03 September, 2009

We Build Bridges

My last blog really upset someone. They felt like I was bashing on those who had left my church and trying to make myself look good in the process. That was not my intent, and if anyone else took it that way, please accept my apology and try to understand that I was not trying to hurt anyone but rather was trying to express that so many who leave churches, (not all, but many) do so for the wrong reasons and a very good percentage of those people end up not attending church at all.

I was speaking about this with one of the people from my church, and she suggested that I blog a bit about our church and how that we are not about causing division, but rather trying to build bridges to reach people who are unreachable. The fact is, in my time here I have taken a lot of flack from some of my fellow ministers in the community because Harvest Church has become known for being a church where anyone can attend. It has been said that our church is filled with ex-convicts, drug addicts, thieves, and so on. I stand proudly and plead "guilty" to these charges. In fact, I myself am an ex-convict, ex-thief, ex- drug addict, ex-alcoholic, and a whole lot worse. When God called me to Galesburg, I felt the mandate loud and clear that we were to build a church that will open it's doors to anyone. A fellow minister suggested years ago that I read a book, written by Jerry Cook entitled, "Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness." That book has had a huge impact on my ministry, and our approach at Harvest Church is to offer Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness to anyone and everyone, no matter where they have been or done in this journey of life. We don't sit in judgement, our approach to ministry is to build a bridge between Christ and people, regardless of their past. We are not so much interested in where people have been, but where they are going. We want them to discover love, acceptance and forgiveness from not only us... but from God who loves them so much that he gave His son, Jesus Christ for them. That cross bridged the gap between man and a Holy God.

One further note... that person who was upset with me told me that they felt like they had burned their bridges behind them, and they could not come back to Harvest Church if they wanted.
I want to go on record as saying "that just is not true!"
You see, that same "love, acceptance and forgiveness" that is offered to the the down and out, the broken and unsaved... we offer it to those who have left us... even if they feel like they have burned the bridge behind them.
Bridges can be rebuilt.

If you have left Harvest Church and felt like the bridge is gone, let me as pastor say to you... we'll help build that bridge. You will STILL find love, acceptance and forgiveness in Harvest Church.

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