Flying over Malawi in 1998, Steven Loots prayed that every village and town he saw through the aeroplane window could have a church with a pastor and mission to reach others.
‘The words uttered in that tiny plane gave birth to a vision of such magnitude that at first I thought it was an impossible dream,’ Steven explained. ‘But slowly, as I prayed over and over, asking the Lord for these small African villages, he confirmed what I was to do for the next few decades.’
Harvesters began by working with established churches, led by faithful men and women who could initiate church planting in the surrounding areas. These churches, known as hubs, were used to train people to share their faith and disciple others.
The Hub Church Planting Model took shape in Lilongwe, Malawi and Chingola, Zambia, with just one person in each place. The first year saw 27 new churches, and by the third year, 125 new churches had been established through evangelism and discipleship.
Harvesters Ministries has now blossomed from a small family enterprise to a global movement with offices and staff spread over five continents. As of early 2024, more than 117,000 churches have been planted, 34,000 student pastors are enrolled, and Harvesters is operating in more than 85 countries, teaching its curriculum in over 64 languages.
‘The huge numbers are exciting,’ said Steven, ‘but best of all is the fact that you can go to a small church in a village far from the city and find believers who are being discipled, who love God and who read and study the word of God and apply it, and then lead other people to Christ and disciple them.’
After 20 years pastoring churches in Wales and Cornwall, Glen Chaplin (see video interview below) became manager of Harvesters UK and will be on the organisation’s stand at CRE 2024.
‘I was on a church mission team and worked with Harvesters Ministries to plant churches in Brazil and Mozambique,’ he said. ‘It was a logical move to take up a role in such a wonderful worldwide mission. From pastoring one church, I now have a role in helping hundreds!’
In 2024, Harvesters aims to plant an additional 35,000 churches, continuing to train pastors, win converts, make disciples and deliver God’s word. At CRE 2024 you will find out how your church can get involved.
‘We are humbly grateful God’s grace and favour,’ said Steven. ‘And now we invite you to journey with us, pray for us and support us – for the work is not done.’
Harvesters are on stand P23 at CRE 2024
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkypPOnatQU
Main photo: Harvesters’ Glen Chaplin is interviewed by Elliott Frisby of Monkeynut Audiobooks at CRE Midlands 23