Updated: Sep 24, 2022
There has been a family coming to Harvest lately that I just recently got to know. I asked them, “What made you decide to pick Harvest?” They replied, “Our kids. They love their Sunday classes. Each week they ask us, ‘Are we going back to church?’ They always have something to say about what they learned and talked about.”
It feels good to hear an answer like that, because there’s a reproduction crisis in the American church. That’s an odd phrase, but it’s the phrase Christianity Today uses to describe the trend of decreasing church attendance and involvement, especially for those 30 and under.
The reproduction crisis is real. The church has work to do and we’re doing it – and celebrating it. We baptized 18 teenagers this summer. We officiated five baby dedications. We had 265 kids attending Vacation Bible School this summer, 65 percent of those were from outside our church! We offered two camps for our middle school and high school kids in the Beartooths where 47 made a decision to follow Jesus. I just received an email from a 12-year-old last week asking how he could start volunteering at the church on Sundays (when I was 12, the only thing I cared about was finding a donut at church). The reproduction crisis is real, and we will not be discouraged in our efforts to prepare the next generation of Jesus followers.
Pastor Adam Barton
Read on for more great news about the last few months at Harvest:
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL: We did our first VBS in August and it was the absolute greatest! We averaged 260 kids each day and they ended up raising about $3,000 to build a playground in Ethiopia. It was such a joy to us being able to provide them with a week full of food, crafts, games, music, dancing, Jesus, and FUN. MORE PHOTOS
BACK-TO-SCHOOL FAIR: It was a huge success! On August 13, we served more than 1,500 people, gave away nearly 750 backpacks, and gave about 160 kids free haircuts. We also had free vision exams, vaccinations, and community partners with giveaways and helpful information. Kids also received an outfit for the first day of school. Thanks to the generosity of community partners, donors, and our congregation, this year we were able to give away lunchboxes and water bottles too! It was an awesome day of volunteering and loving on our community! MORE PHOTOS
TEE IT UP FORE TEENS: In June, Harvest Students hosted its first Tee It Up Fore Teens golf tournament. Eighty eight players (22 teams) participated, spread out across 18 holes at Lake Hills Golf Course. The event raised $7,000, which was enough to send 18 students to summer camp, giving them connection, support, and tools to grow in Christ and as young adults. This will likely become an annual event. Keep an eye out for registration in Spring! MORE PHOTOS
MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMP: Harvest Church fully orchestrated a camp for 6th-8th graders at Beartooth Christian Camp in July called Uncharted: Making the Unknown Known. Our tweens and teens engaged in small groups, awesome worship services, inspiring teaching by Brandon Anderson, horseback riding, and other activities in the great outdoors. The best part: 27 kids gave their lives to the lord! Second-best part: Pastor Chad riding into the main hall on horseback. MORE PHOTOS
NEW MIDDLE SCHOOL PASTOR: You might remember hearing Brandon Anderson preach at Harvest a couple times recently. That's because he was checking out Harvest, and we were checking him out! We're excited to announce it's a match! He will be here Oct. 3 to lock arms with Pastor Chad and boost the already growing momentum in our Student ministry. Brandon is married to Morgan (Moe) and has two kids he lovingly refers to as Bear and Bam. He comes to us from Cleo, Mississippi, where he was on staff at Journey Church for nearly a decade as a student pastor and worship leader.
A NEW KEYS PLAYER: Hooray for budding band members! Sixth grader Rosemary Staley, age 11, joined the Harvest Students worship band in August and did a great job playing keys on Rattle, Graves into Gardens, and Same God. We're thrilled when young'uns show an interest in learning how to lead worship. If you know a tween or teen who has instrumental or vocal skills, encourage them to fill out this form!
We added gravel, resurfaced, and made several updates to our playground outside. It was a ton of work in the heat of summer! This was a much-needed improvement for an area that gets used frequently by the staff daycare, our preschool, and Harvest Kids.
BOLIVIA: Our team of 11 served alongside college students in the ministry City of Refuge, which is like a mini-Harvest Church in the center of Cochabamba, Bolivia, to provide help for battered women's shelters, the homeless, and a community that lives off the city trash dump.Photos: Left – Ethiopian girls. Right – Global Outreach Director Lacey Maloney and her son Sawyer served in Ethiopia this summer.
Global Outreach Director Lacey Maloney and her son Sawyer served in Ethiopia this summer.
ETHIOPIA: Harvest will plant help three churches in Ethiopia this year become Compassion Projects. That means 250 kids from each project will receive medical check ups, school uniforms and supplies, and their school fees paid for the upcoming year.
Evangelizing the Army
Through August, 153 people have become new Christians. Many have received a new Harvest Bible and have sat down for coffee with staff to talk more about their faith decision. Joe made it back from his summer Army training in Louisiana where he ministered to over 500 soldiers. As seen here, Joe shared the Bible over 40 times in various settings. Joe says, "Thank you, Harvest, for all the prayers."
We hosted our 21st 4th of July event Celebrate Freedom this year, and it might just have been the biggest crowd and the best fireworks yet! We moved the fireworks launch zone down to the old racetrack, and people who watched near the plaza got a bonus reflection view that was beautiful. There was a clown, a fantastic band, and lots of food trucks. The evening was pretty darned perfect! MORE PHOTOS
Movie in the Park
This summer our students voted for their favorite movies to create our latest installment of the Harvest at the Movies sermon series. Their picks were Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Spider-Man No Way Home, Free Guy, and The Greatest Showman. To celebrate the series, we hosted a community event at Castle Rock Park in partnership with Firefly Outdoor Movie Company and several food trucks, and the feature film was The Greatest Showman. MORE PHOTOS
This was Harvest’s biggest DADCAMP season to date with five weekends, hosting over 135 Dads and their kids, including our first ever Middle School weekend. We had Dads travel from all over Montana (Whitehall, Lewistown, Bozeman, Helena, etc) and even some out of staters from Wyoming, Utah, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. We hear time and again that Dads love it and kids crave it. MORE PHOTOS
Our website has been rebuilt! Some of our favorite things about the new site:
A lot more information about each ministry, past and present community projects, and services we offer.
A new calendaring tool that lets you add Harvest events straight to your personal calendar.
News, updates, and ministry blogs.
Better access to Harvest's history and archives.
An entertaining staff directory!
Check it out at harvestchurch.tv
👍 161 children were sponsored by Harvest families on Compassion Weekend. 👍 5th and 6th graders put together 75 care packages for the homeless. 👍 Pastor Joe and his wife, Robin, hosted 14 people at the New Guest dinner in April.
👍 44 Harvest Preschool students shared their memorized Bible verse, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.'"