small group involvement
When Pastor Rich Shipe planted Harvest Bible Chapel in Ashburn, Virginia, he knew he’d need help to build a new church in one of the most itinerant parts of the United States. And now, 18 months into the journey, Pastor Shipe is getting creative as he challenges his church to focus on intentional community—and he’s seeing unexpected results.
Rich Shipe hadn’t planned on serving in full-time ministry. He started out in the tech industry but left to become an associate pastor at the church he and his wife grew up in. After some time, Rich felt his next step in life and ministry was to become a church planter. In 2017, Rich and his family moved to Ashburn, Virginia, and began building Harvest Bible Chapel.
Harvest has only been meeting for 18 months, and they’re seeing the importance of focusing on community in a highly transient area. With Washington, DC, under an hour away, people come and go often—and getting them to commit to small groups and midweek events can be nearly impossible.
Since planting Harvest, Pastor Rich built his church website using Faithlife Sites, made slides and podcasted each week’s sermon using Faithlife Proclaim, set up communication groups and sent emails using Faithlife’s communication hub, and prepared his sermons in Logos. It’s no small feat for a planting pastor to get everything done, but with Faithlife’s integrated church tools, it was simple and painless. And now, with that infrastructure in place, Pastor Rich gets to devote his time to caring for the people of Harvest Ashburn.
Pastor Rich says, “I love the integration of Logos, Proclaim, and Sites. Those three work well together. I’m developing my sermon with all the tools available to me in Logos, and recording, editing, and uploading my sermon in Proclaim. Then, it’s just one click and it’s on your website too. It’s fantastic.”
Now that Pastor Rich and Harvest Ashburn have made it through the first year, they’re thinking of ways to grow together and reach their community. Harvest Ashburn is moving to an early-church model, meeting in small groups each Sunday morning with monthly gatherings for the whole church. With this new ministry format, maintaining Harvest’s 100% small group involvement is key. Faithlife’s church tools help Pastor Rich know he won’t lose track of the details—or church attendees—in the process.
“We have a great website [with] the ability to record and upload sermons and write newsletters and blog posts. It’s the right technology for any small church.”
— Rich Shipe, Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, Ashburn, VA