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Explore Harvest

Take your next step here.

We want to partner with you.

Your new beginning with God in Christ is a journey. He has a plan for you that is beyond your wildest imagination.  Below are some ways you can kick-start your new, exciting journey with God here at Harvest.

SUNDAY WORSHIP

While usually attending the worship service is the first step at Harvest, it is also the foundation on which all the other steps are built. We strongly encourage you to make worship a priority in your life.

EXPLORING HARVEST

Once a month at 10:45 am we offer a one hour exploration of Harvest. You will get a tour of our facility, some background and church history, a brief examination of our beliefs, and an overview of the staff and ministries.

STARTING POINT

If you are new to Christianity, connecting with God for the first-time, or reconnecting with Him after being away for awhile, this class is for you! 

FOUNDATIONS OF FAITH

When you have questions about God or the Bible, this class is for you. It covers essential, Biblical topics in a format that's open and discussion led. This class meets every Sunday 10:30 - 11:30 am in the office reception area.

Won By One

If you're interested in a more individualized training this program is for you.  Go deeper in your relationship with God by meeting one-on-one with someone who has faithfully walked this journey ahead of you.

New Members Class

This three week class is for anyone interested in becoming a member of or wanting to learn more about Harvest.

BAPTISM

Have you followed the Lord in believer’s baptism? What does baptism mean, why is it important, and when can I be baptized?

What is Baptism?

Baptism is an outward expression of an inward decision to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It is your opportunity to show others that you have entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ; to stand up and proclaim "I belong to Jesus!"

Baptism is not necessary for salvation, which comes only through faith in Christ. Romans 10:9-10 "9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved."

 

What is the biblical foundation for Baptism?

Baptism is at once an act of obedience, identification and submission.

Obedience - Jesus' final recorded words to His followers before His ascension to heaven express the importance He placed on Baptism. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands His followers, "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Identification - Baptism serves to identify publicly the individual as a follower of Christ. In Romans 6:1-11, the apostle Paul describes the immersion of Baptism as a means through which the believer identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Going under the water represents Christ's death—and a believer’s death to sin; coming out of the water illustrates His resurrection and the believer’s new life in Christ.

Submission - Baptism is an act of submission to the "Name" of the Lord Jesus (i.e., a public acknowledgement of His Lordship over your life). Acts 2:38 says: And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

 

Who should be baptized?

We believe that baptism is an important step of obedience for every person who has accepted Christ as his or her Savior, and we count it as privilege to walk with you as you take this next step on your spiritual journey.

 

How old should children be before being baptized?

There is no special age at which a child is "ready" to be baptized.  The Holy Spirit works differently in the lives of each believer, so understanding of baptism will vary from child to child.  As such, there is no "right" age for baptism.  However, we find that most children come to a good understanding of baptism, and are ready to be baptized, between the ages of 8 - 12.  We will consider children under 8 years old on a case-by-case basis.

Each child baptism candidate (and a parent) attends a short class in which baptism is discussed at length.  Watch the church calendar for upcoming classes.

 

Sprinkling or Immersion?

The baptism Jesus authorized and commanded is precisely what is indicated by the Greek word baptizo: immersion. The book of Acts contains multiple accounts of baptism, and in every instance, the candidate for baptism was immersed (see Acts 10:48; Acts 16:31-33; Acts 22:16).

 

What about infant baptism? 

There are no recorded instances of infant baptism in the Bible.  God teaches us that baptism should follow salvation through faith in Christ - it never precedes it.  Parents are encouraged to dedicate their infant children to the Lord during one of our Child Dedications (scroll down for more details).

If you were baptized as an infant, we would strongly encourage you to be baptized again. This time as a believer in Jesus Christ who is making a conscious decision to be obedient to Him, with a desire to make a public profession of your faith.

 

What is the baptism schedule? 

Baptism are done during the service on the 3rd Sunday of the month. Baptism candidates (adult & children) need to attend a baptism information class that is typically offered between Sunday morning services a few weeks before. Please sign up below. Check at the Ministry Information Center for dates or call the church office for more information.

Are you interested in any of the above opportunities? We would love to talk to you about it.

Our Beliefs

The Scriptures

We believe that the Holy Bible is the Word of God, that it was written by men divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, that it is absolute truth without error, that it is God’s complete revelation of His will for man, and that it is the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:20-21

One True God

We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God; infinite in knowledge and power, ever present and eternally existent in three Persons:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Exodus 20:2-3; Mark 12:29; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11

God The Father

We believe in God the Father, perfect in holiness, infinite in wisdom, and measureless in power.  We rejoice that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, and that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.

John 6:45-46; Romans 11:33; Romans 15:5-7; 2 Corinthians 11:31; 1 Peter 1:16

God The Son

We believe in the Deity of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, Virgin born, sinless in His life, making atonement for the sins of the world by His death.  We believe in His miracles, His bodily resurrection, His ascension into heaven, His perpetual intercession for His people, His personal return for those who are His children (the resurrection of the righteous and the rapture of the church), and His visible return to this world to establish His kingdom (millennial kingdom).

Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 28:6-7; Mark 16:6; Luke 1:30-35; Luke 24:2–6; Luke 24:39; Luke 24:51; John 1:14; John 20:27; Acts 1:9–11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 12:2; 1 John 2:1; Revelation 3:21

God The Holy Spirit

We believe in the Deity of the Holy Spirit who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, and who regenerates, indwells, seals, sanctifies, teaches and comforts those who are believers in Jesus Christ.

Genesis 1:1-2; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:8; Luke 1:35; John 1:33; John 3:5-6; John 14:16-17; John 14:26; John 16:8–11; Acts 5:30–32; Acts 11:16; Romans 8:14-16; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 1:13-14; Hebrews 2:2–4

Angels and Demons

We believe that God created a great multitude of angels, spirit beings created in holiness, and having intelligence and great power.  That holy angels constantly serve God in perfect obedience.  That Satan, created as one of the highest of all angels, rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven taking a host of angels with him.  That Satan and his host of fallen angels (demons) work constantly against God’s purpose and program.  That Satan and his demons are destined to eternal damnation in the lake of fire.

Genesis 3:1-5; Isaiah 6:2-3; Matthew 4:1–11; Matthew 26:53; Luke 2:13-14; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 20:10

Creation And The Fall of Man

We believe that God created the heavens and the earth as recorded in the book of Genesis, and that He created man in His own image.  That Adam, as the first man, was created sinless and innocent and in perfect relationship with God but fell from this position by choosing to sin.  As such, all mankind are now sinners, not only by nature, but by choice and therefore are under just condemnation.

Genesis 1; Genesis 2; Genesis 3:1–6; Genesis 3:17-19; John 1:3; Romans 1:18-19; Romans 1:28-32; Romans 3:10–19; Romans 5:12; Romans 5:19; Colossians 1:16-17

Salvation

We believe that man can only be saved after recognizing he is a sinner in need of a Savior and then turning from his sins and trusting in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  That this salvation is a free gift of God, is open to anyone who will accept it, and is eternally secure.  That “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Isaiah 53:4-7; Jonah 2:9; Matthew 18:11; John 3:16; John 10:27-30; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 2:7-8; Hebrews 2:14-17; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 4:10

The Church

We believe that the local church is a congregation of believers associated together by faith in Jesus Christ.  That the true mission of a church is found in the Great Commission:  to go and make disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them to obey the Word of God.  That Jesus Christ is the head of the true church and that the individual believer has a direct and personal relationship with Him.  That the local church is independent and autonomous and free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations.

Acts 2:41-42; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 2 Corinthians 8:19; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 8:23; Ephesians 4:1-5; Colossians 1:18

Two Offices

We believe that there are two offices in the local church designated in Scripture, the office of elder and the office of deacon.  The office of elder denotes a position of overseeing, leadership and spiritual guidance for the spiritual well-being of the church. The office of deacon denotes a position of leadership and service in assisting with ministries and needs within the local church.

Acts 6:1-6; Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1–13; I Timothy 5:17-19; Titus 1:5-9; James 5:14

Two Ordinances

We believe that there are two ordinances appropriately carried out within the ministry of the local church, the ordinance of baptism and the ordinance of communion. We hold to the Scriptural description of baptism being that first a person is saved through faith and then of their own accord follows in obedience of baptism by immersion (believers baptism). Baptism is a command of Christ and a public testimony that a believer has died to self and risen to a new life in Christ. We hold to the practice of communion as a time of remembrance of the sacrificial death of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus who paid the price for our sins on the cross. Communion is a command of Christ, a time of remembrance of His death, a self-examination of our present spiritual walk with Him and a reminder of His future return to this earth.a

Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 1:5; Mark 16:16; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:38; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12-13; Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23–32

Heaven and Hell

We believe in the literal existence of both heaven and hell.  That both the saved and the lost will be resurrected; that those who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior will rejoice forever in God’s presence in Heaven, and those who have refused to accept Christ as Lord and Savior will be forever separated from God in Hell.

Exodus 20:11; 2 Chronicles 18:18; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 5:11-12; Matthew 5:20; Matthew 7:21; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 10:32-33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; John 14:2-3; Philippians 3:20; 2 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 21:1-2

Future Events

We hold to a pre-tribulation, pre-millennial interpretation of the Scriptures, believing in the imminent return of Jesus Christ to gather to heaven those who have trusted Him as Lord and Savior.  That in heaven, all believers will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Bema Seat) to be judged for our service to Him.  On earth, during this time, the seven-year Tribulation will take place in which God will bring His judgment upon those who have rejected Him.  That after the seven year Tribulation, Jesus Christ will return to earth to judge the nations and establish His Millennial Kingdom, a 1000 year period characterized by righteousness and the fulfillment of God’s promises to the nation Israel.  That after the 1000 year period, a great White Throne Judgment will take place where the unsaved will be judged and cast into the lake of fire along with Satan and his demons.  Finally, an eternal state will be established with a new heaven and a new earth.

