Oswego1OSWEGO, Ill.—Harvest Baptist Church, more than 1,500 people strong, held a Celebration Worship Service July 7 thanking the Lord for His faithfulness to the generations at Harvest and honoring those who had served and sacrificed over the years. It had been exactly 50 years since the first service was held for what was then called Oswego Baptist Church.

The service was only a portion of the weekend events that invited guests to look back at its history and forward to what the Lord has planned.

In the fall of 1962, a small group of believers started an evening Bible class at Eastview School in Oswego that became the nucleus of the church plant. Since then, the congregation has reached out to its community with the gospel and has seen many changes, including purchasing and moving into an old church in downtown Oswego in 1966, moving out to the “country” in 1993, and changing its name to Harvest Baptist Church. The new name reflected the rural nature of the community, and focused on the call of the church to “look unto the harvest” and reach people for Christ. Harvest added a new sanctuary in 2000 and a children’s ministry wing in 2005.

Oswego2Harvest Baptist invited the community to celebrate with them. On Saturday morning, a 5K Fun Run was held in downtown Oswego; more than 200 runners/walkers participated. Saturday afternoon, Harvest’s first-ever car show took place on the church grounds, bringing in many community members as well as the church family to enjoy over 50 cars, fellowship together, and hear the gospel message.

A private dinner/dessert reception was held Saturday night to honor families of charter members, previous pastors, and longtime members. The evening included singing familiar hymns, the reading of fond memories of the early years of the church, reminiscing over pictures and other memorabilia, a 50th anniversary video, and renewing many old friendships.

On Sunday the congregation gathered in a giant tent next to the current building project on the church’s property, allowing them to look to the future of a 1,200-seat multipurpose worship space with a large foyer and café area. They sang hymns from the 1960s as well as current worship music, and recognized early members and pastors, along with those who had received Christ in the past 50 years through the ministries of Harvest. After the service, everyone enjoyed a barbeque lunch and family games.

Harvest Baptist says that “God’s hand alone has prospered the work and positioned Harvest in the midst of many communities to be a light for the gospel! May we be faithful to the stewardship entrusted to us.”