Church Shouldn’t Suck...the Life Out of You is a humorous, inspirational book aimed to regain your fervent passion for the church. Jim Minor, senior pastor of The Harvest Church in Sarasota, Florida, offers his personal experiences of weariness and detachment from everyday church life and his journey back to a faith-filled, joyful ministry.
GOD’S VISION BRINGS HIS PROVISION
As a rule, when we are busy doing the things that God is involved in—things that are close to His heart—it places us smack-dab in the midst of His presence; and, consequently, it invokes His provision. This allows us to do things that are beyond our natural reach and outside the means of our visible resources. As a layperson or a pastor, the moment we look at what we have, in the natural, and allow that to determine what we are going to do, we’re in trouble. Relying on the external appearance of our situation closes off any hope of supernatural provision.
At The Harvest, we witness God’s miraculous provision on a daily basis. Quite simply, the things that God does in this house are not possible based on the natural.
We are a church of about four hundred people. If you visit our church on any given Sunday, you’re as likely to sit next to a county commissioner as you are to sit next to some¬one who was recently released from jail. Actually, that’s not true…you’re way more likely to sit next to someone fresh out of jail.
If you decide to visit us a second time, you’re officially a member.
Many of the people in our congregation are current or past participants in Harvest House Transitional Center, a subsidiary of our church. Harvest House offers a wide range of human service programs, including the Freedom and VETS programs, which offer residential substance abuse treatment to ninety-eight men, women, and homeless vet¬erans; Alive Again, transitional and graduate housing for our Freedom program participants; and Home Again, our newest and fastest growing program that provides hous¬ing and intense case management for chronically homeless families with children. Harvest House, along with its low-income housing programs, has a capacity of three hundred eighty beds each night. We work with all of our program participants, helping them get back on their feet after deal¬ing with legal issues, drug or alcohol addiction, homeless¬ness, or any one of a million other things life has hit them with.
These programs do not provide merely a bed for the night or a meal for the day. They are long-term, live-in pro¬grams designed to reestablish people’s footing on the firm foundation of the love of God. We feed them. We help them find work. We provide day care, transportation, and medi¬cal care, if needed.
But mainly, we just show love to people who haven’t experienced love in a long time. We allow them to believe that they are lovable, that they are worthy of being loved.
In addition, we operate the following ministries from our Sarasota campus:
• Free Indeed, our in-house food bank, which supplies a week’s worth of groceries to more than 250 local families every Thursday.
• Harvest Prayer House, where more than two dozen men and women trained in the Sozo method of healing and deliverance (more on that later) donate their time to pro¬vide free sessions of in-depth prayer for anyone who may need them.
• Acts 5th Avenue, which provides clothing, shoes, house¬hold goods, furniture, books, toys, and other essential items to families in need. If you can pay, that’s fine; if not, that’s okay, too.
• M28 Ministry School, a two-year program focused on equipping students to fulfill Jesus Christ’s vision for His church.
• Low-cost housing that is purchased, renovated, and made available to those who qualify.
• An in-house media ministry that recently produced Living Proof, a twelve-episode documentary on gaining freedom from addiction, scheduled to air on GospelTV throughout Europe.
• We cosponsor an off-site ministry school in a facility that we purchased and renovated. This two-month live-in program trains future missionaries to go forth and claim nations for the kingdom of God.
• We recently funneled more than one hundred thousand dollars to foreign missions supporting an orphanage in the Dominican Republic and a Bible College in the Philippines, and we sent a container of 10,000 pairs of shoes, a huge tent, and 50,000 meals to Africa. (More on that later, too.) Recently, we were able to purchase and renovate thirty-eight additional local housing units.
I mention all this to brag on God. It’s obviously all Him, because there is no way we could have come anywhere close to doing all of this with the money we take in. The math simply doesn’t add up in the natural world. In God’s king¬dom, however, under an open heaven, it makes perfect sense.