Harvest Bible Chapel leaders will launch a new church inside the former David Brainerd Christian School, which is now the East Brainerd Intermediate School, Sept. 18 at 10:30 a.m.
"We felt compelled by God to come here," said the Rev. Mike DuBard in reference to his and three other families that moved to Chattanooga from Iowa to launch the church. "We started praying and got connected with a couple that was excited about us pursuing Harvest. We visited Chattanooga and fell in love with the area."
While planning the church launch, DuBard is hosting Party with the Pastor events to introduce the community to the church. The next party is Aug. 28 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Jeff and Dawn Fuller's home, at 8959 Wandering Way in Ooltewah.
"We are meeting as a 40-member launch team in people's homes at this point," said DuBard. "The mission of our church is to go make disciples. We want to plant a church for people serious about walking with Christ, serving Christ and others."
He said church leaders opted to launch at East Brainerd Intermediate School because it is in a great location. DuBard said the church will be a resource for the school, which his 10-year-old daughter Abigail attends.
"I want to give it all I've got," said DuBard of his Christian ministry. "I do it all for [Jesus]."
He said he hopes people uncomfortable in a church setting will feel more comfortable in a school setting and attend the services.
"We are excited to come and provide a contemporary church, but yet without compromising the worship," said DuBard, adding that worship leader Glenn McCrea will assist in services. "Harvest Bible Chapel's four pillars are to proclaim the authority of God's word without apology; to lift high the name of Jesus through worship; believe firmly in the power of prayer; and share the good news of Jesus with boldness."
DuBard grew up in church in Baton Rouge, La., and felt the call to ministry in high school. He has a Masters of Arts in biblical studies from Liberty University. After serving on staff at Harvest Bible Chapel in Davenport, Iowa, he decided to plant a church in Chattanooga, so he, his wife Jaime and their children Abigail, Harrison, 11, and Elyse, 12, moved here.
"There are 70 Harvest Bible Chapels all over the world," said DuBard. "We have churches in Romania, Nepal, Australia, Mexico City, North America and Canada."
DuBard said Harvest Bible Chapel was founded in 1988 by James MacDonald, who hosts a radio show titled "Walking in the Word" on Moody Radio. He said McDonald set a goal in the year 2000 to plant 10 churches in 10 years. Sixteen Harvest Bible Chapels are launching this year. More than 80 will be planted by the end of 2011, including one that will open in Knoxville in September.