We hope that with the series “The Harvesters,” you be will introduced to many different followers of Jesus who are striving to make disciples of Jesus out in the world; whether you’re in the military, a missionary, a scientist, a stay-at-home parent or anything else under the sun. Check out the full series here and may you be encouraged to do likewise in your own “fields of harvest.”
Tell us who you are
Troy and Katie Stevenson, we live in San Antonio, Texas with our 3 kids. Troy is a full time Engineer and Katie is a stay at home mom who is currently homeschooling their oldest two kids.
Who are you focused on in the harvest?
We are both laboring for the kingdom in our everyday lives- Troy is building relationships with his co-workers and anyone he meets through his day. Katie meets other moms at the park, library, gym-even people at the grocery store! We’re surprised at the places the Lord makes connections! We also have had to opportunity to connect with international student and their families at the university near our home.
How did that come about (is there a story there?)
We were both blessed to have other people model this lifestyle for us in our past, college (for Katie) and in a ministry in Florida (for both of us). They helped us walk in relationship with God and inspired us to help others do the same. For us this is a lifestyle. We are constantly having people over for dinner, meeting people at the park, sometimes having people live with us, anything we can do.
We want people to be a part of our lives and see for themselves how Christ has changed us and those around us. One of the key parts of Jesus’ mission on earth was to model how to be like God, and we are trying to do the same. Because our time is limited and we want to make disciples, we are even more compelled to make people a part of our lives even in the simplest things.
Over time both of us have come up with questions we like to ask people when we first meet that easily lead to spiritual conversation. For example, one questions is, “What are you passionate about?” And Katie likes to ask about the names other moms name their children and often gets to share about our own children’s names (which have spiritual significance for us).
What is the hardest thing about being in your harvest place?
One hard thing is finding people who are truly willing to commit to Christ and His Kingdom. Jesus was not kidding when he said that the way to life is narrow and few find it! Though we know we are but simple farmers, planting seeds and watering and that God makes the plants grow, it is still hard watching people choose the world over God.
Similarly, meeting individuals who have grown up in the American church and have accepted a lie that simple belief in God makes them “good to go.” The truth is Jesus deeply desires a relationship with us. He wants us to give our life, time, and money to Kingdom purposes. He wants us to be a part of leading others to deep relationship with Him! It is difficult to inspire some Christians who have never been shown these things and have lived their entire Christian life simply sitting in an audience. It can be very frustrating wanting other Christians to join the battle with us and for them to not catch on. It is sad knowing how many spiritual gifts are going unused.
The second thing is related to the first, which is finding a spiritual family or church. Because it is hard finding people willing to die to themselves and follow Christ it is hard finding spiritual family, but when you do it is oh so sweet. You truly do become a body!
A third thing would be time. Though God works in people in different ways and thus, speeds, it is always a lifelong process. In our impatience, we want to see changes and results immediately and though they can sometimes happen that way, they usually don’t.
What has surprised you the most about bringing Jesus to people in everyday places?
How willing people are to actually talk about God. There was a recent time that God spoke very clearly to me (Katie) about boldly sharing my faith with a friend from another country. I was very nervous about sharing but once I did, the conversation was so natural and easy! Not to say that everyone will be open, but most people seem to be questioning deeper questions and are intrigued when we talk about it.
What has encouraged you the most about your work (in the harvest)?
It continues to be watching God change people into His image. Watching Him change someone’s world upside down is both exhilarating and humbling. When someone really commits to God, the Holy Spirit starts to convict and change their life in radical ways. We love how God shows us His power and reminds us who we are through it. It is an honor to be in the service of the King!
Do you do church in the harvest? How does that look different/the same as what we traditionally see as church today?
We see church as a spiritual family (as we alluded to before) and try to treat it as such. That means intentionally trying to spend time with our family where we worship/sing together, keep each other accountable, share what’s going on in our lives, spending time in the Word, and just having fun. We do have regular times where we meet every week but we also have a lot of spontaneous gatherings for prayer and accountability when needed throughout the week. The main focus of our spiritual family/church time is to build up the body of Christ, care for it and prepare it for the spiritual battle that we face each day!
We also do a separate “outreach” focused Bible reading times too. During this we simply read through the gospels with anyone who wants to and then discuss their thoughts. Currently our church has three different reading groups we are leading together as pairs or as individuals. They are all in places where we naturally spend time (at the gym and in our workplaces) This has been a very exciting and also challenging time for all participants.