Planting a New Church: 1994–1997
Harvest began as a mission church in 1994. The initial plan was to plant a PCA church in west Omaha. At that time Omaha was a city of 700,000 with only one PCA church. Pastor Glenn Durham was the church planter and the initial core group was made up of about 15 people. Harvest held its inaugural worship service in October 1994 at the Holiday Inn in west Omaha and held weekly service for about 5 months. During that time, our core group remained intact but encountered much discouragement because the work did not attract anyone from west Omaha. Additionally, because of an unexpected request from the Holiday Inn to shorten our stay, we became nomadic. In spite of our discouragement and lack of facilities, the LORD had a plan that we did not fathom at the time.
Many of us had a deep desire to plant a church in the city, where we saw a ripe harvest for the gospel and a deep need. After much searching and prayer, we found a location at 49th and Ohio, which was then owned by the Church of God of Prophesy. By God’s grace we were able to share the facility and assist them with the upkeep of the building. Harvest invested both physical and financial resources to renovate the dilapidated building; however, within 6 months, the Church of God of Prophesy decided to disband and requested Harvest purchase the building. By God’s gracious provision we were able to pay for the building outright.
The LORD answered our prayers in ways we could not have anticipated. During this time, our congregation grew both numerically and spiritually. Our desire to have a ministry in the city had become a reality.
Particularization & A New Pastor: 1997–2002
Harvest ordained and installed our first elder, Charles Parks, in 1997 and in 1998; Harvest became a particularized church in the PCA. In 2002 Pastor Durham departed Harvest for Conway, Arkansas and Pastor Alan Mallory became our pastor.
39th and Cuming Street: 2003–2014
By the fall of 2003, we had reached an average attendance of 110 in a sanctuary that held only 125. The session prayerfully discussed the options. One day Pastor Mallory and Intern Scott Floyd went looking at possible meeting locations. The last place they stopped was Calvary Baptist Church at 3903 Cuming Street. Calvary was a dwindling, older congregation struggling to survive after over 100 years of ministry. The leaders of both churches prayed together for a year about the futures of Calvary and Harvest. Calvary eventually decided to dissolve and graciously offered the building to us at a price that amounted to 10% of its commercial value- an amount God generously provided through His people. Together the people of Calvary and Harvest celebrated Thanksgiving 2004 thanking God for the continuing ministry of the Gospel in this location. Harvest moved into the building December 2004 with much praise and gratitude.
As a noteworthy postscript, we were able to sell the 40th & Ohio building to a budding Baptist congregation for a fraction of its value—passing along the blessing and thus multiplying the gift given us.
The Next Chapter: 2015—Present
Pastor Alan Mallory retired in November 2014, and on November 22, 2015, Jacob Gerber was installed as the next pastor at Harvest. As the Lord graciously continued to grow our church, Harvest called Andrew Lightner as our assistant pastor. Andrew started in Feb., 2018, and later became Harvest’s associate pastor in May, 2019. Between 2019 and 2022, Harvest has been engaged in the Building on a Firm Foundation campaign. Our church body came together at the beginning of 2019 to raise additional funds for much-needed building improvements. Our goal is to build up the current facility so that we would be in a better position in the future to build out through church planting endeavors. Thus far, by the Lord’s gracious hand, we have been able to accomplish many of the projects we set out to achieve. As we continue to build up our facility, our ministries, and our members (through discipleship), we are praying and looking forward to see how God will continue to lead us as a church.
To God be the Glory.