By Michael Miller
Gregg Harris says his ministry is all about connecting the dots for Christians, and God started him in that direction by telling him to connect with home.
“It was a dramatic transformation,” he says. “As I came out of the far Left, I was a Yippie member (a left-wing political movement), writing protest songs against the war in Vietnam, living the life of a troubadour in Southern California.”
Some “young men who looked a lot like me,” known as Jesus Freaks at that time, witnessed about Christ to Gregg on a beach.
“Over the course of the next few months, I was drawn to Christ, and then one night I was wonderfully born again,” he says.
He believes that God spoke to him quite clearly that night, telling him to “Go home.” So he did. Literally. He moved back home to Miamisburg, Ohio, and started going to church with his mother. He met his future wife, Sono, at that Centerville, Ohio, church.
“In a sense, I’ve been going home ever since,” he says. “Everything I’ve taught has had to do with the home—homeschooling, family business, hospitality, family-style evangelism, family storytelling, home-based health care—it’s all about rediscovering what God has provided for us through the management of our own household.”
And that’s how he’s been connecting the dots for people.
“A lot of Christians carry random truths around in their minds the way they keep random stuff in a junk drawer,” says the teaching pastor at Gresham (Oregon) Household of Faith. “It’s there, it’s important, but it’s all jumbled up and disorganized.
“I help people see how the fact that you’ve been born again relates to the purpose of your life.”
That purpose of a born-again Christian’s life is to serve as an ambassador for Christ, Gregg says, a Biblical concept he has been studying and teaching for more than 30 years.
For instance, in 1981, he and his late wife, Sono, who died on the Fourth of July in 2010, were in on the beginning of the homeschool movement, which he calls an “unrecognized revival.” But their homeschooling workshops were never restricted to education; topics like marriage, child training, home business, hospitality, church leadership development, and civic duty were always included as well.
Because the dots all needed to be connected.
In 1997, the Harrises started Noble Institute, an effort to “develop godly leadership for every area of life in every season of life.” Noble Institute teaches that there are seasons of life: student, householder, elder, and statesman or city father. Rather than allowing these seasons to compete with or crowd one another, Noble Institute sees them as phases in a Christian’s life. Each one builds upon the one before it.
“The name of Noble Institute was inspired by Isaiah 32:8, ‘But the noble man makes noble plans and by noble deeds he stands,’” Gregg says. “The purpose of Noble Institute is to raise up godly or Biblical leadership in every area of life: in the Individual, the Household, the Church, and the State.”
In other words, they try to be a picture of how the dots can all be connected in one household over a lifetime. Noble Institute serves as a vehicle for all of their various ministries:
- A congregational reform movement called the Household of Faith “consociation,” with 10 congregations spread across several states. Gregg is teaching pastor at the original Household of Faith, which he and Sono founded in 1998 in Gresham, Oregon.
- Do Hard Things, which expresses the Harrises’ convictions concerning youth ministry. The Rebelution is “a teenage rebellion against low expectations.” First through a website, started by Gregg’s twin sons Alex and Brett Harris and then through their bestselling book Do Hard Things (reviewed in the March 2009 newsletter), they have inspired young people to step up and speak out. Though now about to graduate from Patrick Henry College and beginning a new season of life as young family men, the twins still offer a professional DVD version of their Do Hard Things Conference that can be hosted by local churches, schools, and homeschool support groups.
- And the Powerhouse seminars, an “all new evangelistic discipleship event” in which Gregg encourages Christians to “get your house in order, build your house upon a Rock, and that Rock is Christ Himself.” The conference and upcoming book are “distillations of my life’s message in regard to making your home a center of godly influence and a positive influence in your community,” Gregg says.
The institute’s website also sells books by his other well-known son, Josh Harris, who is now a pastor in Maryland and author of such popular books as I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl.
In other words, Gregg doesn’t just tell people how to minister to their families. He has practiced what he preaches with his own family, and the results show.
Because he connected the dots.