Updated Friday, April 10, 2020, 10:00 pm
Harvest Church will NOT have Sunday services at the church until further notice.
We will offer a live stream at all regular service times.
Stay tuned for updates.
April 10, 2020
Dear Harvest Family & Family,
Isn't it nice to be prepared? Lots of us are using Zoom to stay connected with our small groups and to do meetings for work. A few months ago Zoom had 10 million users. Now they have 200 million. Wouldn't you like to have purchased some Zoom stock in December??
Wimbledon is canceled. The All England Lawn Tennis Association, which organizes the Wimbledon tennis tournament, has been paying $2 million a year for the last 17 years for "pandemic insurance." Pandemic insurance! $34 million for something most of us never even think about. The insurance policy will pay them a cool $141 million! It is good to be prepared.
But to paraphrase Jesus (Mark 8:36) "What good is it for someone to have lots of toilet paper, yet lose their soul?" I'm hoping and praying that this season of difficult, duress, fear, and sadness causes people everywhere to consider their soul — and God's love and provision through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. Preparation is everything!
Our church is working hard to both be in the present and be prepared for the future. Here's my weekly update on a few things:
Church is not canceled! The building is closed, but you can't close the church. The church will gather around the world this Sunday online. Harvest will meet at our usual times of 8:30 am, 10 am, and 11:30 am. I hope you'll join us at harvestchurch.tv/live. The music will be uplifting, Olaf will be spoofed, and the sermon is about how, in the midst of disease transmission, to have a clean conscience.
For your nourishment, you can hear from some of our pastors all week long on Facebook:
- Cuppa Joe - Start your day in Proverbs and Psalms with Pastor Jo. Posted every morning at 6 am.
- Adam's Lunch Bunch - Tune in for a midday, live devotional with Pastor Adam and special guests.
- Quarantine Sessions - Wind down each evening with acoustical encouragement from Pastor Jeromy.
Stay connected! The Governor's stay-at-home directive has been extended for another two weeks. We still need to be connected with each other. The best way to do that is with a Harvest Group. If you're not already in a group, join Pastor Alex Sunday at 12:30 pm or Tuesday at 6:30 pm on Zoom. Or, head over to harvestchurch.tv/groups for other options.
Attention parents: Live worship services are available for both kids and students. Kids' services are every Sunday, following all adult services at harvestchurch.tv/kidsonline. Students gather virtually on Wednesday at 7 pm at harverstchurch.tv/students.
If you need anything, please contact us at email@example.com and we will respond.
Happy Easter. He is risen!
Preparing ... and love you,
April 3, 2020
Dear Harvest Family & Family,
I spoke this week to the wife of a physician. She described his elaborate disinfecting regimen when he gets home from work before he can greet her and the children. It was both inspiring and heartbreaking, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for their sacrifice and bravery. Please help our medical professionals, and their families, and your fellow humans, by being smart and courteous. In the words of our wise facilities manager, "Don't grab a doorknob and lick your hand." It's not that hard. :) You guys, we can do this. We are going to be okay. Let's trust God and help each other. And let's not give up meeting together however we can.
We are meeting online again this Sunday at 8:30 am, 10 am, and 11:30 am. Join us at harvestchurch.tv/live.
Today and all week long, if you need info or if there is anything we can do to help you, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three important areas of our ministry and service to you and the community:
- Harvest Groups - We have multiple options for people to get connected right now. Pastor Alex is hosting virtual groups on Zoom on Sunday at 12:30 pm and Tuesday at 6:30 pm. There are also other existing groups ready to accept people. All information is available at harvestchurch.tv/groups.
- Harvest Kids - Live, interactive broadcast following all Sunday adult services Additional resources for videos and activities are emailed every Sunday. All info, including access to live services, available at harvestchurch.tv/kidsonline.
- Harvest Students - Premiering a new video message every Wednesday at 7 pm on the Harvest Students YouTube channel. Small group leaders are connecting with their students. All information and link to the weekly message available at harvestchurch.tv/students.
Today in our Zoom staff meeting we talked about the oft mentioned Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." We agreed that though God sometimes does that all by Himself (because He can - and usually through His Word), usually God is going to show His strength and help through others. So, if you need strength and help, ask for it. If you have an opportunity to be strength and help to someone else, do it. We are trusting God and trusting you ... in that order!
P.S. Look fo our full page "thank you" in the Gazette and across social media starting Sunday. Post a photo of your medical loved ones on Facebook or Instagram and tag it #BillingsMedicalKicksGlutes so we can pray for them.
