Harvest Community Church builds new sanctuary
The congregation at Harvest Community Church in Luxemburg was standing shoulder to shoulder at every Sunday worship service this year and the church was still growing.
To address the problem this fall, the church’s families decided to build a new 10,000-square-foot sanctuary to seat 290 people. The plans allow for the sanctuary to be expanded to seat 500 if needed.
When it is completed this Easter, the church will transform the old sanctuary into rooms for youth activities and fellowship.
“This is a family,” said Tom Hansen, one of the church’s founders who today serves as treasurer and deacon. “There is something special here.”
Hansen and 11 other families formed the church in 2000 after departing from Robinsonville Presbyterian Church of New Franken over a difference in theology.
They held worship services at a building in New Franken for a while and then raised enough money to purchase land for a church on Rockledge Road in Luxemburg in 2001.
In 2002, they built the existing sanctuary and in 2005 added an addition for Sunday School classrooms.
Today, the church’s Sunday services usually has more than 120 adults in attendance with another 35-40 youth in programs for elementary and high school students.
“Why people come and stay is that we fellowship each other,” said Bob Nejedlo, building chairman and church elder who joined the church in 2012. “We understand that none of us is perfect and none of us have all the answers.”
He said he and his wife drive from Green Bay to attend the church.
“So many times you walk into a church and you learn that there is infighting, people are disagreeing,” he said. “When we first came, we were impressed with the unity here.”
Another major reason for the growth of the church is its pastor, Kevin Leach of New Franken, who serves as the church’s pastor while working in the IT department of Humana in Green Bay, Hansen said.
He delivers good sermons as well as being “a man of compassion,” said Nejedlo.
Leach previously served as the singer and guitarist, but the congregation asked him to step up as pastor in 2006.
“His first love is the ministry,” Hansen said.
Supporting missions around the world is a priority of the church, Hansen said. They are a major funding source for an orphanage in Myanmar (formerly Burma), and every three years adults and youth from the church participate in a mission trip to Big Creek Mission in Kentucky. Missions in the Ukraine and Guatemala are also provided for through the church’s efforts, Hansen said.
The church’s nine-member building committee raced to break ground for the new sanctuary this fall, but the weather has cooperated, Nejedlo said.
The church had recently paid off the mortgage for its 2005 addition and had more than half the money in the bank for the new sanctuary before they began construction, Hansen said.
With the Easter deadline, the church hopes to host an open house for the entire community when the new sanctuary is finished.
The church wants to keep its congregation a manageable size, however, Hansen said.
“We don’t want to be a mega-church; we would start a second church if we grew to more than 500 members,” he said.
They also want to remain independent with the ability to chose their own minister.
“We are closer to the evangelical movement than any other denomination,” said Nejedlo. “We are a Bible-based church.”
He said that the entire congregation worked to develop an appropriate name for the church that described its mission.
“Harvest just seemed right,” said Hansen. “We are in a farm area and wanted to be part of the farm community.”
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Harvest Community Church builds new sanctuary