Isaiah 11:1-9; Daniel 9:25–27; Malachi 3:1-4; Matthew 24:29–31; Matthew 25:34-41; 1 Corinthians 15:42–44; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 2:10-11; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 3:10; Revelation 20:1–6; Revelation 20:14-15

 

Amended by Oversight Team 1/27/16

Approved by church membership 7/17/16

Our Covenant

Having been led by the grace of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, and having been baptized by immersion, I am now led by the Holy Spirit to unite in membership with the Harvest New Beginnings church family. In doing so, I joyfully and earnestly pledge to uphold these Biblical standards:

I. That I will strive to protect and promote the unity of my church​

…by acting in brotherly love towards others

Eph 4:1-3 …I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.

…by being slow to take offense and quick to seek reconciliation

James 1:19-20 …Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

…by lovingly confronting and correcting for the purpose of restoration

Mat 18:15-17 If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

…by refusing to gossip or slander

Eph 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

…by being submissive to the authority of the church leadership

Heb 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

II. That I will support the outreach of my church

…by personally sharing the message of salvation with family, friends, acquaintances and neighbors

Mat 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

…by inviting people to attend and bringing them with me to church

Luke 14:23 Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.’

…by warmly welcoming all whom visit

James 2:2-4 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there”, or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

…by teaching my children about the Lord

Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

…by faithfully giving my tithes and offerings to support the ministries of my church

Mal 3:8-10 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings… Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

III. That I will serve in the ministries of my church

…by discovering and utilizing my spiritual gifts and God given talents

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

…by developing a servant’s heart

Phil 2:3-7 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

…by allowing myself to be equipped for service

Eph 4:11-12 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

…by maintaining a joyful attitude in my service

Phil 2:14-15 Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, which you shine like stars in the universe.

…by remaining steadfast in my service

1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

IV. That I will uphold the testimony of my church

…by living a spirit-filled and Spirit-controlled life

Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

…by resisting ungodly practices and worldly passions

Rom 13:13-14 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

…by forsaking personal liberty so as not to place a stumbling block before others

Rom 14:21-22 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.

…by living a godly life before the unsaved

Mat 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

…by being honest and above reproach in my dealings with others

James 5:12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not be heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned

V. That I will grow and mature in my personal walk with my Savior

…by striving to live according to God’s will for my life

1 Pet 4:2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

…by developing and maintaining regular times of prayer

Eph 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

…by developing and maintaining regular times of personal Bible study

Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character… for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day…

…by faithfully attending my church for the purpose of worship, prayer, communion and fellowship

Heb 10:25 Let us not give meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

…by holding fast to the teaching of God’s Word

2 Tim 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

Our Constitution
HARVEST NEW BEGINNINGS CONSTITUTION
OSWEGO, ILLINOIS

Preamble

Whereas, the Lord instructs the local church to do all things “decently and in order” (I Cor. 14:40), this congregation sets forth the following, which will serve as the guide for the orderly conduct of the business affairs of this church.

ARTICLE I:  NAME

This church was organized June 24, 1963, as the Oswego Baptist Church. The church was started as a church outreach by Claim Street Baptist of Aurora, Illinois.  Initially, the church met at East View Elementary School in Oswego until a permanent church building (the former Oswego Presbyterian Church) was purchased which was located at the corner of Benton and Madison Streets.  On April 22, 1992, the church was renamed as Harvest Baptist Church of Oswego, Illinois.  In July, 1993, the church was relocated to its present facilities at 5315 Douglas Road in Oswego. In 2013 the church began using the name Harvest New Beginnings.

ARTICLE II: HARVEST'S PURPOSE

Purpose: God's Glory Alone

(Psalm 115:1) Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your lovingkindness, because of your truth.

(Romans 11:36)  For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

(1 Corinthians 10:31) Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

ARTICLE III:  HARVEST'S VALUES

Reach Up

Worship Corporately
Walk Individually

Reach In
Connect with Significance
Serve with Purpose

Reach Out
Evangelize the Lost
Disciple the Saved

ARTICLE IV: MOTIVATION STATEMENT

Motivation: A deep love for God and a sincere love for people.
• The Great Commandment (Mark 12:29-31) “…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength….You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

ARTICLE V:  MEMBERSHIP

Section 1:  Eligibility

Any person who has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and who has been baptized by immersion as a believer is eligible for membership at Harvest New Beginnings.  Membership at Harvest involves a three-step process:

1. Informational/Educational classes:  Those interested in membership or who desire to join Harvest must attend the new members’ classes. These classes are for the purpose of sharing information about the church, studying Biblical passages pertaining to commitment and service within a local church, and answering any questions that prospective members may have.  Individuals under the age of 18 are exempt from attending these classes. However, everyone, including those under the age of 18, must attend the interview as outlined in #2 below.

