God Finishes What He Begins
When our family walked through the doors of Marshall Middle School that first time back in 2013 to worship with our soon-to-be Harvest family, we were greeted with warmth and genuineness. Our first encounter with Harvest Bible Chapel came during a cafeteria service. At the time, we didn’t know that there was normally an auditorium service on most Sundays. We left on that particular morning with the 'wow’ feeling. It was bare bones, no frills, kinda raw authentic worship... just singing to God at the top of our lungs and hearing from God through His Word, on the edge of our cafeteria table seats. No gimmicks, nothing fancy... just real. It was something that we had desired to be a part of for such long period of time.
We loved the simplicity. We loved getting to know these special people as we set up for each service. It actually felt kind of good knowing that we were ‘serving’ and that we didn’t have to worry about the maintenance of our own building. It was a pleasure to unpack boxes and set up before the service and to tear down and pack up those same boxes.
But as time passed, in the back of my mind I knew that this was a temporary thing. It wasn’t a reasonable expectation that we would be doing this forever. It reminded me so much of the children of Israel moving the tabernacle. Faithful people of God, setting up, tearing down. Setting up, tearing down. I never heard anyone at Harvest complaining about it. It was a joy to labor together.
As the weeks turned into months, I started to wonder what it would be like to have our own facility. How much more effective would we be as a church body? How many more people could we reach? How much more ministry could be done? I started to pray for a new place to worship. And I was not the only one praying!
I would drop our kids off at Covenant church next door to our rented space for youth group and head over to Panera for two hours to wait for them where I’d meet up with Mike Gates who had just dropped his kids off at the same youth group. We would sit and talk about so many of the things of our great church. We would share our dreams of maybe having our own building someday. A handful of times we would spend those 2 hours driving up and down Route 19 through Wexford, through Cranberry, through Thorn Hill Industrial Park, just looking for any possibilities. I would spend hours surfing all the local commercial real estate web sites. It didn’t look like it was going to be easy to find a suitable place for our purposes. I was praying, Mike was praying, Pastor Jeff was praying, the elders were praying... the guys from our partner church at Harvest Pittsburgh East were praying with us. I knew God was listening!
When Mike found the ‘theater room’ across from Northway church, my initial thought was ‘oh, this is too good to be true... it’s probably way too expensive’! Then when I looked at the photos on the real estate website, my next thought was ‘oh, the place looks too small’. As Christians, we are supposed to walk by faith and not by sight, but I needed to see the space with my own two eyes. Walking into the room for the first time, I once again was pummeled with doubt, thinking that the room was too small. Then, as the property manager mentioned possibly removing some glass panels that were used to create a half-round room in the middle of the theater area, it suddenly occurred to me that this room wasn’t as small as it looked. The possibilities now became endless in my mind. Turning the chairs a certain way and moving the platform made it very feasible to conduct a worship service here! By the end of our first visit to the building I was convinced that with a few tweaks this was a very workable space for the current size of our church. This impression has been confirmed by the other elders and I have not had one check in my spirit about this being the right thing to do. God is answering our prayers about a building in a big way right before our very eyes.
God has always been faithful... even when we have not been. He brought us to this point... through valleys and seeming defeat... over mountains and sure victories... and so I have every reason to believe He will take us the rest of the way. We won’t be in this new building forever, but God is putting us in it for this time in our church’s life. One of my prayers recently is that we would outgrow this space quickly! We have a great opportunity to do ministry in exciting ways that we’ve not been able to do yet. If we set the Lord before us... and fix our eyes upon him... if we jump out in faith... if we’re obedient... and trust Him for the results, we will see amazing things happen. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Visit theNext3 page to stay updated on the building move and continued growth of our church to bring disciples to Christ in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.