27 August 2011

10 years onward

 This month celebrates a decade in the Go for me. And likewise it is also the 10 year anniversary of Harvest Community Church- one the big reasons I found my way up here.
Let me recount the early days of my time here and especially related to this church I aided in starting.
Things were not going well in the Twin Cities where I worked- they could not afford to keep me on board. Well that opened a few possibilities. I accepted the invitation to join a group of U of M Morris grads in pioneering a new church in Fargo, North Dakota.

I took a summer training course in Morris and then moved up to Fargo- with no job and little money. I was pretty distressed and took up running.
The first meeting of the church was in an apartment a few blocks away from where I now work. I eventually ended up living in the apartment but that was after the church changed locales- first to NDSU then to the basement of the Black Building. Harvest stayed in the Black Building spot for a few years. It wasn't the greatest space but was workable. The photo with the chairs and the guitar player is from the Black Building days. There was this lip in the front of the room which was at about 6'2" and made being up front awkward.
We wanted to get out of the basement since it provided little visual presence in the community. We found a spot a few blocks away at 608 Main Ave. After cleaning and painting we moved into the vastly larger space.
Over the years there has been plenty of remodeling. The storefront was redone and the metal awning removed; new carpet installed; lobby furniture added; and finally newer and comfortable chairs.
Of course I am glossing over plenty of history. We have done outreaches into the community, to the homeless shelter and the Perry Center. We also are involved with world missions in numerous places around the world including Kenya, Russia, and Ireland. I recall one summer when about 80% of the members were involved in some world mission project.
Then are some memorable things I recall- the police coming to investigate a noise complaint on Sunday morning, over 8 Christmas "Radio Show" programs produced, sending our first full time missionary out, Albert Svenddal visiting and playing his lap steel one Sunday, moving the credenza, and making videos starring Nathan and Aric and the elders.
But most of all I recall all the relationships that have come about through Harvest. There is nothing like a going out with a troupe from Harvest after church or staying in and having smorgasbord. If there is anything Harvest is good at is being authentic.
Now just 3 of the original 13 are left but don't let that dismay you. That's rather atypical- usually no originals remain after 5 years.
So have we learned anything in 10 years? I am sure we have. It think it may be something we had not set out to learn in the first place. Perseverance.
Sure there have been setbacks and challenges. We came into the community with virtually no connections. And then we discovered those least expected connections. We are still learning- learning to lean on Jesus and abide in him. The good things won't just appear because of some nifty gimmick but because we cultivate the presence of God in the community. Likewise, the Master Gardener is tending and pruning us so that we may be fruitful.
 

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