March 27, 2020
Dear Harvest Family & Family,
I ate broccoli today. I hate broccoli. But Dr. Sears said one fo the very best things we can do to protect ourselves from COVID-19 is to eat healthy and exercise. So, I ate my broccoli. I'm taking this thing seriously!
And we are taking this seriously at Harvest Church. Here are a few things I'd like you to be aware of.
We are complying with Governor Bullock's "Hunker Down" order, so our offices will be closed until April 13 (of course we will adjust to any new information or orders).
If you have any hesitation or cynicism about the "stay at home" order, please read Dr. Lammer and Dr. Allen's open letter to the Gazette from March 25. It's easily the best thing I've read regarding what we should be doing during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read it HERE.
As a church we do participate in some things that are considered "essential services," and those will continue. We will continue to produce a Sunday worship service to be shown online. We will also help people by all means possible.
- If you need help, please email us at email@example.com.
- To participate with us online, go to harvestchurch.tv/live or just go to our homepage and click the "online broadcast" link. Services are broadcast at 8:30 am, 10 am, and 11:30 am. If it glitches on you (because last week all the churches broadcasting online broke the internet!), please refresh the browser. It will come back up or it will redirect to another video where you can find the point where the broadcast was interrupted and continue watching.
Parents! How ya' doin'?! We are praying for you, and our Kids department is staying in touch and helping as much as possible. Keep an eye out for a weekly email from Claire and Darian. New this week: Harvest Kids will host a live, interactive broadcast immediately following our regular services. Go to harvestchurch.tv/kidsonline to join. You'll also find content you might find helpful as you help your children trust God and grow in Christ during these days.
If you are feeling isolate and aren't in a Harvest Group, you can try one out this week. Join our virtual group at 12:30 pm, immediately following our last service. Go to harvestchurch.tv/virtualgroup.
This week I had a guy drop in for a brief interaction. We cautiously but warmly bumped elbows. We talked about the challenges and uncertainty he faces in his business. He then handed me a check written to Harvest for $5,000. With some emotion he told me how grateful he is for our church in his life and his family's life; how grateful he is for God's love and provision. It was a powerful and worshipful moment as he was both thanking God and trusting his church to steward his gift for God's glory and the good of our community. We can do this, you guys! The Church is going to rise, and God is going to be exalted, and we shall be the conduit through which His blessing flows to our community.
Psalm 145:18 is true: "The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth."
Call on Him. And eat your broccoli.
March 19, 2020
Dear Harvest Family and Friends,
Let's start with a photo!
This is some of our staff on a "Zoom" call Wednesday morning. We were touching base, answering questions, and planning ahead. And we prayed! In this photo you can see that Kayla (bottom center) is praying, as is everybody else. So what in the world is Alex doing??? He is SO much nicer, and reverent, and not-creepy in real life!
Your church staff loves you and we are working hard every day to meet needs, defeat fear, be an encouragement, and discern God's best for our whole church. We are striving every hour to fulfill God's call for our church in new ways and under challenging circumstances. No matter what, we are going to love one another and spur one another on to love and good deeds. God is good, and we can trust Him.
Here are a few things to be aware of:
We want families to continue growing spiritually, connecting with each other, and learning about God even when we can't physically be together on a Sunday morning. Harvest Kids will send a weekly email to families (who have checked their children into a Harvest Kids Sunday service) with links to our weekly Bible story video, activities to do together at home that reinforce the story, the monthly memory verse, and other parent resources. We will keep working to bring you even more tools to keep Sunday teaching alive throughout the week for your children.
Our student ministry (grades 6-12) is recording a weekly message for students to watch online. They will regularly receive invites to engage with us. Oh look, there's Kayla now (are those pajamas?)!
Student small groups will maintain contact through text chats, online resources and leaders personally contacting students.
Speaking of small groups: We used to say, "keep meeting in your small groups." Like most everything else, that changed. We are now encouraging virtual connection through "Zoom." Alex and Katrina will be communicating with coaches and leaders. If you are not in a Harvest Group, this is actually a good time to get started as we are planning a weekly online Harvest Group. Contact Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Events & Classes
If you were a part of an ongoing event (Designed, God's Storyline, FPU, Alpha, etc.) look for more info in the next few days about how we will proceed.
Harvest Church is "Community Focused" and now more than ever. One of the most vulnerable populations in our homeless and especially our teenagers. We partner closely with Tumbleweed, and I am asking you to help. As you'd figure, the food pantry is being depleted rapidly. Every summer we fill it. But the need is now. So, please see the "item ideas" and bring food items to the church lobby over the next couple of days or go straight to Tumbleweed (drop off hours are Monday-Friday, 1-3 pm). Thank you!
