WHAT IS WORSHIP LIKE?
We seek to lead people further into a life-altering relationship with the living God—and our worship services reflect that. Our times of worship begin with music (mostly contemporary songs, with occasional hymns and new arrangements) and prayer, then we open God’s Word together with expository, verse-by-verse preaching.
IS THERE A PLACE FOR MY KIDS?
HarvestKids, for boys and girls from birth through fifth grade, is provided in our weekend services. We encourage you to arrive early if you are checking your child in for the first time. In HarvestKids your children will love our interactive approach to connecting them to God and His Word.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
The Lord focuses on the heart more than on the outward appearance, and so do we. You’ll find a wide variety in dress among our congregations—from casual jeans and shorts, to more formal. We simply aim to dress so as not to draw attention to ourselves, but keep the focus on Jesus Christ alone.
THE PATH OF AUTHENTIC DISCIPLESHIP COMMANDS A LIFETIME OF FOLLOWING.
Growing disciples go through a continual process—sanctification. Which simply means becoming more and more like the Lord. We like to describe that as worshipping, walking, and working for Christ. And when we become intentional about seeking to honor God in these three ways, we can’t help but become “mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28), growing deeper in our relationship with God and our relationships with others.
Disciple-making is to be worked out together in ministry to one another. We believe it’s not about one or a small number of pastors bearing the total responsibility to care for the entire congregation (Ephesians 4:11-12). Rather it’s about all disciples using their God-given spiritual gifts to provide mutual ministry in the context of a vibrant and strong local church.
Our primary means to develop these gifts and to build up and serve one another is through our Small Group Ministry. Everyone who calls Harvest their church home is strongly encouraged to take part in a small group where the Scriptures are opened, lives are shared, and prayer is upheld. Small group ministry even takes place within our student and children’s ministries. Many types and demographics of small groups are available, and new groups are continually forming.
Since making disciples is the mission of the church, all the ministries of the church must support and serve the mission. The intentional direction of our student ministry must always be the discipleship of teens. The intentional direction of our Children’s Ministry will always be the discipleship of children and families etc. We must help people grow in their commitment to Christ and the church. And this is cyclical. As people grow in their commitment to the church, their commitment to Christ should be increasing. And as they are growing in their commitment to Christ, they should become more deeply committed to the church. Harvest St. Louis South will offer a number of ministries focused on helping one another grow together as disciples of Jesus. Here are just a few we are committed to:
HIGH IMPACT WORSHIP
WORSHIPPING IN SPIRIT
At Harvest, corporate worship is highly participatory. We invite our people to worship with passion and energy. We don’t want to be lazy or lethargic when it comes time to worship. Instead, we want to be enthusiastic and demonstrative. Scripture allows for a great deal of freedom in worship (clapping, kneeling, raising hands, etc.), but we should never lose sight of the object of our worship—we worship God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Emotions are an acceptable part of worship, but should never be manipulated or fabricated. Healthy and appropriate expressions of emotion are part of what it means to worship genuinely in the Spirit.
WORSHIPPING IN TRUTH
The Bible is the ultimate authority when it comes to worship. At Harvest, therefore, we strive to worship in truth—the truth of who God is as revealed in Scripture. Strict attention is paid to theological content, ensuring that every lyric that is sung, every word spoken, and every art form expressed is biblically sound and supported. We also look to God’s Word to discern how God desires to be worshiped rather than follow the wisdom of man or the latest cultural fad.
In 1988 a group of eighteen people from across the northwest Chicago suburbs formed Harvest Bible Chapel, with twenty-seven-year-old James MacDonald as the senior pastor. As the church grew, it became apparent that it would require a larger building. In 1995, after meeting in Rolling Meadows High School for a number of years, the church obtained property at 800 Rohlwing Road in Rolling Meadows. This property has come to be known as the Rolling Meadows Campus.
The elders felt that God was leading Harvest Bible Chapel to plant churches. Still, the church was afraid to send people away, but God laid Proverbs 11:24 on the hearts of the church leaders, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer.” By faith, Harvest sent out 300 people and two pastors. The first church plant held its first service on March 12, 2000. The elders of Harvest Bible Chapel sought the Lord’s favour to plant ten churches in ten years. By October, 2012 God has blessed that desire exceedingly and abundantly beyond all could have imagined – there are now over 100 Harvests around North America and the world proclaiming the authority of God’s Word.
