Head of Spring Harvest Abby Guinness reflects on the past couple of years....
When the first lockdown happened, just three weeks before Spring Harvest three years ago, I genuinely thought “this is the end of the line.” It wasn’t a traumatic thought. I knew God had used Spring Harvest massively over 40 years and I simply thought, it must be time to stop. I hope you know that we don’t just push on blindly – we ask God to lead us and to bring light to the path ahead and, at that moment, it was a very short path. But all the event content was prepared and it seemed beautifully prophetic – the Acts church meeting in homes, transforming communities. So we decided to put as much content as possible online, as quickly as we could, as well as we could, as freely accessible as possible for anyone and everyone. We were going to meet a moment of need in a crisis, and we would go out with a bang.
We suspected regular Spring Harvesters would join us, but hundreds of thousands more people ended up joining in. It was a strange but special time when God met with us in an unexpected way and we all learnt to use our devices to their maximum capacity! We felt more connected rather than isolated. It led the way for hundreds of churches to start doing the same through the lockdowns that followed.
We were honest at the time that the sudden cancellation of the Spring Harvest event left Essential Christian with a one-and-a-half million pound hole. It seemed an unachievable figure but we were floored by the response – we had refunds that we didn’t expect, we had bills and license fees waived, all the contributors gave time and content for free, we received a grant to cover our livestreaming costs, we had a substantial grant from a major donor sensing God’s call, and an outpouring of generosity from hundreds of individuals that reached £500,000. We made every saving we could with the furlough scheme and somehow, weeks later, we were solvent. Then we were able to pay it forward. Payments we made to other contractors kept them solvent, too. We helped some summer events to livestream their conferences without charging them and helped them stay solvent as well. The overwhelming sense was that God was not finished with us yet and that Essential Christian was important in the life of the church in the UK.
Spring Harvest has been a place of
pioneering and for
pioneers. We pray for more opportunities to do that. It’s happened in a big way over the last three years. Innovation in events and resources means that we are now enabling people to encounter God, be inspired in their faith and see lives transformed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We have set up EC-Go
, a digital content portal with hours of teaching and homegroup resources that’s available online. A kind of growing Christian Netflix, if you will. We have set up EssentialChristianSongs
to equip churches with worship. We’re just launching My Spring Harvest which will send out helpful, biblical resources every month completely free of charge to anyone who signs up.
But our financial model has had to change to keep up with what we feel called to do. All of it so far has been made possible by the generosity of our partners. People just like you, who pray, volunteer and give money to make the vision a reality. We know it is a sacrifice and we don’t take it for granted. Thank you.
Whether you can afford to give a little or a lot, occasionally or regularly, you can be assured it will be used for building the Kingdom of God.
Become one of our partners - sowing a little leads to a lot of fruit.