. Last night at a ministry team meeting for our children's ministry, I discovered that many others have the same passion as I do when it comes to creating an exciting, fun, and engaging children's ministry.
I am so excited to announce that Sprouts, the Children's Ministry at Harvest Church, returns this Sunday, September 14th! I am even more excited, by what these first 4 months will look like for our children and families! We have 7, incredible adults, who have a heart for kids, and a passion to see that they are introduced to Jesus! On top of that, there are 7 student helpers, who are amazing with kids, ready to jump in and be a part of this exciting ministry.
Here are just a few things that will happen this season!
1. Almost-Extreme Children's Ministry Make-Over...
Meeting in borrowed space always creates the obsticle of atmosphere. There's not much we can do to 'decorate' or create a total kid ministry when it's not your space. But we have some great ideas for taking the space we do have and modifying it just enough to make it a little more kid friendly. Now we're not paint walls or building playgrounds yet, but we will be bring a few items into the space that will help with our make-over attenpt.
2. An Exciting Teaching/Lesson Calendar...
We use a wonderful curriculum that has been created and published through KidsSundaySchool.com. It's flexible, adaptable, complete, and easy to use. And that's important in a setting like ours. Last night we sat down and created an awesome teaching plan that leads up to Christmas and the birth of Jesus. With a little bit of Old Testament and a little bit of the New Testament, we've put together a great plan for our kids!
3. Many Hands Make Light Work...
Something that really proves that God is at work is the awesome news that we will move from 3 teachers to 7 leaders! Our leaders will share the enormous responsibility of teaching our kids. With a 7 week rotation, our leadership will take turns teaching and loving on our students! And with 7 incredible teen helpers, I think there will be a real joy found in Sprouts every week!
One of the three emphasis' that we adopted this past winter was the idea of becoming a church focused on outreach. In all of our ministries, there will be an element of missions and service. I am thrilled that our children will also have the opportunity to join the church in missions as they prepare to do they first missions project, later this fall! (I will share our plans in a little while. I don't want to give away too much here now!)
5. Preparing for the Greater Harvest to Come...
Jesus told His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matthew 9:37&38 niv) In February, this became our prayer. While we knew we were small, we also believed that there was a great harvest awaiting us. We just needed the workers. So we have been praying that God would raise up the workers that would be needed to move out into the fields. Today, I am beginning to see how God is answering that prayer. From 3 teachers to 7 leaders and 7 teen helpers. From just getting by from week to week, to having a plan and a purpose. From a just a small handful of kids to being ready to welcome a great many more. I believe God is about to do something awesome!
So let me share this invitation with those of you who live in the Canonsburg/McMurray area. If you have been looking for a church, or if you've just been looking for something more for your family, come and visit us this weekend at Harvest Church! Come and discover what we've already been learning - that God is good, and He desires for you to come to know Him!
Authenic. Simple. Biblical. Relational. Harvest Church is the church for everyone else!
This weekend at Harvest Church, we are kicking off a short, 4-week series entitled, "In The Beginning." The series will take us through the first four chapters of Genesis as we look at the amazing, awesomeness of God. (Awesomeness? YEAH, AWESOMENESS!!)
Over the four weeks we will consider the power of God as He speaks life into exisitance, the perfection in His creation, His rich love for His creation even though His creation rejects Him, and what it looks like when we fail and give Him less and what it looks like to give him our best.
I have often said, "If you want to know God's plan for His people, read the first four chapters of Genesis. Everything you need to know is right there." Together we'll discover and grow.
Our schedule looks like this...
Week One: In The Beginning... GOD WAS, GOD SPOKE, AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD
- Genesis 1:1-2:3
Week Two: In the Beginning... When Life Was Perfect
- Genesis 2:4-25
Week Three: In The Beginning... The Choices We Make and The Work That God Does
- Genesis 3
Week Four: In The Beginning... From Bad to Worse to AWESOMENESS
- Genesis 4
Don't miss the next four weeks at Harvest Church as we discover the amazing, awesomeness of God. Awesomeness? YEAH, AWESOMENESS!!
Visit the Harvest Church website for location, times, and additional information about the church!
PS - Was this post helpful, insightful, encouraging, or thought provoking? Do you agree or disagree? Great! I'd love to hear from you! Share your reactions, thoughts, and/or comments in the comment section! And thanks for reading and supporting the blog!
PS - Was this post helpful, insightful, encouraging, or thought provoking? Great! I'd love to hear from you! Share your reactions, thoughts, and/or comments in the comment section! And thanks for reading and supporting the blog!
Happy July! Can you believe it? I mean, what happened to June. It feels like it was here than gone. So fast.
So, it's been a couple of months since my last update about Harvest, and the family, and today being the second day in July, I'd thought I'd give you a quick review of what's been happening.
Over the last couple of weeks I've post various posts about some of what we as a family have been up to and some of the lessons I've been learning as we do this amazing thing of starting Harvest Church. Some of what I share, might sound a little familar. Sorry.
First the family...
The Higham's are doing well. Spring was a busy time as baseball, soccer, football work outs, work, and church stuff. (perhaps that's why it feels like June just flew by.) Let me break it down.
- Logan continues to do well, both in school and with football. In May he turned 16, and quickly assume the roll of a 16 year old by passing his drivers permit test and getting a job. Now he is learning the values of budgeting, savings, giving, and spending.
