The Story of Harvest Baptist Temple
In May of 1977, two men were finalizing their plans to start a church in the Rogue Valley. Pastor Bob and Pastor Mike had just graduated from seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia and were led of God to start an independent baptist church in Medford, Oregon. After some deliberation and much prayer, Pastor Bob and Pastor Mike named the new church Harvest Baptist Temple. This name would convey their mission of starting a soul-winning Baptist church!
Their move to Medford was a move of faith. They were determined to do the work of God without having to depend upon a secular job. They believed if God brought them to the Rogue Valley, then He would take care of them. And that is exactly what happened! God provided for their every need! Time after time, God showed his merciful hand of provision.
The first service took place on June 19, 1977 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center near the Biddle Road off ramp on I-5. Sunday school started at 9:45 am and worship at 11 am. God blessed with 35 people in attendance!
Each week, Pastor Bob and Pastor Mike knocked on one thousand doors of homes in the Rogue Valley, inviting folks to church! As a result of their efforts, the church grew and it soon became evident that a new location would be needed to accommodate the growing congregation. About a month later, Harvest Baptist moved from the Holiday Inn to the Girl Scout Center across from the newly constructed North Medford High School. This building held about seventy-five people plus room for nursery. God blessed mightily as the pastors continued to knock on doors during the daylight hours, and to visit people in the evenings.
The church was officially organized on August 14, 1977 with 100 people in attendance and seventy signing the newly drafted constitution. Harvest Baptist Temple was officially born.
In April of 1978, Harvest moved to the YMCA. There was room to grow, but the space was upstairs. This location had the potential of reducing the number of the congregation due to folk not wanting to use the stairs. This was especially concerning for the senior saints as they might have difficulty navigating the steps. But God was good, and instead of the numbers declining, the congregation actually grew--doubling in size!
After meeting in the YMCA for about seven months, it was time to move again! Church attendance was averaging about 225 when someone told Pastor Bob about an old church building that had just become available. It was the Holly Street Building right across from McLaughlin Jr. High School. The first service was held on Thanksgiving Sunday, November 27, 1978.
Harvest Baptist continued at the Holly Street building for ten years. But as the membership grew, it became evident that it was time to move again! Land was purchased on Columbus Ave where the church now resides. Ground was broken on October of 1987 and the first service in the new auditorium was held on July 3, 1988.
God has truly blessed Harvest Baptist Temple in the past, and we are extremely grateful to the faithful people who sacrificed so that we can enjoy the good blessings of God today! Although, we are debt free, we are not done! There is more that God wants us to do, more souls that need to hear the gospel, more lives that need to be rescued and more missionaries to support. Through much prayer and planning, our best days are still ahead. To God be the glory for all that He has done at Harvest Baptist Temple!