Friday, 11 December 2009

5 things I love about Spring Harvest...

Here are 5 things I want to love and honour about the Spring Harvest movement.

1) THE GOSPEL: I gave my life to Jesus at Spring Harvest. Well, growing up in a Christian home I "responded" a few times to be fair, but this is the time it changed everything. I was asked, aged 11 or so, to come forward, if I wanted to turn away from my old life, follow Jesus, and receive forgiveness from Him through his finished work on the cross. I went forward. That was my moment. Nothing could ever be the same. Jesus HAD actually conquered my sin, had redeemed me, I was adopted, into relationship with God, a ransom had been paid, my punishment settled, I was free, my chains were broken, I moved from slavery into sonship. And I knew all these things because they had done a very good job at explaining exactly what Jesus had done and exactly what I was responding too and exactly what I would need to do about it in the future. This was not an over-hyped, over-emotional youth meeting, this was the scales falling from my eyes and being beckoned by Jesus.
2) THE WORSHIP: Over the last twenty years or so Spring Harvest has essentially been a melting pot out of which the best of British worship music rises to the surface. Spring Harvest worship albums and resources have helped shape the worship across a wide spectrum of the Church. They really, really, love Jesus. And in the moment, with thousands gathered, that is probably where I started to really unearth my own heart and desire to worship God. Worse still, they even got away with songs I don't even like, and God still moved!

3) THE UNITY: Spring Harvest is a really mixed bunch. If British evangelicalism has a spectrum then Spring Harvest is a rainbow! Broadly Charismatic although not crazy, staunchly evangelical although not narrow, somehow Spring Harvest manages to break down denominational barriers and not be some box ticking exercise of unity but actually be people together. It is a source of immense sadness that Word Alive did not stay within the wider Spring Harvest movement, but even so, Spring Harvest will remain a key component of the calendar of many British evangelicals, and a continued blessing from God to His Church

4) YOUTH: Spring Harvest youth was the first "youth" I saw being done really, really well. When I think of the influence of stuff like Soul Survivor and other ministries since then I remember Spring Harvest, the "Big Toaster" youth meetings, the noise, the lights, the energy and see where much of it was birthed. Spring Harvest did "youth" well, and was part of what made the Church in the UK wake up and start to do "youth" well.

5) THE ORGANISATION: Spring Harvest was big, resourced, well planned and accessible. The scale of meetings, scale of sites used and reputation of platform speakers really set a trend for what has followed. Suddenly Christian festivals are now a genuine marketing opportunity for showgrounds and holiday camps, and Spring Harvest was part of that growth. The success of other camps and movements since then is partly building on the fact stuff like Spring Harvest made it "normal" to go away with a few families from your Church and meet with Jesus.

Time for another bold statement: Spring Harvest has been, and will continue to be, a major blessing to UK evangelicalism. Turning the "gathering" into hands on "activism" and "mission" is the trajectory they are on, which is incredibly exciting to watch, and perhaps even, be part of.


ruth valerio said...

Wow, thank you - as someone who is involved in the running of SH your comments are so encouraging and make it all worthwhile - thank you!
Ruth Valerio

Jaorja said...

Thanks - I'm also involved in Spring Harvest and really encouraged that the event has had such a positive impact on you personally. I feel encouraged too now :o)