“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
In this unprecedented season, we’re especially grateful for so many things. We want to focus on a few.
Thank you to the staff of Harvest Bible Chapel for leading us through these uncertain days. Thank you for your continued commitment to the Lord as you lead us in the worship of God’s Son each weekend through the power of God’s Spirit as we study God’s Word together—online from our homes. We’re thrilled to see how the staff has creatively found ways to keep our church connected. From Harvest Students to Harvest Kids to small groups and more. Our ministry staff is serving our church and community in so many ways. For ways you can stay connected, go to Harvest at Home.
We also want to thank the Harvest Christian Academy staff for adapting quickly and leading the HCA families in online learning and assisting parents as they now host school at home.
Though the doors of our campuses remain closed until at least the end of April, we’re so encouraged by what God has done with our weekend services online. In our first three weekends online, God expanded our reach beyond our six campuses. We are so encouraged by the number of worshipers viewing our online services across multiple digital platforms—more than 5,000 unique devices logged on to our services each weekend. By God’s grace, church “attendance” at Harvest is strong and growing!
Our IT team reports that people watched our services from literally across the country and around the world—Chicago to Los Angeles to Spain to South Africa to Australia to Japan. Additionally, we know, based on the response, that at least 26 people made decisions to follow Jesus as their Savior. Thank God for His good work of drawing people to Himself through His Word by His Spirit!
GRACE IS ON OUR SIDE
Our worship ministry, Vertical Worship (VW), released a new album on Friday, March 13 and we started “shelter in place” in Illinois on March 14. Since that time, Grace is on Our Side, has been streamed over three million times! For context, that exceeds the number of times that the album VW released in 2017 has been streamed to date. Only God could do this.
Many of you asked how Harvest is doing financially in these difficult days in our community, country, and world. We thank God for your continued, faithful giving. In the kindness of the Lord, our weekly giving is coming in at about 75% of the budget.
Our operations leaders are now in a position to submit an application for our participation in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that became law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act is designed to help protect jobs and is available to churches and not-for-profit organizations. We are praying that God uses this provision to help fill the gap between or giving and our budget in this season.
Additionally, our Finance Committee just released our February 2020 financial update. You can view it on our website here.
EXPANDED ELDER BOARD
Finally, we want to welcome our four new lay elders: George Michaelides from Deerfield Road, Michael Smith from Aurora, Rich DeLage from Crystal Lake, and Rob Hamann from Rolling Meadows. We thank God for these men and we welcome your prayers for us as we lead our church together (from our homes) for His glory.