Posted on: 12/05/2007
QUAKERTOWN, Pa.—One of Harvest Community Fellowship’s core values is building “a community of grace,” a concept the church continually seeks to demonstrate. Harvest’s latest adventure, 40 Days of Grace, allowed them to put their faith into action through a series of weekly challenges and special outreach events.
Each week, the congregants were asked to keep an outward focus of grace, whether that meant taping a $20 tip to the garbage can or forfeiting a guilty pleasure, such as a fancy coffee, and instead, giving the treat – or the money to buy it – to someone else.
Individual acts of grace were only one component in this spiritual campaign. A desire to unite in gracefully reaching the community prompted several other events, such as a Black Friday Community Shopping Day, where those in need could shop for free new items (donated by church members) such as food, toys, clothing, appliances and furniture. A complimentary Thanksgiving feast was also held for local residents.
Senior Pastor Geoff Stevens credits the entire staff for developing the idea, which he says God dropped in their laps. “In our area, people are tired of hearing the words of the Gospel, so in order to reach them, we need to demonstrate the actions of the Gospel,” he shares. “In the Northeast, people are very skeptical of Christians. The unchurched up here all seem to have some horror story of how a church burned them, so now they won’t come near. We have had to face the brutal facts that, by in large, we – the Evangelical church – have done a miserable job showing the world that God loves them. The world can often be more gracious than uptight, lily-white Christians. We have been way too tied up in our fancy buildings and judgmental and critical attitudes toward those who struggle.”
For this reason, the church is committed to offering “real help for today’s real world.” Stevens explains his concern that we live in a world full of pain, suffering, hate and violence, where people often hurt one another and do whatever’s needed to get ahead. However, he continues, this is contrary to God’s nature, as He “hardwired us for grace” – the very same love and acceptance He shows to each of us. Because of this, he says, “when someone touches us with grace, it moves something deep within us.”
Open for a little more than a year, and with an average weekly attendance of 300, Harvest’s leadership is committed to seeking creative ways to connect people with God. “We want to transform our world,” Stevens admits. “All of us have influence, and we want to change our corner of the world by doing little acts of grace in the community. Hopefully, we’re helping people see and feel God’s love for them.”
— Karen Butler
Is your church doing anything to reach out? Send your outreach story ideas or news to [email protected]
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