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Nazarene Bible College

04/13/2021https://www.nbc.edu/news/archived-news.php

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Harold and Virginia Harness with his Book
Harold and Virginia Harness with his Book

Ministry For Life

Rev. J. Harold Harness is an NBC alumnus. He is 80 years old now, and we had the pleasure of talking with him and hearing some of his God-stories. He enjoyed a great educational experience at NBC and was so happy to share about it, looking back at all God had done. He said he loved everyone who taught at NBC.

He worked in a management position in industry for 13 years when God called him to the ministry. He resisted the call, as he struggled with giving up such a good job. He talked with his wife and two small children about his call from the Lord to pursue pastoral ministry and studies for ordination. They supported his call 100%, so Harold yielded to God’s call.

There was another person who was very meaningful in his life. Pastor Ron Barber was the pastor of the Nazarene church he was attending in Ohio. Pastor Barber listened to his story, and said to him, “I’ve known for a long time that God was calling you!” So, Harold had the full support of his pastor and church.

Pastor Barber told Harold that if he wanted to go to a good school, he needed to go to NBC. He said, “I highly recommend it! I will take one week of vacation and I will help you move out there!” Remembering the sacrifice, commitment, and level of support of his pastor brought tears to Harold’s eyes as he appreciated this in-person, practical, help from his pastor, to he and his family.

Also, Harold told of his 58 years of marriage to his wife Virginia. He told of them still going strong together today. Harold wrote a book entitled, “Choosing a Mate for Life – Biblical Principles.” He also shared how Virginia and he had met and how he came to know Christ. Harold said that in high school, he wanted to ask Virginia out on a date but was too shy. So, he asked his sister to ask Virginia for him. Harold explained that he was not a Christian at the time, although he grew up in a moral home. Virginia told his sister, “If Harold would like to take me to church, I’d be glad to go with him.” Those were what their “dates” consisted of.

After hearing the Gospel at church, Harold got down on his knees at his home, and asked God for forgiveness. When he told the pastor of his church that he had become a Christian, the pastor said to him, “You need to make a public confession of faith in Christ.” During one service at church, Harold went down to the altar publicly and committed his whole life to Christ. And he has been serving the Lord ever since.

Harold told of his first pastorate. It was when he was a student at NBC. There was a Church of the Nazarene in Gary, Colorado which was a very small congregation, and they needed a pastor. Because they wanted to DO ministry while studying, Harold and two other NBC students got together and volunteered to pastor the Gary church. The district leader at the time said, “No, we have plans to sell that church.” The three NBC students begged him, “We want on-the-job ministry training. Please don’t sell the church. Please allow the three of us to pastor the church.” The three students pastored the church for 2½ years, and it grew. Within the congregation, there was even a young man who felt called by God to be a pastor. And this young man decided to attend NBC for ministry training. He even pastored Gary Church of the Nazarene for a time, and the church blossomed under his leadership. Harold followed this young man’s journey, and found out that he pastored for 30 years! Harold asked, “What if we didn’t go out to Gary church to help?”

Harold shared one of his first preaching experiences. He was selected to preach in the NBC Chapel one semester. It was a great honor. At that time, 600 people would come to hear these special services. Harold was so nervous, he could not sleep for three days. He exclaimed, “I was scared to death!” But he said, “It all came out just fine.” 

Harold served as a pastor for 43 years and is supply pulpit preaching now in Kentucky with the Anderson Indiana Church of God, who has 120 churches in Kentucky. Harold shared, “I am retired now, but I am still doing ministry, and I will do it until I die.”

Susan McKeithen, Author, as told to her by phone conversation.

Filed Under: Communicator Published: 02/08/2021

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