Harvest Bible Chapel St. Louis South started with a dream that Pastor Micah had to plant a life giving, gospel preaching, God glorifying church in St. Louis. After many years of praying and waiting, God finally confirmed His call for the Mathis family to plant a church in South County St. Louis with Harvest Bible Fellowship.
The Mathis family moved to St. Louis in December of 2014 and started sharing the vision God had given them to plant a church in south St. Louis. God quickly and faithfully started gathering together those committed to seeing a new church plant in South STL.
After two years of hard work and faithful perseverance Harvest STL South launched January 15th 2017. This is great time to get involved in the the early life of the new work. We hope you will join us as we follow the Lord and anticipate all He is going to do for His glory.
Harvest Bible Fellowship was formed in 2002 as an independent, non-profit association with a passion for Jesus Christ and a mission to act on his vision to build his church. The Fellowship plants churches and builds relationships among church leaders that edify, protect, encourage and support. The goal was to plant 10 churches by 2010. Today, over 150 Harvest Bible Chapel locations (in North America and overseas) proclaim the authority of God’s Word. We are blessed by the heritage of Harvest Bible Fellowship and their investment in helping plant our church.
We believe that local churches exist to glorify God through fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). These principles guide us as we seek to build the church:
We believe the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments to be the full record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind. Different men, while writing according to their own styles and personalities, were supernaturally moved along by the Holy Spirit to record God’s very words, inerrant in the original writings. Therefore, those applying themselves to study its literal, historical-grammatical context can accurately understand God’s Word. Scripture is fully trustworthy as our final and sufficient authority for all of life (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We believe in the one living and true God, eternally (John 17:3) existing in perfect unity as three equally and fully divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1, 26; 3:22; 11:7; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19-20). Each member of the Godhead, while executing distinct but complementary roles in redemptive history, has precisely the same nature, attributes, and being, and is equally worthy of the same glory and honor and obedience (John 1:1-4; Acts 5:3-4).
We believe God the Father created all things in six literal days for His glory according to His own will (Revelation 4:11), through His Son, Jesus Christ. He upholds all things by the Word of His power and grace, exercising sovereign headship over all creation, providence, and redemption (Colossians 1:17,Hebrews 1:3).
We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, moved by love in accordance with the will of the Father, took on human flesh (John 1:1, 14, 18). Conceived through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the virgin Mary. He, being fully God and fully man (John 14:8-9), lived a sinless life and sacrificially shed His blood and died on the cross in our place accomplishing redemption for all who place their faith in Him. He arose visibly and bodily from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven, where, at the Father’s right hand, He is now Head of His Body the Church, the only Savior and Mediator between God and man, and will return to earth in power and glory to consummate His redemptive mission (1 Timothy 3:16).
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ during this age. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He draws the unredeemed to repentance and faith, and at salvation imparts new spiritual life to the believer, bringing that person into union with Christ and the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit sanctifies, seals, fills, guides, instructs, comforts, equips, empowers, permanently indwells at salvation, and bestows spiritual gifts to the believer for Christ-like living and service (John 16:8; 13:15; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 1:22; 4:11-12; Romans 8:9-17; 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:4-5, 11-13, 19; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 2:1-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12).
