The leaves had fallen, the temperature dropped, and winter was right around the corner. Pastor Earnest Jeyaraja had just launched a Hispanic ministry to 30 people who were meeting in a Twin Cities apartment complex. They had two months of ESL and discipleship ministry under their belt when the apartment manager informed Earnest that they could no longer meet in that building.
Weighing his options one day while driving, Earnest asked the Lord if he should shut down the ministry. He was reminded of the story of Elijah and the widow, and he felt God asking him, “What do you have in your hand?” They didn’t have money or a building, but they did have two buses. He knew God was prompting him to continue the ministry, so each week they parked the two buses in the apartment parking lot. Throughout the cold winter months, adults would meet in one bus, and the kids in another.
Those were the early days of Global Harvest Church, a church that began with a dream to reach people from all over the world who called the Twin Cities home. As Earnest was praying one morning in 2004 at Cedar Valley Church, he was approached by Pastor Clarence St. John. Pastor St. John told Earnest he should start an international church and that same week they met to talk about how that dream could become reality.
Global Harvest Church launched an International Sunday service in 2006 with a handful of people including three college students, a grandmother from Sri Lanka, and a grandmother from Pakistan. They met at Cedar Valley Church and their first offering total was $8. The church began to grow, seeing different nationalities represented including a strong Asian-Indian base.
The church eventually moved services to Bethany International with ministries throughout the week in different locations. That same ministry that started years ago in two buses in a parking lot continues today. It is now known as Discover Center and now extends beyond the Hispanic community to include multiple people groups. They provide ESL classes, meals and mentoring as well as life skills training. Over 60 college students help make this ministry happen every week at Crosspoint Church in Bloomington.
The church’s goal is to have several services during the week in different languages, but they also have a dream bigger than themselves. Earnest says, “Every language group in the Twin Cities should have a church.” When he recently started a weekly international leadership training, he was hoping for 5 leaders to catch the vision. Forty-five showed up at the first meeting.
Earnest believes any church can dream about church planting. With his own church in mind he says, ‘Even a young church can bear fruit. Even a small church can dream to plant more churches.” God can do amazing things with what’s in our hands. Whether it’s two buses, eight dollars or one big dream—anything is possible.
By Matt Reed, Minnesota District of the Assemblies of God