2. Interview:  The interview is for the purpose of hearing the prospective member(s) testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ and their testimony of baptism by immersion or desire/intent to be baptized.  It is understood that anyone who joins “pending baptism” has the intent to follow through on their desire/commitment to be baptized at the earliest possible convenience. There will be at least one current or former deacon or current or former pastoral/director staff person present at the interview.  It is intended to be a time of welcome and encouragement and gives the new member an opportunity to ask further questions regarding church membership or commitment.

3. Presentation to the Congregation:  Those completing the new member classes and interview process will be formally introduced to the church and welcomed into membership. This may be done after a regularly scheduled service, a church business meeting or some other public venue as deemed appropriate. The intent is to formally welcome and encourage our new members and give praise to the Lord as we rejoice in His blessing of adding new members to our congregation.

Section 2:  Responsibilities

A member of Harvest New Beginnings has the responsibility to uphold the Biblical standards of living as recorded in the Church Covenant:

• To protect and promote the unity of the church
• To support the outreach of the church
• To serve in the ministries of the church
• To uphold the testimony of the church
• To grow and mature in one’s personal walk with the Savior

Section 3:  Classification

Active member:  All members are considered active members in good standing unless membership has been terminated in any matter as outlined in Section 5 below.

Section 4:  Privileges

All members 18 years of age or older may participate and vote in the official transactions of the business at any regularly scheduled or specially called business meetings of the church.

Section 5:  Termination

Membership will be severed by any of the following:

a) By death
b) By written request from the member or by permanently relocating out of the area
c) By removal through church discipline (see Article VI: Discipline)
d) By prolonged absence without reasonable cause

Prolonged absence is demonstrated by a willful act of non-attendance and non-participation within the church rather than a specific time frame. This is not to be interpreted as those who are away from the church due to college, illness, military service, etc. It is the policy of this church to reach out to those members who have voluntarily and without cause distanced themselves from the church and have not attended services or participated in the ministries of the church.  Everything possible that can reasonably be done to seek the restoration of the member shall be done prior to removal.  Any termination of membership due to prolonged absence shall be the responsibility of the church Oversight Team.  In effort to keep the membership roster as updated as reasonably possible, the pastoral/office staff will routinely review the membership list. Members who have distanced themselves by prolonged absence without reasonable cause will be identified. At least annually, these names will be brought to the attention of the Oversight Team for determination to remove them from the church membership roster.

If membership in the church is severed by written request from the member, by church discipline or by removal due to prolonged absence, the person may only be reinstated with the approval of the Oversight Team. In certain cases, if deemed appropriate by the Oversight Team, the person may be asked to repeat the membership process as outlined in Section 1 above.

ARTICLE VI:  Discipline

The ultimate goal of church discipline is to restore fellowship and bring reconciliation before God and between the Christians involved in the dispute.

Offenses or complaints between members should be handled in accordance with the principles established in Matthew 18:15-17.  Any member who feels that an offense has been committed against them or feels that conduct unbecoming for a member has occurred should:

a) First seek to talk individually with the offending believer.  Many times it may be discovered that a simple misunderstanding has occurred that can easily be reconciled.  If an offense has actually occurred, the parties should seek to achieve restoration.
b) If the matter remains unresolved, another meeting should occur with two or three other non-involved believers present also.  It is recommended that the other non-involved people be mature believers in Jesus Christ.
c) If this fails to resolve the matter, the offense should be brought to the attention of the Oversight Team with reference to the offense involved and the steps that have been followed to try to achieve resolution and reconciliation.  The matter then becomes the responsibility of the Oversight Team.
• If the offense is such that it warrants the attention of the entire church, the Oversight Team will bring the matter before the church membership in order that the church body may seek to win and reconcile the offending believer.
• If all else fails, Oversight Team will bring a motion to the church recommending a complete break in fellowship and removal from church membership. The church congregation is the final authority for removal from membership due to disciplinary action.

ARTICLE VII:  Church Government

Part A:  Oversight Team

Section 1:  Responsibilities

The Oversight Team is responsible for the overall vision and direction of the church, that the church remains Biblically faithful, that church members are appropriately shepherded and fed through accurate Biblical teaching and that the mission of Harvest New Beginnings is being pursued. The Oversight Team, as the official governing board of the church, is responsible for any and all duties commonly performed by a “church board” and is the final authority for all matters except those which are mandated to be brought before the church membership as outlined elsewhere in this constitution (see Part D). All executive, administrative and ministerial work of the church shall be accountable to the Oversight Team. For purposes of Harvest’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy & discipline, the Oversight Team is Harvest’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.

Section 2:  Requirements

The church Oversight Team is composed of members from the church pastoral/director staff and members from the congregation at large.  The Oversight team shall consist of at least five members.  Every effort will be made to establish an equitable number of staff members and lay leaders from the congregation at large.  As appropriate and deemed necessary, additional members beyond five can be added.  The senior pastor and executive pastor shall be permanent members of the Oversight Team.  Additionally, the Oversight Team will seek to ensure that there are more members from the congregation-at-large than from the pastoral staff.  However, having the right people on this team is of foremost concern and overshadows any need to fill vacancies for the sake of establishing ratios.  All members of the Oversight Team are voting members each with one vote and equal authority within the responsibilities and scope of the team. In all decisions, the Oversight Team must speak collectively as one voice.