We believe that God created mankind—male and female—in His own image and likeness, free of sin, to glorify Himself and enjoy His fellowship. Tempted by Satan, but in the sovereign plan of God, man freely chose to disobey God, bringing sin, death and condemnation to all mankind. All human beings, therefore, are totally depraved by nature and by choice. Alienated from God without defense or excuse, and subject to God’s righteous wrath, all of mankind is in desperate need of the Savior (Genesis 3:1-6;Romans 3:10-19; Romans 1:18, 32).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as the substitutionary atonement in our place, and that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. Before Creation, God chose those who would be saved and granted this unearned grace solely based on His sovereign good pleasure. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was the sole and complete payment for sins, fully satisfying God’s righteous wrath, for each person that turns from sin in repentance and places their faith in Christ alone by grace alone. At salvation each person is made a new creation by the Holy Spirit, declared righteous before God, and secured as an adopted child of God forever. Genuine faith continues in obedience and love for Jesus Christ with a life eager to glorify God and persevere to the end (Romans 8:37-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
We believe that upon placing one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, the believer is made part of the Body of Christ, the one universal Church, of which Jesus Christ is the Head. The Scriptures command believers to gather locally in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, fellowship, the ordinances of baptism and communion, service to the local body through the development and use of talents and spiritual gifts, and outreach to the world to make disciples (Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 2:42-46; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18-20). Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the Church under the watchful care of a plurality of elders. A church’s members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
We believe that Christian baptism is a public declaration of the believer’s salvation in Christ, identifying with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection symbolized by immersion in water. The Lord’s Supper is the united commemoration by believers of Christ’s death until He comes and should be preceded by a careful self-examination (Acts 2:41; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29).
We believe it is the aim, duty, and privilege of every believer and local church fellowship to glorify God by responding as active participants in the Great Commission call of Jesus Christ to go and make disciples of all nations. We believe the primary focus and priority of this call is centered on efforts that establish, strengthen, and reproduce biblically-based churches, which will then plant churches that plant churches for future generations and God’s glory.
We believe in and expectantly await the glorious, visible, personal, premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The blessed hope of His return has vital bearing on the personal life, service, and mission of the believer (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost. The lost will be raised to judgment and experience eternal wrath in hell. The saved will be raised to eternal joy in the new heaven and new earth in the manifested presence of God (Acts 1:3, 9;Hebrews 7:25-26).
We believe marriage is a monogamous, heterosexual union instituted and ordained by God for the purpose of glorifying God (Genesis 2:18-25; Ephesians 5:22-33). As such, it is to be an exclusive covenantal union of one man and one woman for a lifetime of mutual commitment and companionship. A civil government’s sanction of a union will be recognized as a legitimate marriage by this church only to the extent that it is consistent with this belief.
Specifically, marriage is a biblical institution established by God as clearly described in the Bible. Accordingly, this church, its pastors, staff and members will not participate in same sex unions or same sex marriages, nor shall the church’s property or resources be used in such purposes. In addition, the Bible teaches that legitimate sexual relations are exercised solely within biblical marriage.
Further, this church and its members believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homo- sexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any form of sexual activity outside of biblically defined marriage, is sinful and offensive to God.
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, all members of the church, and all who serve as volunteers in the church must abide by and agree to this statement and section on marriage and sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with the Bible nor the doctrines of the church.
Harvest is committed to the Bible’s teaching that men who hold the offices of Elder and Deacon are to oversee various functions of the local church.
The Bible’s teaching on the subject of two church offices is found in 1 Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9. Although there are three terms used for the offices of the church: bishop, elder, and deacon, analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably.
- Above reproach
- Able to teach
- Husband to one wife
- Not addicted to wine
- Not antagonistic
- Free from the love of money
- Manage own household
- Not a new convert
The Scriptures show that the elders serve by leading and that their responsibility involves the spiritual oversight of the congregation. All elders are equal in authority but not necessarily equal in influence.
The elders’ primary responsibilities include:
- Doctrine – Ensuring that the doctrine of the church is biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Board of Elders.
- Direction – Ensuring that the direction of the church is consistent with the Harvest Bible Chapel statement of purpose and the Four Pillars.
- Discipline – Administering in love and humility the process of church discipline as outlined inMatthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-4; Titus 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:17-25; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, and Romans 16:17.
Plurality of Elders
The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches (Acts 14:23;Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1). The Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor and leader. A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual giftedness, squares with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors (Proverbs 11:14;Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 24:6). This truth does not eliminate the possibility and likelihood that one or more elders will stand out from the others as more public in their ministries or more influential in their workings on the Elder Board.
The Harvest Bible Chapel Senior Pastor automatically serves as an elder and, because of his public presence and responsibility before the congregation, may be considered first among equals as a member of the Elder Board. The Senior Pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher/teacher and as a leader.
The Bible teaches that deacons lead by serving (Acts 6). The qualifications for elders and deacons are the same regarding an individual’s character, but they differ in aptitude. The elders are to be able to teach while the deacons are to be able and proved as servants.
