Ministry on the Margins at Madison-Harvest COG

Harvest Church of God was chartered September 25, 2005. My wife Mary, my daughter Mary Beth, and I came to Madison, Virginia to plant the church. The church started as a Bible study in our home until September of 2005 when we outgrew it. We then moved to the American Legion building in Madison. We have met in three locations since our inception. God has provided for the church from the very beginning. The building and property that we now occupy is debt free.

From the start, Harvest Church has had a community mind set. We consider ourselves to be a “community church”. Our focus is to make a difference in our community by sharing Christ in both words, lifestyle and action. God has honored us with many opportunities to serve in our community and has blessed each time that we have. There are several events such as the Taste of the Mountains Street Festival, the Madison County Fair, and others that we are in each year. We always have a presence in community parades with our Harvest Express small-scale train with four cars that children ride. These are the community events that are very easy to take part in. Anyone can be a part of events like these, and should be, but what else is out there?

As pastor I take the Biblical mandate to “prepare the saints for ministry” very seriously. If they are trained, they must also be released. The church is involved in ministry in several areas that resulted from just that! Some are the “Wee Warriors” program that grew from a member’s desire to have a place for young ones to learn and play in a Christian atmosphere. It is an outreach ministry for children 2 years to school age and meets at the church. It is open to the community and has had a great impact. Another member wanted to impact our high school. For the last two years we have fed the teachers twice a year at the school. I personally go around and pray for each table as they eat. Each time, we minister to at least seventy teachers. This year another ministry arose for the school, the weekend backpack program to ensure that students have enough to eat over the weekends. God has blessed this program beyond our expectations, again a members’ vision. We have a lady who just finished chaplaincy training and has effectively become a community chaplain. Also, the Harvest Express mentioned earlier, you guessed it, a member’s dream.

I suppose what I am trying to say is to me Ministry On The Margins is about preparing the saints for ministry and releasing them. It amazes me to see what God does when we just simply follow His plan for His church. Harvest Church of God does all the other things, Sunday school, missions, youth ministry, special services and the list goes on, but the most important thing we do is getting involved in presenting Christ to our community when God honors us with a way to serve Him and them.

Harvest Church is committed to occupying the region that God has given us. We are actively repossessing it and occupying it for the Kingdom one soul at a time.

Harvest Express

Ten commandment challenge at the Taste of The Mountains Street Festival. None of these children are from our congregation. Many are from no congregation.

Madison County Fair 

Submitted by: Joseph Austin, Senior Pastor