For the most current information on Harvest Bible Chapel’s response to the Coronavirus, watch this page.
March 24, 2020
For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:9–12
While we are all dealing with unprecedented challenges in our families, communities, businesses, and ministries, I wanted to send you a note of encouragement as well as some updates for our church.
Praise God that 25 people chose to accept Christ this past weekend through our online services! Thank you all for your prayers for salvation this past weekend and for those of you who joined us at our online prayer meeting last Friday night. I’m also thankful for Pastor Eddie Hoagland for delivering God’s Word and following the Spirit, as we continued our series Just Jesus: A Radical Teacher.
God is working at our church and our school in new, fresh, and powerful ways. People are getting saved (25 said “yes” to Jesus this weekend!), more people are watching our on-line service than attend our campuses on the weekend, HCA students are e-learning and staying connected with their pastors, small groups are meeting electronically, parents are using our curriculum to teach their children about Jesus, students are staying connected, all our buildings are getting deep-cleaned, and care calls have been made to every Harvest household. I could go on and on!
Thank you for your partnership, your prayers, and the ways you are trusting the Lord with us in this season.
Next Two Weeks
As you know, the Coronavirus situation continues to be ever-changing. Last Friday, the Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that the state has issued a “shelter in place” running through April 7 and will require all 12.7 million Illinois residents to stay home with few exceptions. You can see the full announcement here.
We want to continue to abide by all guidelines and precautions and will continue gathering as a church online for the next two weekends, March 28–29 and April 4–5. We will share more updates as the next two weeks progress.
We also are committed to not gathering in groups of more than 10 people for the time being, including the recording of our weekend services. As it relates to small groups, see an update about Recommendations and Resources for Groups.
Harvest Christian Academy (HCA) Update
As previously communicated, a spouse of an HCA staff member was tested for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are pleased to share that the test came back negative. This is good news. Please continue to follow instructions from Illinois authorities and pray for protection over our church family, our communities, and our world. See more HCA updates regarding the Coronavirus here.
We want to encourage you to continue to engage, connect, and reach out during this time. There are all kinds of ways to stay connected. To see all of our online ministries, you can go to harvestbiblechapel.org/HarvestAtHome. This webpage gives details and online plans for Harvest Kids, Students, Small Groups, Weekend Services, local campus ministries, and more.
As always, please reach out to one of our staff members if there is any way we can serve you during this time. You can email or call. The main number to the church is 847-398-7005.
You are loved,
Lead Ministry Pastor
March 16, 2020
“Let not your hearts be troubled. believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1
Thanking the Lord for a great weekend “together” online. Thankful for Vertical Worship leading us. Thankful for our ministry staff as they cared for our online family through chats and phone calls. So grateful for the opportunity to bring a message of hope and help from God’s Word. If you missed it, you can watch it online now.
As we start into a new week, I know that these days look very different for many of you. Life as you know it has temporarily changed in lots of ways. Grateful that the Lord does not change. He remains the same no matter our circumstances.
We’ve asked our church staff to work from home this week, March 16–20. This is a precautionary measure; no cases of Coronavirus have been detected among our staff. However, we want to continue to be available to you and to do everything we can to care for you in this unprecedented chapter in the story of our church and our world.
We want to offer these ways to stay connected.
- Our website, harvestbiblechapel.org will continue to provide updates on the ministries and events of our church.
- Our staff continues to be available to you. Though they will not be working in our buildings, they can be reached by email and extension on the church phone number, 847-398-7005. Most staff emails are the first letter of their first name followed by their last name @harvestbiblechapel.org. For example, mine is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find a list of staff phone extensions here. Our staff’s extensions will be rerouted to their cell phones this week.
- Harvest social media will provide updates as they arise. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram as well as your campus Instagram accounts.
BUILDINGS CLOSED THIS WEEK
As you experienced over the weekend, the buildings on our six campuses will be closed this week. Staff will not be working in those buildings or meeting with people there. All classes, small groups, Student Ministry, Harvest Kids, Harvest Christian Academy, etc. are canceled for March 16–22. During this time, our building services team will conduct a deep clean of all of our campuses. Again, these are precautionary measures.
We encourage you to continue meeting with your small groups in your homes and continue your small group community and discipleship.
HARVEST CHRISTIAN ACADEMY (HCA) UPDATE
Our school (HCA) was notified that a spouse of an HCA staff member was exposed to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This person was tested and is awaiting the results, which takes 48 hours. For that reason and the governor’s mandate, HCA is not meeting on campus this week. For more details, you can visit the HCA website.
Church family, this is our time to depend on the Lord and dig into His Word. It’s a great time to reach out to the most vulnerable people in your sphere of influence and show the love of Jesus to them. We encourage you to check on the elderly in our church and community and see how we can serve them during this time. Offer to get their groceries, pick up prescriptions, walk their dog—whatever you can do to care for them.
This is a time to shine the light of Jesus to a world that’s living in fear. Reach out to your friends. Stay connected with your small group. Don’t isolate. Let us know if you’re looking for ways to serve. And let us know how we can care for you at this time.
