Calhoun’s Harvest Church Simplifies With New Location | Mclean County


Harvest Church of Calhoun has a new place to call home.

On September 28, Will Troutman, one of the church’s pastors, announced in a video on the church’s Facebook page that Harvest would be changing locations – now having services at 2275 State Route 140 in West Calhoun.

The new center, a 45 ‘x 90’ pole barn, began hosting services on Sunday October 3.

“It’s wide open,” Troutman said. “We are looking to (simplify). “

Troutman said the church is meeting in a building on First Street across from the Lighthouse restaurant.

“When we first started the church, we bounced around in a few different places and we finally settled there… until the pandemic started in early 2020,” Troutman said. “With the social distancing restrictions and everything, our space wasn’t big enough for us to continue to congregate there.”

Troutman and the church were creative in ensuring that the needs of their members were met by meeting at home and offering live streaming services, before contacting Keith Sage, the pastor of the Christian Church of Calhoun, about using their facilities, which provided enough space for this social distancing. was possible.

Troutman has found the collaboration to bring more than a new meeting place.

“We’ve been here for a little over a year at this point,” Troutman said. “We have just formed a friendship with the Christian Church in Calhoun. (We) have really found a like-minded church that we love to minister to for about a year. Keith and I have become very good friends.

“If it hadn’t been for help from Calhoun Christian Church, I don’t know where Harvest would be.”

But with the pandemic and restrictions setting in, Troutman said it was time for Harvest to reclaim its own space.

Troutman notes that he didn’t need to find a location that was too complex, but wanted something that always matched the organization’s mission.

“Harvest is a really simple church,” Troutman said. “We don’t do a lot of things, and the few things we do, we try to do with excellence. Our guiding principle is to make disciples by being disciples; we call it our mission. We take this to mean that “disciple” simply means disciple – so we want to be disciples of Jesus, and we know that the best way to make other disciples, which is part of the Great Commission, is to simply be obedient. to Jesus’ commands; love one another, love our neighbor as ourselves, share the good news of Jesus with our community, and do it not only with our words, but with our actions.

The new location is an event center owned by a church member. Troutman said his Harvest fit was “perfect”.

However, questions have been raised about Harvest’s sudden change of hangout location.

In 2018, Pleasant Valley Community Church, on behalf of Harvest, purchased the old Calhoun IGA building on W. Second St. for $ 125,000.

The plan for the 7,500 square foot building was to create a new worship center in the important downtown McLean County, with a capacity of 250 seats, as well as a children’s area and a communion area. .

Like many things affected by COVID-19, Troutman said those plans were put on hold as quickly as they started.

“In December 2019, we had blueprints drawn up, (and) we submitted them to the state (in) February 2020,” Troutman said. “We were working on getting a temporary occupancy permit so that we could put up a wall and start meeting in one part of the building while we renovate the rest. And then the pandemic arrived. “

Concerns about starting construction of spaces for “large gatherings” have delayed the process at the state level, as the old IGA building falls under building codes and state oversight due to its area greater than 6,000 square feet.

“During the pandemic it was all very slow, very careful,” Troutman said. “This is understandable.”

Troutman said it took a year before he heard any updates on the start of the renovations.

But Troutman admitted that the landscape of American culture has changed, with a Gallup study finding that church membership fell below majority for the first time in the United States; where membership hovered around 70% from 1937 to 2000 before dropping to 47%.

“For the first time since they’ve been tracking this measure, it’s below the majority,” Troutman said. “What is most shocking is that it has happened in the last 20 years. Christianity …, from my point of view, is becoming less and less of a cultural religion.

Troutman said the people who attend and participate in church now are people who truly believe what the Bible says.

“They are the ones who want to live by the words of Jesus,” Troutman said. “It’s a change, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It gives the church the opportunity to be “weird” again.

Troutman said the appeal of Christianity is based on its counterculture and that the church is not meant to look and think like the world, which caused him and Harvest to rethink the way they do church and services in the future – looking at how services were organized in the 1st century and being more streamlined.

“I think if the church is to survive, if the American church is to prosper, we have to rethink how we are going to minister,” Troutman said. “We’re going to have to focus on what makes a church a church, because that’s what the world needs from the church. We must be communities of the kingdom …

“Skinny, mean, focused on simplicity. These are the types of churches that will thrive in the new cultural landscape we find ourselves in. The way the church is going to have to function in order to prosper is going to have to change, and that doesn’t mean having to build big community centers in town where churches are trying to do everything.

Troutman said services will continue at the new location in West Calhoun for the foreseeable future, but the organization still owns the old IGA building. Plans for the space will be announced in the coming weeks.

Freddie Bourne, [email protected]

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