Beginning in September 1988, Harvest Bible Chapel met in a conference room with 18 followers of Jesus Christ who wanted a different kind of church in the Chicago area—a church where Christ would be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth. God led them to call 27-year-old James MacDonald to be their pastor in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. By God’s hand, Harvest Bible Chapel has grown into a healthy, functioning fellowship of over 13,000 individuals on multiple Chicagoland campuses. In 2000, Harvest Bible Fellowship launched a church-planting initiative that has led to a growing number of churches throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Romania, Liberia, and even in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." 2 Timothy 4:2
"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:23-24
"pray without ceasing," 1 Thessalonians 5:17
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
WORSHIP • WALK • WORK
The path of authentic discipleship is a lifetime of following Jesus Christ more consistently and closely.
Growing disciples go through a continual process called sanctification, which simply means becoming more and more like our Lord. We like to describe that as worshiping, 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. Rather it's about all disciples using their God-given spiritual gifts to provide mutual ministry to build each other up, all in the context of a vibrant and strong local church (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Our primary means to develop our gifts, and to minister to one another is through Harvest Groups. Everyone who calls Harvest their church home is strongly encouraged to take part in a Harvest 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 Harvest Groups are available, and new groups are continually forming. We encourage you to get connected to a Harvest Group today.
We believe in the only true God (John 17:3), the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20). He created all things (Revelation 4:11) and upholds all things by the Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). He is a God of truth and without iniquity; He is just and right (Deuteronomy 32:4); and He shall judge the world (Psalm 9:8).
We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections, and are worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence and obedience (Mark 12:29; John 1:1-4; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 4:3-4).
We believe in the total deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe He is the manifestation of God in the flesh. We believe He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. We believe Him to be true God and true man (John 1:1, 1:14, 1:18; John 14:8-9; 1 Timothy 3:16).
We believe in the total deity of the Holy Spirit and that His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:14). The Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner upon belief in Christ, baptizing the believer into one body of which Christ is the head. The Holy Spirit indwells, guides, instructs, fills, comforts and empowers the believer for godly living (Mark 13:11; John 14:26; John 16:13; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 3:16). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of God’s righteousness and of coming judgment (John 16:8-11).
We believe the Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament are verbally inspired by God and inerrant in their original writings. We believe the 66 books of the Old Testament and the New Testament are God’s complete and sufficient revelation and therefore carry God’s authority for the total well-being of mankind (Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16).
We believe man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker but, by voluntarily
transgressing, fell from his sinless and happy state. Consequently, all mankind is sinful. All people are sinners not only by inheritance, but by their own choice and therefore are under just condemnation without defense or excuse. We believe that without exception every man and every woman is totally depraved and needs a Savior (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-19; Romans 1:18; Romans 1:32; Romans 5:1-2).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice. We believe that each person who by faith receives Him as personal Savior is justified on the basis of Jesus Christ’s shed blood on Calvary. Each person who receives Christ as personal Savior is born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby becomes eternally secure as a child of God. We believe the Holy Spirit baptizes each believing person into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation and that there is no second baptism of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:37-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
We believe in the resurrection of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, His ascension into heaven and His present life for us as High Priest and Advocate (Acts 1:3; Acts 1:9; Hebrews 7:25-26).
HEAVEN, HELL, AND THE RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe in the “blessed hope:” the personal, premillenial return of the Lord Jesus Christ. His return has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost. The saved are raised to eternal, conscious bliss in heaven (Matthew 25:34; John 14:2; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Revelation 2:7), and the lost are raised to eternal torment in hell in conscious separation from God (Matthew 8:11; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 13:49-50; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 12:5; Revelation 21:8).
Upon accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, a believer becomes part of His body, which is the church. There is one church universal, composed of all those throughout the world who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scriptures command believers to gather in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the ordinances (baptism and communion), fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world in fulfillment of the command of Christ to make disciples of all believers (Ephesians 5:23; Romans 12:1; Acts 2:42-26; 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 oversight of elders and other supportive leadership. The church’s members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
Realizing that the cause of Christ extends beyond any one local fellowship, we commit ourselves to an ongoing ministry of extending the call of Christ to make disciples around the world (Matthew 28:19-20).