- Nate had a great baseball season. He, along with a small handful of others, was pulled up to play on the freshmen baseball team. that's quite an accomplishment as an 8th grader. He also place for one of the local rec. teams and had a great season, both on the mount and at the plate. and of course, he's the best short stop I know. (Father's pride.)
- Aiden took to the soccer field again for his second season of spring soccer. He continues to demonstrate a natural ability while learning how to control the ball, pass, and take shots on goal. He even stepped into the goalie roll for a few games. But the most exciting part of his season came just this week as we learned he was selected for teh "A" travel team.
- Asher continues to excell in school. He had a great year. But success isn't just for school. Asher stepped onto the diamond for his second season of baseball. There was a definite improvement in his fielding and batting.
- Breya is full of life. She finished her first year of pre-school and stands ready for kindergarten come the fall. She is a total fashionista and is every much a little girl. But don't think she is a push over, because she can hold her own among her brothers.
Amy continues to amaze me. She has been my biggest support and cheerleader and I am so thankful for her. Along with taking care of our kids, maintaining the family calendar, keeping the house looking great, playing hostess extrodinaire, and being a fantastic wife, she watches a number of kids during the day, helps to lead a womens study, and continues to minister to an assortment of women as needed. She's awesome!
As for me, I am still juggling the church, a full time job, a free-lance graphics business, fatherhood, and homeowner. I have to admit, I'm not a very good juggler, but God has been teaching me to keep things simple and to rest in His perfection. Amy and I pray every day for God to bless the church so we can make the jump back into full-time ministry, but rest in the knowledge that this season is one of teaching and learning. He continues to provide and care for us and we continue to be amazed and in awe of his faithfulness.
Now, for the church...
At the beginning of the year, I declared 2014 to be an #epic year. I had sensed that God was moving and that 2014 was going to be an exciting year of growth. And so far, it has been. But while there is definitely growth happening among our wonderful church family, the biggest growth taking place is within me. It has be a constant challenge as I have felt God pushing me more and more into the lead pastor roll. The first 3 months of the year were three months of God confirming his call for me to be pastor. And so I am learning, every day what that looks like. Those three months were spent preparing the church for God's harvest field. We believe that God has a harvest for his church, but as we talked about going after that harvest, we found ourselves asking more questions about who we were and how we would care for the people and families that are harvested.
So we took time to be reminded of our foundations as a church and what it was that God was calling us to be and do. Coming out of the series, we are now making slow, but deliborate steps to readying ourselves as a church for God's growth. Since the end of the series, we have welcomed two new families to the church while hearing from another family that they were alos on board and started calling Harvest their church home. Exciting.
As we move into the summer months, we're taking advantage of the slower pace of life to build upon that foundation with some important framework. So we are getting a little more intentional in recruiting and building up our lay-leadership. For me, it's a time to organize, plan, train, and launch people into ministry. For the church, it's changing the idea of our growth goal being numbers, though that is important, to our growth goal being the church becoming active in discipleship, spiritual growth, and missional service. And together it means we move from thinking about ourself to thinking and responding to others. Afterall, isn't that what Jesus teaches?
I've also done away with the big launch activities, because, we have now launched. The reality is, we are a church, and we are doing what the church is called to do. It might be small, and it might not be perfect, we are the church! And that's exciting. So instead of always looking to the next season and saying, 'Hey, here's an great opportunity to launch the church and invite people to come and see.' I've come to see that the next time to invite someone to join us at Harvest is this Sunday! Now is the time for people to come. Now is when God is doing great things! Now is the perfect time to come, see, and discover the exciting things at Harvest Church. Because we're doing it. God's doing it. And it's happening. What's the it? Come and see!
Let me wrap this up with asking to you to pray for us. We value and appreciate your prayers and support. So would you pray for Harvest Church?
1. Please pray for Harvest Church as we build the framework of ministry that God will use to minister to the community that he has called us to serve. That means prayer for our layleaders, our new outreach ministry, our growing student ministry, our exciting children's ministry, and our small group ministry called, LIFEgroups.
2. Please pray for continue growth, both among our current church body and as individuals. Without growth in both of these areas we will be unable to see what God is doing around us.
3. Please pray for us as we think and pray for a future, permanent space for worship, ministry, and office space. We want to be able to serve the community and operate as a church in a place that provide a little more space.
4. Please pray that God would bless the church financially. There is a lot that we hope to do, including making it possible for full-time ministry to Jay and the expansion of our staff in the areas of praise and worship, student leadership, and children's ministry. But also to serve the community, have a dedicated space, and partici[ate in missions.
5. For the Higham family, as Jay and Amy work to lead the church and their family.
If you would like to support Harvest Church beyond your prayers, we would grately welcome your financial gifts. We believe that God has called us to love and serve this community. In many ways, we think of ourselves as missionairies. One of our biggest desires is to be in full-time ministry. Right now, my time is limited due to having to work multiple jobs to care for the family. But if we could move to that full-time position, it would great alter to landscape and allow us to engage both the church and the community in greater ways. I know that God's time is perfect and that he can "do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations..." (Ephesians 3:20,21) And I also know, that he can use his people to provide for his purpose in unexpected ways. Perhaps he is leading you to support this early years of Harvest Church. If you would like to know more about how you can support Harvest, please contact me. I'd be more than happy to share all that God is doing and where we believe he is leading us.
Until our next update, thank you for your prayers and support!
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.