We look forward to meeting together as His church online next weekend, March 21–22. Until then, let’s be found living out Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,”—even if that’s not face-to-face.
Lead Ministry Pastor
March 13, 2020
Watch this 10-minute message from Pastor Greg, Pastor Eddie, and Sarah Portz with more details on the next two weeks at Harvest.
Also, in case you missed them, the latest updates on the Coronavirus can be read on this page below.
And here’s a guide to help you engage digitally in this season.
We trust the Lord as our leadership team continues to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus situation and are actively seeking information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), various churches, and other online resources.
Yesterday, the State of Illinois mandated that all public gatherings of more than 1,000 people be canceled for the next 30 days and recommended the canceling of gatherings of more than 250 people until May 1. For that reason, we will not be gathering on any of our campuses for weekend services for the next two weekends, March 14–15 and March 21–22.
Our worship continues, however, as we take our services online through the Harvest website. We are planning a special online service for you this weekend, and I am excited to bring a timely message that’s on my heart for our church family that I pray will bring hope and clarity during this troubling and confusing time.
I encourage you to gather your family and engage with one of our online services this weekend: 5:00 PM on Saturday, 9:00 AM or 11:00 AM on Sunday. We will also have ways for you to communicate with a pastor digitally. We will be providing more information about how you can make the most of weekend services online.
This unprecedented time provides special opportunities to stay connected with one another as you gather in homes around the online services and for your weekly small group. This could be the perfect opportunity you’ve been waiting for to invite your neighbor to experience church with you or to visit your small group!
In addition to the Governor’s mandate, we have decided to halt all ministry (regardless of size) that happens on campus over the next two weeks. This includes Awana, Hope Groups, classes, and counseling. Harvest Kids will be providing some unique online opportunities, Student Ministries will provide alternatives to their weekly campus gathering, and Small Groups will work together to find the best option for meeting offsite. This coming week, you will hear more from your campus leadership on how we all can maximize this opportunity from the Lord to advance his mission.
Harvest Christian Academy (HCA) has additional updates regarding the school specifically. You can see these updates here.
Please continue to pray for our church, our communities, and all those at risk. I know this can be a time of processing various emotions and questions. We are praying for you and for our church as we continue in the work of ministry.
Lead Ministry Pastor
March 12, 2020
We want to let you know that Harvest Bible Chapel is closely monitoring the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation. The health and well-being of our church family and weekend guests are very important to us, and we want to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our church. For that reason, we are following all recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Though the spread of the virus has caused various levels of fear and anxiety, we want to remind ourselves what Scripture says about the peace we have through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:6–7) and the command to cast our cares on Him (Psalm 55:22), knowing that He is ultimately in control.
“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10
However, this does not negate our desire and responsibility to maintain safe and healthy environments across all of our campuses.
Here are some basic good practices we invite our church family to follow as advised by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue whenever you sneeze or cough and throw the tissue away.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wearing a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Here is some additional information related to the flu: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/takingcare.htm
- Additional info about Coronavirus/COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
We also want to take precautionary measures as we gather in worship.
Beginning this weekend, March 14-15, through Easter (at a minimum):
- We will take a break from doing our traditional greeting in service, and as you meet and greet people in the lobbies or worship centers feel free to pass on shaking hands or giving hugs and replacing with a smile and verbal greeting.
- We will not pass The Register in service. Instead, we want to encourage you to download the Harvest App on your mobile device and check-in through the App.
- Instead of the offering being passed in service, the offering bags will be at the doors as you exit the service. You can also give securely online through the Harvest App or on harvestbiblechapel.org.
- We will suspend the coffee/food services in our lobbies.
- All volunteers serving on the weekend will be required to wash their hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer before serving.
- Volunteer greeters will hold doors open so that you do not have to touch door handles as you make your way to the Worship Center.
- Harvest Kids team continues their on-going best-practices of keeping the Harvest Kids rooms clean, changing toys between services, and wiping down shared surfaces with child-friendly, but germ-killing solutions.
- The building services staff has increased the frequency of their cleaning cycles utilizing recommended products for disinfecting on all public areas, including bathrooms and all entrance areas.
Let’s be prayerful and practice healthy habits during this time. If the situation escalates, additional steps will be taken to continue to ensure the health and safety of people who attend Harvest Bible Chapel. Any other updates will be sent to our church family and posted to our website.
If you find yourself sick, we encourage you to join us digitally on the Harvest website. We stream our service live on Saturdays at 5:00 PM and you can watch back the service at any time on Sundays.
The Worship Night/Album Release tonight, Thursday, March 12 at 7:30 PM (doors open at 6:30 PM), will continue as scheduled at the Rolling Meadows Campus with these measures in place. This is a great opportunity to seek the Lord and bring our focus on Him. All events and ministries on our campuses will proceed as scheduled unless you hear directly from your Campus Pastor or ministry leader. We’ll also continue our time in the book of Mark in our Just Jesus series this weekend.
Lead Ministry Pastor