ASSIMILATION AND CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
We believe in the importance of serving the body of Christ by offering clear paths for people to start and develop healthy and growing relationships with others in the church body. We value an intentional plan to help every interested person enjoy godly relationships in the church. Church membership is a by-product of people who are growing in Christ and who grasp the importance of serving the Lord by using their gifts to serve others in the local church.
BAPTISM AND COMMUNION
Baptism and communion are the two ordinances required in the church. We believe that Christian baptism by immersion in water is a public identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. Although baptism is not required for salvation, it is commanded of all believers and is for believers only (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 18:18). Scripture shows that a person was baptized after personally receiving forgiveness of sin through accepting Jesus Christ. The waters of baptism are a symbol of our death, burial, and resurrection to newness of life that happens when we become a new creation in Christ -- Colossians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:1-4.
Communion is the commemoration by believers of Christ's death and a reminder-through the bread and the juice-of the Savior's broken body and shed blood. Communion is to be a time of confession of our sin and should be preceded by careful self-examination -- Acts 4:13; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29.
Harvest Bible Chapel is a non-charismatic, conservative, evangelical fellowship that welcomes all who know Jesus Christ as their Savior and all who are seeking Him. Those who claim to possess the gift of tongues and other sign gifts are welcome to worship and fellowship with us if they are willing to be a source of unity rather than division within our church body. We believe that the Christian life is supernatural and that the Lord continues to perform miracles. We also believe that current displays of the gift of tongues distract from the main task of the local church, which is to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission -- Matthew 28:19-20.
Current displays of the gift of tongues
- Give unwarranted prominence to the gift, which is described in the New Testament as being only one of many spiritual gifts -- 1 Corinthians 12.
- Emphasize speaking in tongues as the primary manifestation of the Spirit's work in a person's life, while minimizing the Spirit's work in producing a holy life -- 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 2 Timothy 1:9, and a life that displays the fruit of the Spirit -- Galatians 5:22
- Often suggest that speaking in tongues is a required proof of being Spirit-filled or of possessing salvation in Christ, even though the Scriptures do not teach this.
Harvest Bible Chapel seeks to prevent the propagation of doctrines that would cause divisions within an individual church. Therefore, members to and adherents of Harvest Bible Chapel are not to propagate the teachings and emphases of the current charismatic movement. Although we do not control personal, individual interactions with the Lord, the expression of tongues and other sign gifts are not to be overtly expressed at meetings that are under the organization and authority of Harvest Bible Chapel.
The church exists to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and in the spirit of the Great Commandment -- Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 22:37-38.
The commission is fulfilled as disciples of Jesus Christ are made and grow in their relationship with Him and likeness to Him. God is glorified as we manifest His presence as we do His work -- 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31.
In seeking to act upon the church's purpose, we recognize the extraordinary value in multiplying the reach of His ministry by planting local churches and by associating with existing, like-minded local churches. God is glorified when Harvest Bible Chapels and other like-minded churches associate with one another in order to foster relationships that edify, protect, encourage, support and admonish.
The governing members, serving as directors of the Harvest Bible Chapel Elders Council, lead the association of Harvest Bible Chapels and affiliating churches and oversee church planting. The Elders Council assists affiliate churches to more effectively spread the Word of God and the ways of God in order to build His kingdom. The Elders Council desires to bless all affiliate churches through the mutual exchange of pulpit and music ministry, consulting services, research, conferences and seed money devoted to church planting and pastoral education programs.
The Lord changes lives and accomplishes His purposes directly through reading and applying the Scriptures, meditating on the truths of the Scriptures and prayer. The Lord also uses those who minister His Word as they encourage, exhort, admonish, edify, implore, reprove, rebuke and console others toward godliness. God needs no new or unique insight into the human condition in order to change lives, regardless of whether that insight is gained through psychology or some other tool of human origin. Problems that are approached by integrating the Scriptures with psychological theories tend to deceive individuals into diminishing the God of the Scriptures and into believing that He has not provided and cannot provide sufficient truth, insight and wisdom that will change their lives -- Colossians 2:8-10.
When psychology and other social sciences step beyond observing human behavior and seek to explain the causes of human behavior, they enter spiritual territory. Only the God of the Scriptures can explain causes and offer solutions that lead to godliness and a fruitful, joyful life. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness -- 2 Peter 1:3. He changes us as we discipline ourselves through obedience to the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit -- 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Peter 1:5-11.