Financially, this is a vulnerable time. Most of us are a little nervous and wary right now ... or darn right scare! Some of us have already lost income and/or employment. We see you and we feel it and we are praying and figuring out how we can help. Your church is planning ahead even now so we can help people as much as God will allow. Everybody, please be thoughtful and gracious with those who are struggling.
Please join us online for church services this Sunday at 8:30 am, 10 am, or 11:30 am. I'll address some things on my heart, we will worship, dive more into Hebrews, and we will defeat fear together.
That's enough for now. Thanks for making it all the way through this. I'll stay in touch.
March 14, 2020
Dear Harvest Family,
Well, darn. Earlier today we told you we were having services tomorrow but would update you if anything changes. Things changed. Harvest Church will NOT be having services Sunday, March 15 at our physical location. We WILL be having services online at 8:30 am, 10 am, and 11:30 am.
We have been monitoring COVID-19 closely and heeding the prudent and loving advice of our medical professionals. The considerable medical and anecdotal information makes it wise for us to no put more people at risk by having a large gathering. This is not about fear, but actually about loving and protecting one another.
I'm really bummed because I was looking forward to being with you Sunday morning and worshiping and learning together. I feel like we need each other more than ever. We'll stay the course online and get back together as soon as possible. And, I was going to give you an "anchor" (temporary) tattoo this Sunday. I'll save it for the next time we are together. The key verse Sunday is, appropriately, Hebrews 6:19 which says, "We have this home as an anchor for the should, firm and secure." Hope is encouraging and we can have hope that God keep His promises to us. We can trust Him.
I love you and hope to be together soon. In the meantime, please join us Sunday morning online.
Encouraged by Hope,
March 14, 2020
We sent an email out yesterday afternoon, and at the time, there were no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Montana, much less Yellowstone County. As I'm sure you know, that is no longer the case, now with four presumed cases in the state of Montana.
We have been in discussion with health officials this morning and feel comfortable moving ahead with our plans to hold church services with our previously stated precautions you can find at harvestchurch.tv. We are monitoring the situation hourly and will update you if anything changes. If you are comfortable attending, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow at one of our three services at 8:30, 10:00 or 11:30 am.
March 13, 2020
Dear Church Family,
The note in yesterday's "Virus prep at Harvest Church" email included a line that we're canceling church until 2021. To be clear, Vern was joking (for those of us not up on today's slang, "JK" means "Just Kidding"). We WILL have church services this weekend, along with most large churches in Billings, and will evaluate each week as we learn more about the Coronavirus and the eventual impact in the Billings area.
We will communicate weekly for the foreseeable future our plans for church services via multiple communication channels (email, text messaging, social media). In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you at our 8:30, 10:00, or 11:30 am services this Sunday!
March 12, 2020
Dear Harvest Family,
One of the central teachings of the Bible is that God is sovereign. Sovereignty just means that God is all-powerful and is the ruler of all things — He is in complete control of His universe. It doesn’t mean He controls all things, but that He is in control of all things. Even the coronavirus.
As of this writing, COVID-19 (a.k.a. the coronavirus) hasn’t hit our part of the country yet, even though Montana is now under a state of emergency. They say it’s inevitable, so we are just going to be proactive about it: Church is canceled until 2021, but you’ll get credit for going! Congratulations. Best church attendance ever!(just kidding)
At Harvest, we strive for a safe and welcoming environment. We are disinfecting everything, and we aren’t going to make you shake hands if you don’t want. For the extra germaphobic, we don't 2 Corinthians 13:12!
So, keep coming to church. The building will be clean, the children’s rooms and toys will be disinfected, and we won’t put sick people in your face. But we will gather to worship and learn and trust. God is sovereign. Interestingly, I have a friend who works with underground (illegal) churches in a large communist country. The coronavirus has allowed those churches to flourish and grow because the government has stopped persecuting churches while they are trying to get a handle on the virus. God is sovereign. You can trust Him.
How we are being proactive
Frequent and intensive cleanings in our kids, students, and adult worship venues.
Handles, railings, and doors will be routinely sprayed and wiped down with disinfectant.
All kids will receive hand sanitizer when they enter their classrooms.
While our Guest Services teams usually greet you with a friendly smile and a handshake, they will be greeting you with a warm smile and a wave for the upcoming weeks.
If you, your child, or a member of your family is feeling sick, we ask that you stay home and catch the sermon on our website.