Members of this team shall be men whose lives are marked by the following:

• CHARACTER:  holiness and godliness and the qualifications as listed in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9
• COMPETENCY:  proven leadership and spiritual discernment
• COMMITMENT:  a track record of faithful attendance and service to the church and people of Harvest
• CAPACITY:  exhibits a high level of multiple skill sets and ability to carry the weight and responsibility that this position demands
• CHEMISTRY:  an individual thinker but team player and one who promotes and strives for unity even in matters of disagreement
• CALLING:  has a burden/clear calling from the Lord to use their giftedness to serve in this capacity

Section 3:  Term Length

The senior pastor and executive pastor shall be permanent members of the Oversight Team as long as the qualifications are met as listed above in Section 2. Members will be added to the Oversight Team as needed.  At any time, members of Harvest may suggest nominations for the Oversight Team by submitting a written recommendation to any current team member. The Oversight Team will prayerfully review all nominations. If they believe a man to be qualified and if there is a need, a member of the Oversight Team will approach him to explain the specific requirements and duties and to determine his willingness to serve in this capacity.  Any new or returning members to the Oversight Team must be approved by unanimous consent of the present team. Additionally, those called to serve on the team for their initial term must be confirmed by majority written ballot of the church congregation at any scheduled or specially called congregation business meeting.

Each member (except permanent members) will commit to serve a five year term.  Upon unanimous consent of the current team, the term may be renewable for an additional five years.  If a member is asked to renew his term after the initial five years and he declines, he must remain off the team for one year before he may be asked to serve again. If a member serves two consecutive five year terms, he must remain off the team for one year before he may be asked to serve again.

If a member of the Oversight Team should cease to meet the requirements necessary for participation on the team, they may be removed from the team by a majority vote of the remaining team members.

Section 4:  Officers

The Oversight Team shall elect its own officers consisting of a chairman, clerk and treasurer. These offices will be the offices of the church for the conducting of meetings and church business. To accommodate legal relationships outside the church, these offices also will serve in legal roles for our religious non-profit church business. The offices will be reconfirmed or changed on an annual basis or as needed.

Section 5:  Meetings

The Oversight Team will hold meetings as necessary and determine the schedule for meetings.   At a minimum, monthly meetings will be held.

Section 6: Accountability and Delegation

Due to the scope of responsibilities of the Oversight Team, it is imperative that they remain accountable for their actions to the church congregation.  Additionally, the Oversight Team must strive to maintain open and direct communication with the deacon team, pastoral and director staff and congregation membership at large. If any major concerns arise regarding the actions or responsibilities of the Oversight Team, a special meeting with the oversight team can be called by either:

1) a majority vote of the pastoral/director church staff
2) a majority vote of the Deacon Team
3) by no less than 50 members of the congregation-at-large

In all cases a written letter shall be submitted to the Chairman of the Oversight Team stating the reason for the meeting and signatures of all those requesting the special meeting. In due time (no more than four weeks), the Chairman of the Oversight Team shall arrange for this special meeting.

The Oversight Team is permitted to delegate its authority and responsibilities as it chooses, but no such delegation will absolve it of its accountability in any matter. The Oversight Team may revoke any delegation it has made.

Section 7:  Committees

The Oversight Team shall be able to create any committees deemed necessary to carry out the work and ministry of the church.  Any such committees shall report directly to the Oversight Team unless directed to do otherwise.  The Oversight Team shall be able to disband any committees that are no longer needed or are not functioning to promote the overall mission of Harvest New Beginnings. Ultimately, any committees established by the Oversight Team or any committees that exist within the church fall under the authority of the Oversight Team. The Oversight Team, at their discretion, may appoint one or more team members, or designated individual to attend any committee meetings within the church.

Part B:  Deacon Team

Section 1:  Responsibilities

The Scripture defines the role of deacons within the church as “servants”. The Deacon Team is a vital position that serves the body of the church and will work closely with the Oversight Team and staff.  At times the Deacon Team will oversee ministries and at times assist with ministries under the direction of the staff. The specific duties of the Deacon Team will historically change over time as the church grows, as ministries expand, or as ministries are added or discontinued.

Section 2:  Requirements

The Deacon Team is composed of church members from the congregation-at-large.  Deacons are nominated and elected by the congregation as outlined in the section below. The Deacon Team shall consist of at least seven members with no maximum number limitation.

Each year, the Oversight Team, in consultation with staff and current deacons,

will evaluate the number of deacons needed for the coming year. This will be done in consideration of the number of terms that are expiring and the anticipated needs/scope of responsibilities for the forthcoming year.  As appropriate and deemed necessary, additional deacons may be added.

Deacons shall be men whose lives are marked by the qualifications as listed in

I Timothy 3:8-12 and Acts 6:3.

