We are hoping that with this new series “The Harvesters” we will introduce you 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.”
Tell us who you are
Nathan and Alison Clark. We live and work in San Antonio, Texas.
Where are you laboring in the Harvest?
There are several facets to that! The first is Alison’s work. She is a cancer biologist at UT Health, working as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. There she has contact with everyone from security guards and housekeepers to other scientists and co-workers. The mission field is quite broad and diverse. There are Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, and all flavors of agnosticism and atheism around her all the time. There are also existing believers who she disciples as time allows.
A second facet is our work within apartment communities. First, we live in an apartment community as a part of Apartment Life, where we fulfill secular business needs and work as pseudo- undercover missionaries. We throw parties and build community. As we build relationships with our neighbors, God always opens up opportunities for us to minister to our neighbors through care and prayer. We get to meet them where they are and speak the Gospel into their lives.
Another way we work in apartment communities is through a partnership with GVA Property Management. They are owned by a passionate evangelist who wants every person working and living in every community he owns to hear the gospel. Nate is helping their corporate chaplain build an internal ministry to see this mission fulfilled! They are currently hosting bible studies in these communities specifically for staff, and also moving mission minded believers into the communities, in effect developing their own in-house version of Apartment Life.
Facet three of our labor in the harvest is Nathan’s work with inner city youth here in San Antonio. He helps an amazing organization called HIS Bridge Builders with several things, but most importantly with the young people in the community. He helps at their after school program with tutoring, and every Wednesday evening he works with young men from the community, grades k-12. Ninety percent of these young men come from fatherless homes just like Nate did. Nate and the other men who come to this weekly event are the only male role models in most of these young men’s lives. Every week they watch snippets of the Bible series and discuss it, and they’re currently memorizing the Lord’s prayer.
Facet four of our ministry is our work with the No Place Left Network and e3 Partners here in San Antonio. This aspect of our work feeds into and fuels everything else. When we share the gospel, disciple other believers, and engage in church in the harvest, we primarily use No Pace Left tools. We also have a heavy focus on training and equipping other believers to do what we’re doing as well. Nate is one of the city leaders in San Antonio, and is e3’s only national staff member in the city. In this facet we are primarily in low income, Section 8 type communities.
How did your work come about?
Amazingly enough, the story behind all these streams goes back to one person: Ben Hanna.
We got invited to a house church Ben was leading, and we got plugged in and began living in a missional way.
We started sharing the gospel, winning people to the Lord, discipling them, and doing church. Ben told us about Apartment Life and encouraged us to apply.
He also introduced us to John Williams, who is on staff with e3 Partners as their Uganda strategy coordinator. He sponsored Nathan to come on staff.
Note from the Editor: We think this is an amazing example of the influence just one believer can have on a community!
What is the hardest thing about being in your harvest place?
One of the hardest things for us is seeing so little fruit for our efforts. Whether we’re working in low income housing or training existing believers, it’s quite frustrating. We need more laborers sharing the gospel in the harvest, but more importantly, we need them to be willing to stay put and disciple new believers as well.
What has surprised you the most about being Jesus to people in everyday places?
We’ve always been surprised at how easy it is! The gospel does the work! It’s all Romans 1.16. You don’t need to be a pastor or to have gone to seminary. You don’t have to be a theologian or be full of knowledge and engage in apologetics. You just have to be faithful to share the gospel.
What has encouraged you the most about your work (in the harvest)?
We’ve enjoyed being part of all different types and flavors of ministry! There’s something for everyone! You don’t have to be a Billy Graham to do ministry, and you don’t necessarily have to be apostolic either! You can just be yourself! You just need to live in an intentional way, and be prepared!
Do you do church in the harvest? How does that look different/the same as what we traditionally see as church today?
We absolutely do church in the harvest! And we LOVE it! It does look different. Almost 100%. We don’t have a sanctuary with impeccable acoustics, an expensive sound system, a light show, or a really talented band. Nor do we have a dynamic, charismatic pastor who stands on a pulpit and delivers a sermon. There are definitely no ushers, pews, or hymnals. There’s no parking lot ministry team to help you find a parking space and direct traffic. All these things melt away…
This is what it DOES look like though. Close your eyes and think about a room… maybe it’s your living room? Maybe it’s a community room? A dining room? The floor might be linoleum or tile or wood or carpet. There is almost always couches. There’s probably snacks and maybe even an meal. The sound system for praise and worship might be a smart TV with YouTube, or it’s maybe a Bluetooth speaker and someone has printed the songs. Or maybe just the songs are printed and you get to praise a capella.
You sit next to your favorite people in the world in this room and you talk about how your week’s been. You reflect on goals you set, you pray with each other about hardships. Maybe someone needs anointing with oil and for the group to lay hands on them? You open up the bible and all read a passage together and then discuss it. You might go freestyle or ask topical questions to guide the conversation.
All the sudden your friend that doesn’t talk a lot shares something you didn’t think about and the Holy Spirit dumbfounds you… then someone else shares and it happens again. Then a newer person who is young in their faith GETS it!
After all this breakthrough conversation, you and your friends talk about goals that you have for the coming week. You’re all trying to allow the Scripture to impact how you live your life. You pray together to close the time… then the next thing you know its 1 am and you’ve been chilling and talking and sharing life for 4 hours…
That’s kinda what church in the harvest is like for us!