Harvest Church celebrates four decades this month

Published 7:31 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2018

In the Christian faith, the number 40 holds a special significance. For 40 years, the Israelites wandered in the desert before entering the Promised Land. The first three kings of Israel, Saul, David and Solomon, each ruled for 40 years. The Bible itself was penned by a total of 40 different authors.

For Harvest Church in Washington, 2018 marks 40 years of honoring God. Next weekend, Sept. 7-9, the church will hold a weekend-long celebration at the sanctuary, with services at 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in addition to the church’s regular 10 a.m. service on Sunday. The event will feature special speakers from the church’s past, including Pastor Kent Mattox, Dr. Decker Tapscott, Dr. Frank Harvey and Pastor Duane Hicks.

“We feel like these 40 years have been part of the shaping and developing and getting us to a place where we are looking forward to the next 40 years of God’s promises being fulfilled in our lives individually and in what God wants us to do in our community,” Pastor Tad Tankard said.

Founded on Sept. 10, 1978, with approximately 25 members, the church came from humble origins — a renovated barn on Slatestone Road served as the first sanctuary. Tankard, a founding member of the church, remembers the old barn fondly, with its cinderblock-and-lumber seats and literal church mice scurrying about the rafters.

The founding pastor, Maynard Waters, along with his wife, Kay, helped lead the church during through its first 19 years, and as the congregation outgrew the barn, the church moved into a new building on the same property on Slatestone Road. In the early ’90s, the church, affectionately known by its congregants as “The Barn,” took on a new name — Harvest Church.

In 1998, Tankard was named pastor of the church after spending years as a farmer. In 2000, Tankard said that a vision from God led the church to its present-day home on West 15th Street. He was driving home from Greenville when he noticed a sign that read, “Harvest.”

After much prayer and consideration, the congregation decided to move forward with a new sanctuary. Overcoming challenges such as financing and rising construction costs after Hurricane Katrina, after eight years of saving, building and praying, the congregation moved into its new home at 2020 W. 15th St. in 2009.

Today, the church has grown to become a resource not only for the congregation, but for the community as a whole. What started with 25 people praising in old barn has blossomed into a diverse community of believers that includes worshippers from a five-county area and from all religious backgrounds, races and walks of life.

With ministries including the support group Celebrate Recovery, a prison ministry in Hyde County and a monthly food distribution, the church is on the move seven days per week, and supports missions in more than a dozen countries, including Peru, India, Israel, China, Romania, Greece, Nigeria and Nicaragua.

“All of these resources for our community touch people in their relationships, personal growth, careers, health and finances,” Tankard said. “Our goal at Harvest is to live out Jesus’ commandment to be an ambassador of the good news of Jesus Christ, training and equipping the people for God’s service and preparing them for these last days, using all the resources and talents that He has made available to us.”

The community is invited to join Harvest Church in celebrating four decades during services Sept. 7-9.

For more information on Harvest Church, visit harvestchurchnc.com.