Each Christian's passion should be to become more like Christ and fulfill the Great Commandment to love the Lord will the entire heart, soul, mind and strength -- -- Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2, Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30; Matthew 22:37-38.
The Christian who learns and applies the Word becomes mature and, in turn, can help others mature --2 Timothy 2:2.
CREATION, EVOLUTION, AND GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY
We believe God created the universe in six 24-hour days and that, before He created the universe, nothing except God existed -- Genesis 1; Exodus 31:17; Psalm 33:6-9; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 11:3;Colossians 1:16.
God chose to create the universe and all that is in it to reveal His glory, divine nature, eternal power, infinite wisdom and supreme authority -- Isaiah 43:7; Psalm 19:1-2; Jeremiah 10:12; Romans 1:20;Revelation 4:11.
We deny the theory of evolution, which states that nonliving substances gave rise to the first living material, which then reproduced and diversified to produce all living creatures. We believe that all people are descendants of Adam and Eve, whom God created personally and individually and as complete human beings -- Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9. The fall of Adam and Eve infected all people with sin and death, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives the opportunity to receive God's gift of eternal life -- Romans 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.
God rules over His creation and cares about and is involved in the lives of individual people -- Job 12:10; Acts 17:25; Acts 25:28; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:13; Ephesians 4:6.
ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
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, and 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.
PROCESS OF SANCTIFICATION AND MATURITY
Mature disciples walk with Christ, worship Christ and work for Christ. A person committed to a relationship with Christ focuses on personal walk with Him, worship of Him and work for Him. That person will experience significant growth in personal sanctification and, therefore, will experience a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will become "complete in Christ" (Colossians 1:28). We are committed to multiplying the godly characteristics of leaders' lives into others -- 2 Timothy 2:2. This multiplication of ministry is key to the healthy growth of the church. We believe the disciples of Jesus Christ should minister to one another in the local church, rather than one or a small number of professional pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. God has given spiritual gifts to all of His people to provide mutual ministry in the context of the healthy and strong local church -- Ephesians 4:11-12.
Satan and his demonic servants viciously oppose the work God performs in and through His people -- 1 Peter 5:8; Genesis 3:1-7; Ephesians 6:12. God, who by His nature is infinitely more powerful than Satan, in due time will have complete and total victory over Satan -- 1 John 4:4; Revelation 20:1-10.
Although it is appropriate to pray in Jesus' name for protection against demonic activity, the Scriptures do not instruct the Christian to "bind Satan in Jesus' name." Rather, the Scriptures instruct the Christian to combat Satan by:
- Humbly drawing near to God, knowing that He will give grace, mercy and strength -- 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Hebrews 4:15-16; James 4:8; 1 Peter 5:6-10
- Resisting his temptations -- James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9
- Rightly applying the truth of the Scriptures -- Matthew 4:1-11; John 8:44; Ephesians 4:24-27
- Forgiving offenses -- 2 Corinthians 2:10-11
- Putting on the armor of God's truth, righteousness, readiness to share the Gospel, faith, salvation and prayer -- Ephesians 6:11-20
- Demonstrating faithfulness to the Lord by enduring trials -- Revelation 2:10; Revelation 2:13;Revelation 3:9-10.
SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of that 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 19:14-17; 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.
WOMEN IN MINISTRY
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 be 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; John12:32;
- Lead God's people to lift their hearts and voices to Him, giving Him praise and thanks in music and lyric (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).
Harvest Denver 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 (i.e. bishop, elder and deacon), analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably.
ELDER UPDATES: Please see updates from the Elders below.
3rd Quarter 2016 (posted October 29, 2016): This update consists of conversations around vision, church planting, staffing and more.
Above reproach, able to teach, husband to one wife, not addicted to wine, temperate, not antagonistic, prudent, uncontentious, respectable, free from the love of money, hospitable, manages own household well, not a new convert (Titus 1:6-9).
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
- 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 gifts, squares with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors (Proverbs 11:4;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.
If you have a question for one of the elders, feel free to e-mail them.
The 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, dignified, temperate, not fond of sordid gain, holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience, husband of one wife, manages household well (1 Timothy 3:8-12).