- Individual of dignity
- Above reproach
- Not double tongued
- First tested as servants
- Not addicted to wine
- Spouses must be faithful
- Not fond of sordid gain
- Holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience
- Husband of one wife
- Manages household well
It is God’s divine decision to save a person and it is God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience that lead that person to repentance (Romans 2:4). All glory for the salvation and security of every believer belongs to God alone (Romans 3:21-31; Ephesians 1:7-9; Ephesians 2:8-9, Jude 1:24-25). We believe that everyone who is born again by the Spirit through Jesus Christ is eternally assured of salvation from the moment of conversion. This assurance relies on God’s decisive grace rather than on the works of the Christian. Obedience, good works, and fruit-bearing do not earn or retain the believer’s salvation but indicate the reality of the person’s love of Christ and profession of faith (Luke 6:46; John 14:21; James 2:17-18).
Eternal security in salvation relies on the Lord’s guarantee of each believer’s adoption as His son or daughter (Galatians 4:4-7), His seal of the believer by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14), and the conviction that God gives the Holy Spirit to each believer as a down payment toward future bliss in heaven (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). A person who professes genuine faith in Christ immediately becomes His possession (Luke 23:42-43; Acts 2:40-41; Acts 16: 30-34), and nothing can snatch that person out of His hands (John 10:27-29). Having been bought with the price of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion as complete payment for sin, Christians are not their own. They are Christ’s possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This assurance is absolutely certain, reserved in heaven, protected by God’s unlimited power (1 Peter 1:4-5).
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and that they contain all the words of God that we need in order to completely trust and obey Him. The Scriptures are inerrant in their original writings (Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16), and are infallible in their instruction (Proverbs 6:32; 2 Peter 1:19), eternal in duration (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25); the final authority and the standard for faith and practice (Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119); and sufficient for counsel in every issue of life (Psalm 19:7-14; 2 Timothy 3:16). We believe that the very words of Scripture in the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic are inspired by God. Therefore, we believe that the Bible versions which translate God’s Word most literally into modern English should be preferred.
Harvest Bible Chapel affirms the God-ordained and significant role that women should play in establishing and leading the local church. Every leadership opportunity is open to women except those that are excluded by Scripture. The Scriptures clearly state that men are to serve in the office of Elder and that women are not to serve in church positions in which they exercise authority over men or in which they teach doctrine to men (1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:6-9). We do not see this as an issue of equality, for men and women are equal under God. The Bible is clear that men and women do not have the same roles. Qualified women should serve in any leadership position that is not forbidden in the Scriptures.
The chief purpose of mankind is to glorify God by loving Him with the entire heart, soul, mind, and might (Deuteronomy 6:5; Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 22:37). All believing men, women, and children are to glorify God and thus fulfill the purpose of their existence. Worship glorifies God through adoration (Psalm 95:6), praise (Psalm 99:5), prayer (Daniel 6:10-11), thanksgiving (Nehemiah 12:46), and a complete yielding to Him (Romans 12:1). Worship declares His worth, pays Him homage, and celebrates Him in a life of devotion. We seek to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (Exodus 15:1-21; 2 Samuel 6:14-16;Psalm 5:7; John 4:23-24; Revelation 4:11; 5:12).
Several tenets guide our worship. We seek to:
- Lift high the name of Jesus Christ (John 4:22-26; John 12:32; John 14:6).
- Lead God’s people to lift their hearts and voices to Him, giving Him praise and thanks in music and lyrics (Nehemiah 12:45-46; Psalm 66:1-4; Psalm 95:1-2).
- Prepare hearts to hear the Lord speak through the proclamation of Scripture (Psalm 95:6-9;Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42).
- Emphasize fresh and contemporary expressions while retaining traditional elements that recognize the richness of our heritage in the faith (Deuteronomy 32:7; Psalm 33:3; Isaiah 46:8-9;Matthew 13:32, Ephesians 5:19; Revelation 5:9).
- Pursue excellence in worship, knowing that God is worthy of our best (Exodus 12; Deuteronomy 17:1; Psalm 33:3; 1 Timothy 4:14-15; Hebrews 11:4).