Well, five months of six have passed. One more to go! But let me tell you, month five was packed out! It started with a very special visit from a very special woman, but ended with a Man March! The month of September exposed me to many things I had not previously experienced at Harvest.
For starters, I got to experience a ministry year kick off! This is a time when the church re-launches so to speak. Generally, the look is changed, a new ministry year theme is unveiled, and ministries are again ignited! This year’s theme at Harvest St. Vincent is Growing Deeper! Along with having a new ministry year theme, each ministry generally has an event to kick off the new ministry year. I was privileged to be part of two ministry kick-offs, besides the church wide kick-off the first Sunday of September.
The first kick-off I was a part of was St. Vincent Student Ministries Food Wars! It was fierce competition between three teams as they competed for points through many hilarious (and slightly gross) games involving food. The capstone event was a pizza cook off. Each team strove to win by making the best looking and best tasting pizza. It was amazing to see the creativity and effort put into the pizzas by each team. Check out Food Wars pictures here! Food Wars was quite the experience as it took me out of my comfort zone by planning and executing a large event. There is a lot to think about, most of which I had never given thought to before!
A second ministry kick-off event I was able to take part in was the Harvest St. Vincent’s IronMen’s Ministry Man March! In this event we walked from the church offices to a beach about an hour’s walk away. Upon arriving we were led in some exercises, ate some delicious fruit, led in more exercises, ate more fruit, heard a devotional, and played some football (aka soccer) on the beach! It was a good time of fellowship and challenges both physically and spiritually. Again, this kick-off pushed me out of my comfort zone not only by forcing me to walk and exercise more than I do, but also by being chosen to give the devotional to the men while at the beach. Again, it was a learning curve but the Lord helped me through!
A third unique experience I was able to be a part of this new ministry year was a small group multiplication. I have been attending a fantastic small group hosted by the most hospitable couple in the church! As we know in Harvest, healthy things grow! This group grew so large that it needed to become two groups! Despite the excitement of multiplication, it can be hard because multiplication means saying good bye to some dear friends you have grown to love. I managed to delay the multiplication by a week so that the small group would have a chance to meet my new fiancé! Since then though, the group has successfully multiplied and the one I am in already is packed out with new members! Even still, I can say that my small group is amazing and I look forward to it each week!
Seeing multiplication in action has been a great thing for me to observe. I have been able to see the beginning of the process to the end. Soon after I got here, a couple in the small group who were apprentices were given more and more opportunity to lead the group. As they grew in this role, multiplication was mentioned to the small group to prepare them. This preparation started months before the actual multiplication. By the time the decisions of who would go to each small group were rolled out, everyone was on the same page. I have been able to see that multiplication has only benefits! First, it allows more people to serve where God has gifted them. Second, it allows more ministry to happen more effectively. Instead of one large small group where people get lost and are able to hide, there are two small small groups, where everyone is accounted for and cared for. Even after being multiplied small groups for one month, growth is again happening in both groups.
The month of September pushed me in ways I have never been pushed before. I am thankful to the Lord for the learning experiences he is bringing my way. My next blog will be written when I am back home in Barrie! I'll look to reflect on my time in St. Vincent and write about one or two big things I walked away with. I look forward to being back home at Harvest Barrie again in a few short weeks! See you then!