Section 3:  Term Length

Deacons shall be elected for a three-year term with a possible renewal of an additional three years.

a) The Deacon Team shall appoint a nominating committee each year consisting of three deacons.
b) Prior to the annual business meeting, members of the church shall have the opportunity to submit nominations for deacons to the nominating committee.  The number of names submitted by each member shall not exceed the number of vacancies to be filled for the coming year. The nomination process shall be made available to all church members for a period of at least three weeks including four consecutive Sundays. All reasonable means will be utilized to inform members of the nomination process including announcement during regular Sunday announcements and printing in the bulletin.
c) At the close of the nomination period, the nominating committee then tabulates the nominations and notifies the Oversight Team of the nominees.  The Oversight Team will determine if the nominees meet the spiritual qualifications to serve.  Additionally, the Senior Pastor shall consult with all pastoral staff members and notify the Oversight Team of any reason that may disqualify a nominee from serving.
d) The nominating committee will then contact those individuals receiving the most nominations and who also meet the spiritual qualifications for deacon to inform them of the congregation’s desire to have them serve as deacon.  After prayerful consideration and review of the deacon qualifications and responsibility sheet, the nominee will inform the nominating committee of their consent to serve.
e) The nominating committee shall continue to contact those receiving the most nominations and meeting the qualifications to serve until the slate for the Deacon Team is in agreement with the number of vacancies to be filled.
f) The nominating committee then prepares the ballot and the election is held at the annual business meeting as outlined in By-laws, Article 1, Section 3.

Having served a full term of three years, and with the approval of the Oversight Team, deacons may be asked to serve an additional three year term. If a deacon declines the additional term renewal, he must remain off the deacon team for a period of one year before he is eligible to be nominated to serve again. If a deacon completes two consecutive three-year terms, a period of one year shall elapse before he may again be eligible for nomination as a deacon.

Section 4:  Officers

At a minimum, the Oversight Team shall appoint a chairman of the Deacon Team who will report directly to the Oversight Team. The chairman of the Deacon Team shall serve as a point person for communication with the Oversight Team and church staff. The Oversight Team in consultation with the current Deacon Team chairman shall meet at the beginning of each year to determine areas of responsibilities and any additional offices needed on the Deacon Team for the coming year. The Deacon Team chairman will discuss areas of responsibilities with the team members, and if needed, bring recommendations for any changes back to the Oversight Team.

Section 5:  Meetings

The Deacon Team will hold meetings as necessary and determine its own schedule for meetings.  At a minimum, quarterly meetings will be held. The chairman of the Deacon Team will preside over meetings of the Deacon Team. As possible, a member of the Oversight Team will also attend Deacon Team meetings to facilitate communication between the Oversight Team and the Deacon Team.

Section 6: Accountability

If a member of the Deacon Team should cease to meet the requirements necessary for participation on the team, they may be removed from the team by a majority vote of the Oversight Team.

Part C:  Staff

As ministry needs arise and finances allow, Harvest New Beginnings will employ paid staff to assist in fulfilling the mission of the church. Often times, ministries and services are initiated at the volunteer level. But as the church grows and the scope and responsibilities of these ministries expand, it is at times no longer feasible or possible for volunteer service to meet these demands and responsibilities. All staff is hired to fulfill the specific requirements/responsibilities as written in their individual job description and should possess the spiritual character, qualifications and abilities that qualify them for their position. Any person hired to the Harvest staff is expected to abide by the personnel policies and procedures of the church.

The Oversight Team has the authority to hire and to dismiss staff as it deems appropriate or necessary to accomplish the mission and ministries of the church.  The hiring of new additional staff positions must fall within the scope of budgetary guidelines. (Exception: The hire/dismissal of the senior pastor position is addressed in Article VIII: Sections 1 and 4)

Part D:  Congregation:

At Harvest, we hold to a form of congregational church government. Members of Harvest who are voting members of the church specifically shall:

• Confirm all initial appointments to the Oversight Team
• Approve the annual budget
• Approve the calling of a new senior pastor
• Approve major building programs or loans/indebtedness that the church would undertake
• Nominate and elect members to the Deacon Team
• Give final approval to church discipline (as outlined in Article VI)
• Approve any changes to the church constitution
• Approve the initial appointment of missionaries supported by the church

The business affairs of the church are normally carried out at a regularly scheduled or a specially called family business meeting of the church. Practically speaking, many of the votes/approvals are “confirming votes” that support the prayer, discussion and seeking of the Lord’s will and guidance that have already taken place by members of the Oversight Team, Deacon Team, staff and committees of the church. The church congregation is expected to trust, support and encourage the church leadership and the church leadership is expected to act responsibly in a manner that is worthy of the trust, support and encouragement of the church body.

