The Welfords find Spring Harvest to be a time of blessing. Apart from spending time together as a family and being fed spiritually, we are able to worship and attend meetings without being on any rotas. But there is a problem. The problem is that Spring Harvest is a bubble: A very pleasant bubble that wraps and protects us for several days while an army of helpers provides for us in a variety of ways. We are very grateful to the volunteers who fulfil many roles including stewarding, setting up rooms, running sessions for children and youth, and providing a programme of sporting activities. Then there are the technicians, musicians and speakers. It is all a bit like church, but it’s not like church. Not for the guests. Because church most definitely shouldn’t be a bubble, but a bubble machine blowing out bubbles of faith into our families, schools, workplaces and towns.The Game Changers theme for Spring Harvest 2016 ended with a session about being empowered. This included teaching on the need to pass on the baton to the next generation just like Moses did with Joshua, and Jesus did with the disciples. It occurred to me that although passing on the baton is important, Moses and Jesus both kept going until the end. Moses after many years of faithful service, and Jesus having completed the task He was given.
So while Spring Harvest is an excellent bubble to be wrapped in for a few days, the bubble has to burst, and Spring Harvesters have to return to their everyday lives and their everyday churches. It would be sad if we didn’t return to our churches refreshed. It would be sadder still if we failed to return to our churches changed. Surely if we have been blessed by Spring Harvest then the blessings we have received need to be shared, and the changes in us should not progressively reduce until pop, like a bubble bursting they are gone.
This brings questions and challenges. If I have I been changed by Spring Harvest then how is that change defined, how much have I changed, and what is the purpose of the change? How long will I stay changed for? What can I do to help the change to linger, rather than fade? And was Spring Harvest really for me, or did God have other purposes in mind when he decided to bless me at Spring Harvest this year?
During the final Spring Harvest Big Top session Cris Rogers compared Spring Harvest to Jerusalem. He said that like the disciples/apostles Spring Harvesters are called to be witnesses in the front line – witnesses to the game-changing miracle of the resurrection. We might not all be good at evangelising, but the blessing of knowing Jesus Christ should be something that is apparent in our daily lives, not hidden away behind church walls in our Sunday lives. We need to be visibly different. And everything, absolutely everything in our lives needs to be underpinned and supported by prayer.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)