Tuesday, March 29, 2005


We're off and running!

We had our first public meeting last Thursday, and frankly I was overwhelmed by the turnout. You see, it was a cold, snowy, wet March night in Colorado, complete with slippery roads and low visibility. I knew we'd have at least 12 people, but by 6:15, I wasn't expecting many more. By 6:45, the weather had gotten worse, but the people started to trickle in. When we officially kicked off Harvest Community Church, we had a room filled with 30 people.

I know we're still in the early stages and that the group was a combination of committed regulars, well-wishers, and investigators. But then, isn't every church made up of the same components? All we were missing were the "I'm mad I was dragged here" crowd and the "I don't like the music" crowd. But I'm sure they'll come eventually.

Anyway, here's a picture:

Oh, and we have an address now! Please send any snail correspondence to:
Harvest Community Church
P.O. Box 461383
Aurora, CO 80046-1383

Starting this week, we'll be going through a series called "Rediscovering Church" going through the book of Acts. I'll post a summary of each week's teaching here.

Until then,
"This is what the LORD says- he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, ...See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:16,19)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


It seems that every day I run into someone who asks me about Harvest. Sometimes the person is named Eliza.*

In the past the conversation has gone something like this:

"Hi, Jeff! How's the new church going?
"Hi, Eliza! It's going great!
"When are you having your meetings?"
"Well, we're thinking of starting Thursday nights this spring."
"So, where will it be?"
"Ummm...we don't really have a place yet."
"Oh." (awkward pause) "So do you have a lot of people?"
"Ummm...I don't know because we haven't really been meeting yet."
"Oh." (really awkward pause) "You really are planting a church, though, right?"
"Absolutely! We've got a name and a website and everything!"

But now, the conversation goes like this:

"Hi, Jeff! How's the new church going?"
"Hi, Eliza! It's going great!"
"When are you having your meetings?"
"Thursday nights from 7:00-8:15. Starting March 24th."
"So, where will it be?"
"At the Tallyn's Reach Library, on Arapahoe Road just east of 470."
"So what will it be like?"
"We'll meet for some worship, teaching, and fun."
"You mean like a regular church service?"
"Sort of. But a lot more laid back. We just want to connect with people and go deeper with our lives."
"Oh wow! We'll have to come check it out!"

Or something like that.

Usually in real life people don't ask the questions you have prepared answers for.

But if your questions match the above answers, then we'd love to see you on March 24th or any Thursday thereafter.

I have actually never talked to anyone named Eliza about Harvest. But if I ever do, I'm fully prepared for the conversation.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Finish Line

Home sweet home.

We've been home for a couple hours now, and my head is still spinning. During today's drive we listened to a sermon by James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel. The sermon was called "Finish Line Faith", taken from 2 Timothy 4; and it was about persevering to the end, just as Paul did.

Read the passage here.

It was a great sermon, and I highly recommend any of Pastor James's materials. But it was also very timely, as we were all feeling like we weren't going to make it to the finish line of this trip. Normally the drive through northeast Colorado is tiresome, but today it was especially difficult because we weren't returning from a vacation, we were coming home from three weeks straight of campaigning for our new church.

Some totals:

A family of 4-- kids ages 4 and 2.
3 weeks and 3 days on the road.
3,231 miles driven.
10 different sleeping locations.
~27,000 french fries eaten (or so it seems).

All so that we could meet with...
...82 adults at 23 different locations (plus 2 congregations) and tell them about Harvest.

Of course, the reality is that this isn't the finish line. In many ways it's the starting blocks. There is much more for us to do. It is our prayer that, like Paul, we will hold nothing back for the sake of the Gospel, that through our efforts, we might reach those God has for us.

Thank you all for joining with us as we labor in these harvest fields.

Friday, March 04, 2005


We're safely in Iowa. The land of corn, 65 MPH speed limits, and some farm with a baseball diamond that acts like a vortex into another dimension-- where people come simply because they built the thing. But that's another story.

After a wonderful and tiring 10 days in Illinois, we are now staying with my parents in the town of Muscatine on the banks of the Mississippi River. The kids are happy to see their grandparents, and Abby and I are happy to be at our last stop. I'll be preaching in my dad's church this Sunday, and I hope (for his sake) that we don't get too many, "Oh, you preach just like your dad!" comments. The topic for the sermon is "A Disciple Submits to Christ's Authority", taken from Luke 6:46-7:10.

Also on this trip, I read a great book by Erwin McManus called Unstoppable Force: Daring to Become the Church God Had in Mind. In it, he talks about the momentum of a church, using the physics definition of momentum. (All of you non-book-learnin' types, stick with me-- there's a payoff comin'.) The formula for momentum is P=mv. "P" is momentum, "m" is mass, and "v" is velocity. Applied to a church, mass is pretty easy to figure out-- it's the amount of people that are there. Velocity is a combination of speed and direction.

This basic formula really helped me think through the challenges we face as a church in the next 6 months. I feel like the velocity piece is in place. We'll have plenty of speed simply because we have a lot to do before September. Maybe too much to do in the given time. I feel like God has also given us a vision and direction of where to go with Harvest; a direction that will hopefully guide our speed. Our challenge is mass. We need people. Without mass, our velocity amounts to a bunch of nice ideas.

As I thought about this, I began to get discouraged. I'm not naturally gifted at filling rooms. Leadership success for me has always been a slower process. I was sharing these thoughts with Abby when she cut me off. She said, "Jeff, it sounds like you're trying to take responsibility for something God is going to do."

It's nice to be married.