ARTICLE VIII:  Pastoral Relations

Section 1:  Calling of a new senior pastor

The calling of a new senior pastor shall be as follows:

a) The Oversight Team shall appoint a Pastoral Search Committee that may include representation from the Oversight Team, Deacon Team, church staff and the general congregation as deemed appropriate.
b) The Pastoral Search Committee shall be responsible for soliciting names, reviewing resumes, contacting and interviewing prospective candidates, arranging for candidates to preach at the church, setting up a question and answer session between the candidate and the congregation, and all else that is deemed appropriate to complete their responsibility.  The Pastoral Search Committee shall present their recommendation to the Oversight Team for approval.
c) Upon recommendation of the Oversight Team, a candidate shall be presented to the church for vote.  Approval must be by at least a two-thirds majority vote by written ballot of those present at a properly called business meeting of the church.  Only one candidate at a time may be presented to the church for vote.  Any candidates for senior pastor presented to the church shall be believers in and teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ and shall meet the spiritual, personal, and family qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
d) In the absence of a senior pastor, the Oversight Team shall be responsible for arranging for speakers at church services until a new senior pastor is called.

Section 2:  Calling of a new associate pastor

The calling of a new associate pastor shall be as follows:

a) The Oversight Team may serve as the Pastoral Search Committee or appoint a Pastoral Search Committee when seeking any needed associate pastor positions.
b)  The Pastoral Search Committee shall be responsible for soliciting names,  reviewing resumes, contacting and interviewing prospective candidates, arranging for candidates to visit the church and all else that is deemed appropriate to filling the associate pastor position. The Pastoral Search Committee shall report directly to the Oversight Team.
c)  Upon majority recommendation of the Oversight Team, a candidate shall be offered the position of associate pastor.  Any candidates for associate pastor shall be believers in and teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ and shall meet the spiritual, personal, and family qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

Section 3:  Pastoral Staff Term

All pastoral staff shall, for an indefinite term, perform all the scriptural and necessary duties of their offices per the job descriptions for which they were hired. The church Executive Pastor shall be responsible to keep an updated file of job descriptions for each pastoral position. Any changes to pastoral job descriptions must be approved by the Oversight Team.

Section 4:  Pastoral Termination

Termination of a pastor shall be:

1) by resignation.  If a pastor wishes to terminate his ministry with the church, he shall, if possible, give the Oversight Team at least 30 days prior notice.
2) by dismissal.
a) For the senior pastor:
• this shall require a majority recommendation of the Oversight Team and a two-thirds vote of the congregation at a meeting called for that purpose OR
• a two-thirds vote of the congregation at a meeting called for that purpose.
b) For an associate pastor:
• this shall require a majority vote of the Oversight Team

In the event of dismissal, a pastor’s salary may continue to be paid at the discretion of the Oversight Team for a determined length of time.

ARTICLE IX:  Auxiliary Organizations

Section 1:  Existence of Organizations

No society, organization, local chapter or branch of any parachurch ministry, or the like, shall be brought into existence within the church without the knowledge and approval of the Oversight Team.

Section 2:  Leadership of Organizations

Presidents, sponsors or leaders of any such approved organizations within the church shall be members of the church.  Their appointment or election must be approved by the Oversight Team.

Section 3:  Reports

At the discretion and direction of the Oversight Team, all such organizations shall make reports to the Oversight Team and/or the church membership.

Section 4:  Termination

The Oversight Team shall have the right to terminate and disband any such organizations within the church, especially if such organizations:

a) Take doctrinal stances that differ from Biblical teaching
b) Are no longer in harmony with the doctrinal statement of Harvest New Beginnings
c) Seek to displace the importance of the local church
d) No longer serve to support the mission, motivation and values statement of Harvest New Beginnings

BY-LAWS

ARTICLE I:  Business Meetings

Section 1:  Family Business Meetings

Family business meetings shall be held at the church at least twice per year preferably in January and July. The January meeting shall be designated as the annual business meeting.

Section 2:  Annual Family Business Meetings

The annual family business meeting shall be held at the church in January.  Business brought before the membership at the annual meeting shall include (but not be limited to) the presentation and approval of the budget, confirmation of new/first time Oversight Team members, the election of deacons, and any other reports or business deemed necessary by the Oversight Team.

Section 3:  Election of Oversight Team and Deacon Team

The confirmation of new/first time Oversight Team members and the election of deacons shall be by ballot.  Each church member in attendance at the annual meeting shall vote “yes” or “no” for each nominee slated on the ballot.  The nominating committee (generally out-going members of the deacon team) shall be responsible for preparing, distributing, collecting and tabulating the ballots.

Section 4:  Additional Family Business Meetings

Additional or special business meetings may be called at any time by the Senior Pastor, a majority vote of the Oversight Team or by written petition to the Oversight Team by any fifty (50) unrelated voting members of the church.  Such petition should clearly indicate the reason for calling the special meeting.  At such a petitioned meeting, the only business to be transacted shall be the business for which the meeting had been specifically called.

