We hope that with this series of interviews, “The Harvesters” you will be introduced to many different followers of Jesus who are striving to make disciples of Jesus out in the world; whether you’re in the military, a missionary, a scientist, a stay-at-home parent or anything else under the sun. Check out the full series here and may you be encouraged to do likewise in your own “fields of harvest.”
Where is your family laboring in the Harvest?
We live in a suburban neighborhood of 700 homes in North County San Diego, CA and see it as our mission field.
What type of people are you reaching for Jesus?
The demographics of our neighborhood are upper/middle-class families with at least some exposure to cultural Christianity and/or Catholicism.
How did that come about (is there a story there?)
When our family moved into our neighborhood 3 years ago, we began praying for God to help us love our neighbors and build genuine relationships. We began with finding simple, fun ways to meet our neighbors and get to know them. Within the first few weeks of moving in we hand delivered baked cookies to everyone on our street to introduce ourselves. I also joined a monthly neighborhood ladies bunco game night where I met several neighbor ladies. Three of those ladies I got to know from Bunco were open to reading the Bible and we’ve been meeting regularly now for over 2 years in a Discovery Bible Study Group at one of their homes.
It’s been a joy to watch them come to know God, receive the gospel, fall in love with Jesus and grow as disciples! Along the way my family has also hosted seasonal front yard parties like an ice-cream social, potluck, happy hour, and s’mores night to continue meeting and building relationships with neighbors. We’d have 20-30 neighbors show up each time and they really enjoyed hanging out and getting to know one another more. Several neighbors shared of their desire for community and were thankful for the opportunity to get to know neighbors in this way. Two families loved it so much they joined with us to host a progressive dinner (one house for appetizers, one house for main meal, one house for dessert). People loved it!
I have the original group of ladies that I’ve been discipling, but over the past year I’ve led another neighbor to Christ who has joined our gathering, My family also hosted a Christmas dessert where 5 neighbor families came to our home to read the Christmas Bible story with us! We are praying this gathering continues and is used by God to bring many more to Him! I wrote a blogpost titled “Loving Your Neighbor: 10 Practical Ways to Live Out the Great Commandment and Commission” if you’d like to read more.
What is the hardest thing about being in your harvest place?
We’ve encountered 3 main challenges in our context. 1) Isolation from meaningful relationships 2) busy schedules and 3) disenchantment with religion and traditional church.
What has surprised you the most about bringing Jesus to people in everyday places?
We’ve found that people are more spiritually open than we thought, but just don’t want to go to church because of their past. We’ve also seen that even though there is a culture of isolation and busyness, people truly desire deep meaningful relationships in the context of community.
What has encouraged you the most about your work (in the harvest)?
I have been so encouraged watching God move in the hearts of the neighbor women I’ve been discipling. As we read scripture together, hearts are transformed, and lives are changed. They’ve shared with me how thankful they are for our gathering and how much they’ve grown to love God. We’ve seen so many answers to prayer and seek to love our community together. It is incredible to be a part of this team.
Do you do church in the harvest? How does that look different/the same as what we traditionally see as church today?
The ladies I disciple gather weekly to care for one another’s needs, read the Word and apply it to our lives, hold one another accountable to obedience, take the Lord’s supper, worship and seek to share what we’ve learned from scripture with people in our lives. They’ve also invited their families to gather all together on Sunday afternoons at our home for a Discovery Bible Study which we pray will lead to several neighbor families following Jesus together in community. Our mission is to make disciples who make disciples and one of the outcomes of doing that is church planting, which we’ve believe we are seeing God do right in our own neighborhood.