By Brian Blackwell, Marketing Director
RURAL LOUISIANA – Harvest time has come for many farmers in Louisiana.
And while farmers are bringing forth their cotton, corn, sweet potatoes and other crops to harvest this month, some rural churches will do the same with large monetary offerings.
Known as Harvest Day, Louisiana Baptists will celebrate with worship, prayer, food and a special offering above and beyond church members’ tithes.
Jeff Thomas, pastor of Start Baptist Church, said Harvest Day allows believers to give thanks to God for His provision. He explained that believers in the Old and New Testament met regularly to fellowship and gave thanks to God for His blessings, including their crops.
“We are reminded in the book of Acts that the people ate together, prayed together and worshiped together,” Thomas said. “And as a result, God added to their number daily those who were being saved. More than any financial goal being reached on Harvest Day, we pray for souls to be saved and lives to be changed by God.”
Smart Baptist hopes its members will give an offering goal of $60,000, which will fund a renovation of a children’s worship center. Past harvest day offerings have funded new worship centers and local and international missions offerings.
“God has taught us in the past that He can take our gifts, whether it be money, time or anything else, and He can multiply it for His glory,” Thomas said. “He has taught us that if we truly seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him. Our people understand that God uses both our tithes and our offerings to further His kingdom here on earth.”
Meanwhile, First Baptist Church in Jonesville plans to use its money raised on Harvest Day for future building endeavors. Gary Norris, pastor of First Baptist Jonesville, said past offerings have funded building improvement projects.
After a Harvest Day meal and fellowship that morning, members of First Baptist Jonesville will join others in the area for a community interdenominational Thanksgiving service. The community service is always held in conjunction with Harvest Day.
Norris said his congregation – many of whom work in the agricultural industry – look forward to how God might use the special Harvest Day offering each year. And they see this as another way to show their love for Christ, Norris said.
“We are taught to count our blessings and are reminded to return a portion as an offering to help finance God’s work here on earth,” Norris said. “We learn that we are blessed of God in order that we may be a blessing.”
For its part, First Baptist Church in Rayville plans to hold its Harvest Day on a Sunday evening and will feature testimonies from church members and farmers in the community.
Eddie Wren, pastor of the congregation, said Harvest Day is one of two times in the year when the church holds a service that includes an emphasis on its farming community. In the spring First Baptist Rayville has a day of prayer for adequate weather for crops that are harvested in the fall.
This year’s Harvest Day offering will help fund a new education building. Past offerings have helped provide upgrades and remodeling in different areas of the church.
Wren believes that Harvest Day provides a focus on honoring and thanking God for providing for food and other needs.
“The scripture teaches us to honor God with all we have and live in an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving,” Wren said. “This is a way we demonstrate to the Lord our dependence on Him and our gratitude. If we go through life and never stop to honor God with our money and our talents