Section 5:  General definitions and guidelines

• The fiscal year is defined to correspond to the calendar year and shall begin on January 1 and end on December 31.
• A quorum is required at all church business meetings for the transaction of business.  Fifty members of voting age shall constitute a quorum.
• All business conducted shall be by simple majority vote unless specified differently by any sections of the church constitution or by-laws.
• Any scheduled or specially called family business meetings shall be posted in the bulletin and be announced as part of the regular Sunday announcements on the two consecutive Sundays prior to said meeting.
• Robert’s Rules of Order shall be followed in all business meetings.
• No absentee ballots shall be allowed in any church elections or vote.

ARTICLE II:  Wages and Salaries

All wages and salaries shall be paid out of the general offering church fund.  The personnel committee will review all salaries and wages at least annually.  Any recommendations/changes shall be included in the annual budget.  The Oversight Team holds final approval over the wage and salary administration as presented in the annual budget.  Any change in salaries and wages is retroactive to January 1st of the current fiscal year upon approval of the annual budget by the church membership.

ARTICLE III:  Amendments

This constitution and bylaws may be amended at any business meeting of the church by a two-thirds vote of the members present provided that both of the following provisions have been met:

(a) Such amendment has been duly considered and approved by majority vote of the Oversight Team.
(b) Notice of the intent to amend the constitution or articles, church covenant, doctrinal statement or position papers has been posted in the bulletin and announced as part of the regular Sunday announcements on the two consecutive Sundays prior to said meeting.

ARTICLE IV:  Dissolution

In the case of dissolution, all assets of the church shall be dispersed in the following manner:

a) Any outstanding debts, loans, mortgages, bills and the like shall be paid first.  If funds are not available to meet the outstanding debts, assets and properties will be sold to obtain the necessary funds.
b) All remaining assets, or the net proceeds thereof in the case of sale, shall be donated to not-for-profit Christian ministries or missions as determined by vote of the church membership. These ministries or missions should be in agreement with the Harvest New Beginnings
doctrinal statement.
c) The Oversight Team shall have the responsibility of carrying out these procedures.

Those who support the work of this ministry with tithes, offerings and donations do so in obedience to the principles of giving established in God’s Word.  As such, all such gifts become the property of this local church to be used for the Lord’s work.  No one shall have the right to seek individual recompense for any gifts given.

This Constitution was approved by the membership of Harvest New Beginnings on 11/1/2015 and replaces all preceding documents.

Understanding Biblical Distinctives

Beyond the basics of what we believe as Christians (as found in our Doctrine), we adhere to specific Biblical Distinctives which relate to vital issues present in Christianity today.   We hold to the following, excerpted from Pastor Duane Brown's work "Baptist Distinctives", not primarily on the basis of them being Baptistic, but more importantly, because they are Biblical.

Biblical Authority

The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, we accept as true. No human opinion or decree of any church group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scripture, do not carry Scripture’s inherent authority.
2 Timothy 3:15–17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20, 21

Autonomy of the Local Church

The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church’s beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. We, as a church, may choose to fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and join in an association that offers this opportunity.
Colossians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 8:1–5, 19, 23

Priesthood of the Believer

“Priest” is defined as “one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God.” Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and people. As priests, we can study God’s Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God—whether we are a preacher or not.
1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 5:9, 10

Two Ordinances

Our local church practices two ordinances: (1) baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and (2) the Lord’s Supper, or communion, commemorating His death for our sins.
Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–32

Individual Soul Liberty

Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm. No one should be forced to assent to any belief against his will. We have always opposed religious persecution. However, this liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself.
Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 1:9

Saved, Baptized Church Membership

Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer’s baptism. When the members of a local church are believers, a oneness in Christ exists, and the members can endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Acts 2:41–47; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 4:3

Two Offices

The Bible mandates only two offices in the church–pastor and deacon. The three terms—”pastor,” “elder,” and “bishop,” or “overseer”—all refer to the same office. The two offices of pastor and deacon exist within the local church, not as a hierarchy outside or over the local church.
1 Timothy 3:1–13; Acts 20:17–38; Philippians 1:1

Separation of Church and State

God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government’s purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1–7 and the church’s purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government.
Matthew 22:15–22; Acts 5:17–29

The Baptist Distinctives were written by Pastor Duane Brown, 1969.

Purpose, Values, & Motivation

Clear vision and direction makes our impact greater.

Harvest History

Learn more about where we've come from.

The seed for Harvest was planted in the minds of a few families in the Oswego area who saw a need for a doctrinally sound church. In the fall of 1962, these families met to discuss the possibility of planting a church in Oswego.

We had our first service as Oswego Baptist Church on July 7, 1963 at Eastview School. Rev. Thomas Corkish, associate pastor at Claim Street Baptist Church in Aurora, was called as interim pastor. On January 1, 1964, Pastor Corkish became our first full-time pastor.

We purchased the Oswego Presbyterian Church and had our first meetings there in January 1966. The building was later demolished, and a new building was built in its place at the corner of Benton and Madison Streets in Oswego.

In 1992 the name was changed to Harvest Baptist Church and construction was begun on a new facility. In July 1993 we moved to our present location at the corner of  Plainfield and Douglas Roads.

God has richly blessed our church with continued growth, and we are excited to see what God will do next through Harvest.