‘No perfect people allowed’

CHARLES TOWN – A favorite motto of Harvest Pointe Community Church is “saved to serve.”

Founded in 2001 by two families, the church had as its original mission to accept and welcome all — the lonely, the hurting, the depressed and the needy — in a casual and seeker-friendly atmosphere. Contemporary worship music — complete with a full, electric band — and relevant, modern teaching complement this vision.

Harvest Pointe Community Church is now meeting at Wright Denny Intermediate School at 209 W. Congress St. in Charles Town. Pastor Jason Smith says the lower fees charged for using the new site will allow the church to give more to the community.

The congregation held its first services in 2001 and quickly grew. After meeting in Ranson Elementary and the Old Opera House in Charles Town, the church negotiated a lease on the building next to Ruby Tuesday. This location served the congregation for 11 years.

Earlier this month, Harvest Pointe moved to a new location at Wright Denny Intermediate School. “With the need for more space, and a growing children’s ministry, we decided not to renew the lease,” said Jason Smith, pastor at Harvest Pointe. “Although there is a facility fee, the money we save can be put back into the community.”

Smith has been at Harvest Pointe for four years. Originally from Texas, he served as a student ministry pastor for 12 years at two churches, one in Dallas and one in Austin. In 1996, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., and a master’s of Christian education from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2001.

“We are an independent church, but affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention,” Smith said. “We are Scripture-based. The difference is that we focus on the major issues in the Bible. We connect the ancient truth of the Bible and bring it into the 21st century. We don’t make a big deal about gray issues, such as drinking, because we are a ‘grace-oriented’ church. We are not judgmental; everyone from all backgrounds are welcome.”

Harvest Pointe is active in many ministries. Church members started the chapter of YoungLives in Jefferson County. Members also brought the “Bags of Love” program to the county. The church participates in the Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic, Good Shepherd Interfaith Caregivers and Smith serves as secretary of the Jefferson County Community Ministries.

Harvest Pointe also is active internationally. The church is in the process of establishing a presence in Andaray, Peru. An isolated village 10,000 feet high in the Andes Mountains, the town of 1,600 people has no church presence. Since 2010, Harvest Pointe members have made five trips to the remote area, bringing medicine, Bibles and school supplies.

The church also sponsors the local soccer team, with the church logo adorning the team jersey. The long-term goal is to establish a church in the village.

Sunday service starts at 10:45 a.m. Groups meet every night of the week in homes of church members for fellowship, Bible study and prayer. The Christmas Eve service is the biggest service of the year and the church offers “come and go” communion on Good Friday.

“We want to connect with people who are unchurched,” Smith said. “We want to reconnect people with Jesus.”

For more information about Harvest Pointe Community Church, go to www.hpcc.com, email staff@hpcc.com or go to 304-728-1920.

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